The ever-womanizing Oliver Killeen, though, was not in the mood to talk, even if the columnist was of the female persuasion.
“What happened? We’re going for trial,” snapped Killeen, 72, outside College Park courts where he’d just waived his right to a preliminary hearing. “I have nothing to say. Speak to my lawyer.”
Now, now. So suddenly taciturn for the usually loquacious charmer who has used the gift of his Irish gab to conquer the hearts of vulnerable women in at least four countries — with an estimated 19 or so brides to his name.
One of whom is thrilled that the serial bigamist will finally face her accusations in court.
Barbara Daniels, a 68-year-old nurse, figures she’s bride number three.
“I would like to see some justice,” she said from Ottawa, after learning her “husband” will go on trial. “I would like to see this through.”
Daniels met Killeen at a swanky Bloor St. bar back in 1978. She was a divorced single mom of three and worked in a bank. He was suave, debonair and told her he was an “importer/exporter” from California with eight children.
After a whirlwind courtship, they had an expensive wedding in a Lutheran church before family and friends.
But there would be no honeymoon — real or figurative.
She quickly learned that instead of being a businessman, Killeen was on a disability pension with no discernible injury.
But while her new hubby didn’t have a job, he did have very expensive tastes which he indulged at Harry Rosen and Holt Renfrew as well as a controlling, abusive nature that she says systematically isolated her from her family and friends.
After years of hell, Daniels finally left Killeen in 1985 when he was sentenced to two years less a day in jail for passing bad cheques.
But when she went to a lawyer to dissolve their marriage, she was shocked to learn that she’d never been legally wed.
Killeen was still married to his previous wife.
Daniels had neither the money nor strength to pursue the matter. Instead, she tried to put the nightmare behind her.
Killeen, though, continued on his merry, marrying way.
“Getting divorced is costly and time-consuming, so I decided not to bother,” Killeen would later tell an Irish newspaper.
“I gave women what they wanted. If they were foolish enough to marry me with a few weeks of meeting me that was up to them.”
He moved to Ireland, posed as a celebrity psychologist and even offered expert testimony in court until a defence lawyer exposed him as a fraud in 2001. The subject of a British documentary, The Conman with 14 Wives, Killeen was also busy adding numerous brides to his collection and was accused of conning several out of their savings. Finally caught, he was sentenced to an unprecedented three years in a British jail for bigamy.
Killeen was anything but remorseful.
Instead he boasted that he wooed his wives — closer to a count of 19, he said — by telling them what they wanted to hear. “Conning women is easy,” he said in the 2006 Irish Daily Mail article.
After serving part of his sentence, Killeen was deported back to Toronto in 2005.
Daniels’ daughter, Julia Lafleur, learned of his return and decided he had to be stopped. She launched a tireless campaign to convince Toronto Police to charge him with bigamy for allegedly marrying her mother without divorcing his previous wife.
It was an uphill battle. In the meantime, Killeen added a new wife: A vulnerable Missouri mother of a disabled daughter whom he’d romanced online.
Just days before Valentine’s Day 2009, the Parkdale-dwelling Lothario was finally charged with one count of bigamy. The judicial process has been limping along ever since.
“He’s a cruel, conscience-less man and I think he’s going to go on hurting people,” warns Daniels. “I just fear that the law doesn’t take this very seriously. I just hope he gets more than a slap on the wrist.”
By Michele Mandel from the Toronto Sun.