Hairdresser Homicide

(Last Updated On: January 26, 2018)

Hairdresser Derek George Dacosta, 33, was strangled on the night of December 5, 1990 after an apparent robbery gone bad. Dacosta had told friends of plans to travel home to Trinidad to visit his parents for Christmas. Stolen from his 3 Gifford St. home were a television, VCR and audio cassette player. He was the city’s 54th homicide of the year.

A co-worker became concerned when Dacosta did not show up for work at the Yonge and Bloor hair salon. She had last seen him on December 4 at about 11p.m. Another friend told police Dacosta had gone to a Church St. bar. Police were called to the scene.

Less than two weeks later, on December 18, police announced they had charged 24-year-old John William McLean of no fixed address, after he walked into 51 Division police station on December 15 and confessed. McLean told police he became enraged by Dacosta’s sexual advance and claimed it was self-defence.

McLean, a cocaine addict, was sentenced to five years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. Justice John O’Driscoll said the lighter sentence was in light of the “gay panic” McLean felt.

Murder Village Map


Vital Statistics

Name: Derek George Dacosta
Age: 33
Gender: Male
Date of Death: December 5, 1990
Manner of Death: Strangled
Location: 3 Gifford St.
Suspect Name: John William McLean
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, 5 years

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Sawyer Cowley

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