Friday, July 19, 2024

5 houses in Greater Victoria with harrowing histories


This story contains graphic details that may not be suitable for everyone.

Victoria is home to many things; beautiful coastlines, iconic buildings and a handful of local tourist delights.

Unfortunately, this also includes a harrowing series of brutal crimes within the confines of many well-known houses across the city.

Statistics Canada reports that Victoria has one of the lowest rates of homicide in a major city per capita, but the brutality of the homicides that have happened in the city should not be understated.

We always hear about what exactly takes place inside of the homes, but this still begs the question: what happens to the houses afterward?

In real estate, these homes are called stigmatized homes – properties that buyers or tenants may shun for reasons unrelated to the physical features, including the death of an occupant, murder, suicide, or the belief the property is haunted.

Sellers are not required to disclose the history behind these homes; rather, it is the buyer’s responsibility to ask.

Whoever represents the home determines how the property is handled.

Below, we look into the history of 5 stigmatized houses that have a harrowing history of crime and murder.

830 Queens Avenue

Daniel Blake Penney, 54, tracked his wife down at her residence on Queen’s Ave, beat and killed his wife, Mary Caitlin Walton, 46, on March 13th, 2015.

Penney was under court-ordered conditions to not see or have contact with Walton due to a domestic dispute a month earlier.

At 1 p.m. that day, Penney tried to commit suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning.

The couple’s daughter, 19, informed a tenant at his Colwood residence who called West Shore RCMP.

Officers saved him but suffered fume inhalation in the process.

Hours later, at 5 p.m., officers responded to the murder of Walton whom Penney had beat to death in their home before his attempted suicide.

Penney was sentenced on June 15, 2017, for manslaughter.

He was meant to serve a sentence of 12 years, seven months, and 13 days before he committed suicide in an Abbotsford prison on October 29, 2017.

1400 Beach Drive

Andrew Berry, 43, was convicted of murdering his two daughters, Aubrey, 4, and Chloe, 6, at his ground floor apartment on 1400 Beach Drive on Christmas Day, 2017.

Police officers found the two girls dead on their beds in their father’s Oak Bay apartment, after Berry failed to drop them off at their mother’s home as set out in their custody agreement. Berry, naked and injured, was found in a bathtub filled with water, in an apparent suicide attempt.

The Crown convicted him of murder in 2019 with the corroboration of evidence.

Berry owed over $25,000 to a loan shark. In the cross-examination, the examiner said that the pressure from the loan and the custody battle lead him to the murder.

Berry pleaded not guilty and has expressed a different story, claiming he was ambushed from behind while he was in his bedroom, stabbed in the throat, and knocked out at the foot of the bed.

No evidence corroborated his story.

751 Cameo Street

Joseph Melvin DesRoches, 73, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Rosa Maria DesRoches, 77, on March 18, 2014.

The murder was uncharacteristic of DesRoches, who was a veteran of the Canadian Forces in Europe where he met his wife in Spain.

On that morning of the murder, DesRoches called 911 and told the police dispatcher he had shot his wife and his son’s dog.

He said he thought he was insane.

DesRoches pleaded guilty.

1702 De Sousa Place

Lindsay Buziak was a 24-year-old realtor murdered in Saanich at 1702 De Sousa Place on February 2, 2008.

Buziak was showing a $1 million home on De Souza Place to an unknown couple. She was found in an upstairs bedroom. She had been stabbed multiple times.

The murderers have never been caught.

In 2017, a chilling comment surfaced regarding Buziak’s murder which brought the case to light again.

Written by a user with the online name “Ross Addic”, the comment states “I killed Lindsay”, names several other people who were “involved”, and then claims the Saanich Police “dropped” the investigation.

Police are still looking for any tips or information on the case.

In late January this year, Saanich Police announced the FBI joined the investigation.

1840 Newton Street

A Saanich man, Neil Harvey, 59, killed his wife, Anne Harvey, 61, and then killed himself at the pink bungalow at 1840 Newton Street the couple lived in for 23 years in 2014.
Investigators did not release information regarding Anne’s death, but said Neil drowned himself in the murder-suicide.

The couple had no history of domestic abuse, had no children, and the circumstances to which police were tipped off was suspicious.

The adult daughter of a neighbour received a phone call from Neil Harvey who sounded distraught, asking her to go to the house to check on his cat. Neil asked her to call the police.

Police approached cautiously, with guns drawn, and discovered the deceased couple and a note from Neil Harvey on the kitchen table.

The subject of the note was never released.

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