WINNIPEG – A former friend of accused Candace Derksen killer Mark Grant is testifying at Grant’s murder trial today.
William Crockford, now in his fifties, lived at a house on Talbot Avenue in Elmwood when Derksen went missing in 1984. He told court he was 21 at the time.
The 13-year-old girl vanished walking home from school November 30. Her body was found tied up in a shed weeks later in January 1985.
A pathologist has testified Derksen died from hypothermia and likely wouldn’t have lasted more than 24 hours after being tied up.
Crockford told court Mark Grant was part of his group of friends. They would hang out at the house, which was not far from where Derksen disappeared.
Crockford testified Grant would sometimes disappear for multiple days at a time.
He became agitated under questioning from Grant’s lawyer, Saul Simmonds, about when and why Grant would die his hair. Crockford said Grant changed his hair colour multiple times.
Simmonds asked Crockford if Grant died his hair blond and later orange in November 1984 because he was on the run from police.
‘He was always on the run for different things,’ Crockford said.
Grant was arrested using DNA evidence in 2007. Police sent hairs and pieces of twine used to tie Derksen for DNA testing.
At one point, frustrated with being asked to remember details of the police investigation more than 30 years ago, Crockford pointed at Grant in the prisoner’s box.
‘If you hadn’t left that chick for dead, I wouldn’t be here,’ he said. ‘I heard that on the news.’
Simmonds told Crockford what he heard on the news was not evidence.
Prosecutors are expected to present more DNA evidence as the trial continues Wednesday.
It’s slated to last several weeks.
Grant was convicted of second degree murder in Derksen’s killing in 2011 but that conviction was overturned following an appeal.