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Evelyn DICK






The Torso Murder
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Dismemberment
Number of victims: 2
Date of murder: 1944 / March 6, 1946
Date of arrest: March 19, 1946
Date of birth: October 13, 1920
Victim profile: Peter David White (her infant son) / John Dick, 40 (her husband)
Method of murder: ???? / Shooting
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Status: Sentenced to death for the murder of her husband on January 7, 1947. Acquitted on appeal as statements she had made to police were deemed inadmisable. Found guilty of manslaughter in the death of her infant son and sentenced to life in Kingston Penitentiary. Evelyn Dick was paroled in 1958. What happened to her after that is uncertain
photo gallery

Ontario Court of Appeals

Rex v. Dick

Evelyn Dick was a strikingly beautiful woman – and a notorious murderess whose name is forever etched in Canadian criminal law.

Sentenced to hang for the murder and mutilation of her streetcar driver husband, John Dick, she was acquitted on an appeal that launched the career of Canada’s most famous lawyer, J.J. Robinette and set legal precedent.

Evelyn Dick ultimately served 11 years of a life sentence for the murder of her baby son whose body was found encased in cement in a suitcase during the investigation of her husband’s murder. When she left prison, she was given a new identity, an entrée to a new life. And then she disappeared.


Evelyn Dick

The murder trials of Evelyn Dick remains the most sensationalized events in Canadian crime history.

Evelyn was arrested for murder after local children in Hamilton, Ontario found the torso of her missing estranged husband. The head and limbs had been sawed from his body and evidence that they had been burned in the furnace of her home later surfaced.

A well known school yard song at the time went as follows:

You cut off his legs...
You cut off his arms...
You cut off his head...
How could you Mrs Dick?
How could you Mrs Dick?

The Forgotten Rebels used these lyrics for the song Evelyn Dick on their (Untitled) album in 1989.

First convicted of the murder in 1946 and sentenced to hang, lawyer J.J. Robinette appealed her case, and won an eventual acquittal.

However, in the meantime, decayed remains of Evelyn's baby boy were found encased in cement under the floor boards of her home. She was tried again for murder in 1947 and was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Evelyn was released from prison in 1958 and quickly disappeared from public.

The movie silently suggests that Evelyn protected her parents who also were suspects of the murder of as well her baby as of her husband, even though in her childhood she has been sexually abused by her father and raised and used to achieve higher standing and income by both parents (especially by her mother).


Evelyn Dick and the Torso Murder

By Rupert Taylor

When the headless and limbless body of John Dick was found in a wooded area of Hamilton, Ontario suspicion turned to his young wife, Evelyn.

On Saturday, March 16, 1946 a group of children were playing on the Niagara Escarpment, known locally as The Mountain, in Hamilton. Part way down the slope, in amongst the trees, they found what they thought was the body of a pig. Police quickly realized they were dealing with the naked torso of a man, and it was soon identified as belonging to John Dick.

Evelyn Dick’s Unconventional Marriage

In his book The Torso Murder: The Untold Story of Evelyn Dick, Brian Vallée recounts the story of the murder and subsequent trials.

It seems that the beautiful and young (she was 26 at the time of her husband’s death) Evelyn Dick had many lovers.

She moved in the upper-class circles of Hamilton society so her marriage to John Dick, a Hamilton Street Railway conductor came as a surprise. By all accounts the relationship was stormy and ended quickly. According to Time Magazine, “Five days after her marriage (in October 1945) she committed adultery. Shortly after, she and John separated.”

Investigation Points to Evelyn Dick

The 2002 movie Torso says that when Evelyn Dick was questioned by police about her husband’s fate her response was “Don’t look at me. I don’t know anything about it.” Then, she started to tell stories about a Mafia-style hit man and a jealous husband who claimed John Dick had been fooling with his wife as the likely suspects.

But investigators weren’t buying any of Evelyn’s stories because they were turning up hard, physical evidence. About the time of John’s disappearance she had borrowed a car and returned it with bloodstains on the upholstery that were the same group as John’s. “Out in the back yard of her home,” wrote Time, “police found bits of human bones mixed with some cinders from the furnace.”

Evelyn Dick Charged with Murder

Then, another gruesome discovery was made; in the attic of Evelyn’s home the body of an infant boy was found encased in concrete inside a suitcase. The body was identified as that of her son Peter.

Police charged Evelyn with the murder of her husband and son and she came up with yet another version of what had happened. She signed a statement that John Dick had been killed by a lover named Bill Bohozuk and her father, Donald MacLean.

Now, all three faced charges of murder.

Trial Garners Sensational Coverage

In October 1946, Evelyn Dick’s case came before the courts.

Writing for Maclean’s Magazine, Charlie Gillis comments that “It was the golden age of newspapers, and they had a…field day with Hamilton’s ‘black widow’ trial. Constant front-page treatment of the story transfixed readers, drawing hundreds to gather outside the courthouse during the proceedings.”

After nine days of testimony the jury took less than two hours to return a guilty verdict. Evelyn was given the death sentence, although her conviction for the murder of her husband was overturned on appeal.

Bill Bohozuk walked away a free man when Evelyn refused to give testimony in his trial. Her father was convicted of being an accessory to murder and got a five-year sentence.

Evelyn Dick Sentenced to Life

However, Evelyn did not escape the hand of justice. She was found guilty of the manslaughter death of the infant Peter and received a life sentence. Writing in The Globe and Mail, John Allemang points out that Evelyn’s “charm endured, even in captivity. She served only 11 years before friends in high places engineered her freedom. And then…she disappeared.”

But author Brian Vallée claims she married a wealthy man after her release and moved to Canada’s West Coast where she lived without anybody knowing about her past.


  • “The Torso Murder: The Untold Story of Evelyn Dick” Brian Vallée, Key Porter Books, 2002.

  • “Canada: ONTARIO: The Dick Affair.” Time Magazine, October 28, 1946.

  • “A Killer Vanishes.” Charlie Gillis, Maclean’s Magazine, March 15, 2005.

  • “A Moment in Time.” John Allemang, The Globe and Mail, March 16, 2011


Evelyn Dick - The 'Torso' Murder

The Torso murder case is one of the most sensational and talked about murder cases in Canada's history. Half a century after the crime was committed, it has spawned a play that has received rave reviews and much public interest. However, like the Lizzie Borden case, the public remains largely unaware of what transpired legally after the dismembered body of John Dick was recovered.

When And Where?: Hamilton, Ontario Canada. March, 1946

Who?: Evelyn Dick was born to Donald and Alexandra MacLean on October 13, 1920. A year after her birth in Beamsville, near Niagara Falls, the family moved to 214 Rosslyn Avenue in Hamilton. The elder MacLean worked for the Hamilton street Railway as a streetcar conductor. He later attained an office position that gave him access to company revenues. Evelyn's childhood was not particularly happy.

Her father indulged too much in alcohol, and her mother demonstrated a wicked temper. The parents didn't get along and often spent time apart. Evelyn didn't associate much with the neighbourhood children. Her parents considered her too fragile to be out playing on the streets. Rumours abounded that Donald was dipping into the coffers of the H.S.R. They lived very well, always had huge sums in the bank and would send Evelyn shopping with handfuls of nickels, the fee collected for a fare in those days. With parental encouragement, Evelyn tried hard to become recognized in the finer circles in town. She would host lavish parties at the Royal Connaught Hotel, Hamilton's finest, and spend money freely on acquaintances. her social acceptance was never reciprocated in the way that she wanted.

The attractive Evelyn became the focus of rumours while still in her mid-teens. She had more expensive jewelry and furs than was considered proper. She spent time in the company of much older men and at places out of town and at race tracks. In 1942, Evelyn gave birth to a daughter. This further fuelled rumours. Evelyn announced that it was OK, that she was married to a man stationed overseas by the last name of White. Later examination of military records failed to prove the existence of such a person. Heather White was born with mental retardation, and would require much attention from her mother and grandparents.

Evelyn gave birth the next summer to a stillborn baby, and then on September 5, 1944 Peter David White was born. No one is certain of who the father was for any of these children. In June of 1945, Evelyn. Heather and Alexandra MacLean, who had recently separated from Donald, moved into an apartment together in downtown Hamilton. After a month or so together, Evelyn astounded her mother by announcing that in two weeks she was going to marry John Dick. Alexandra MacLean had never heard of him.

The Murder(s): It was Saturday, March 16, 1946 when a group of five children found what they they thought looked like the body of a headless pig laying part way down the side of Hamilton's escarpment, or what locals call 'The Mountain'. Their find proved to be more gruesome. It was, in fact the torso of an adult male. The head, arms and legs were missing and no where to be found. A deep wound in the abdomen told investigators that someone had tried to cut the torso itself in two.

An identification of the remains by doctors and a positive i.d. by his brother-in-law led police to the conclusion that they had found the remains of John Dick, a conductor for the Hamilton Street railway. Dick's cousin, Alexander Kammerer, had reported to police that John had been missing since March 6.

He told them that he became worried when he heard reports of the torso and began to suspect that something awful may have happened to the man who had been living with him since his short-lived marriage had apparently failed. Kammerer had wondered whether Dick had returned to the house on Carrick Avenue where he, his wife and step-daughter had resided together for only a brief period of time.

Strange as it seemed, John and Evelyn had been married for almost a month before they began to reside together. She remained in an apartment with her mother and Heather, telling John that there wasn't enough room for all of them. Alexandra wondered about Evelyn and John, all the while remembering the name, Bill Bohozuk, the man that she believed her daughter to be very much involved with when Evelyn's perplexing marriage announcement was made. It was Evelyn herself who bought the Carrick Avenue home. John Dick's name was not on the mortgage, and it is believed that he put none of the initial deposit money down.

A few stormy months resulted in John's departure. Evelyn was taken to police headquarters for questioning soon after the body was identified. What followed was astounding to investigators. Evelyn Dick responded to the news that the torso belonged to her husband by remarking " Don't look at me. I don't know anything about it", then proceeded to tell a story about a nattily dressed Italian hitman kinda guy who arrived at her door looking for John. He said that he was going to "fix" him for messing around with his wife. He then left without telling Mrs. Dick who he was. Days later, police had learned that Evelyn borrowed a large Packard car from a man named Bill Landeg. Landeg received the car back with blood covering the front seat, the seat covers missing and bloody clothing in the back.

Evelyn left a note explaining that Heather had cut herself and made the mess. Investigation proved the blood to be the same type as John Dick's. At this point, Evelyn told police that a mysterious man had called her, told her that John had made a woman pregnant and that he was getting what was coming to him. The man then asked her to meet her so that he could borrow a car. Evelyn explained that she met the man and he had a large sack with him. He told her it contained 'part of John'. Evelyn's story went on to say that she drove this man and his cargo to the dumping site.

Mrs. Dick took police on the route that she claimed they followed. When asked if it was at all alarming to her that her husband's body was in the vehicle she said that she wasn't happy about his demise, but that it was a "pretty mean trick to break up a home", referring, evidently to the woman who Dick had allegedly impregnated. She emphatically denied conspiring to kill her husband. Evelyn's responses and demeanor were inappropriate. it was no surprise to those who dealt with her that psychiatrists later found her to be on the borderline between having dull normal and moron-like intelligence.

In addition, it was reported that she had the mental capacity of a thirteen year old girl. Later, Evelyn changed her story again and signed a second statement regarding the involvement of Italian killers, hired by Bill Bohozuk. During all of this, investigators at the Dick's Carrick Avenue residence made a gruesome discovery; a beige suitcase in an attic trunk. The suitcase was filled with concrete, and in the concrete were the remains of a baby boy; Peter David White.

Alexandra MacClean told police that she had seen her husband at this trunk the day before and told her to get the hell out of the room. Faced with this turn of events, and having been told that Bohozuk had been brought in for questioning, Evelyn Dick told yet another story. She said that Bill Bohozuk had murdered the child and John Dick as well. Incriminating evidence such as bullet holes in a pipe, a revolver and cartridges, saws and bloodstained shoes that were almost certainly John Dick's were found in Donald MacLean's basement. Evelyn Dick, Bill Bohozuk and Donald MacClean were charged with the murder of John Dick.

Trial and Outcome:  In her first trial, Evelyn Dick was found guilty of John Dick's murder. She was sentenced to death by hanging.

Although she had probably not killed John with her own hands, Evelyn Dick was guilty by participating in the planning and carrying out of the crime. When the case was heard on appeal, the verdict was overturned because, it was ruled, Evelyn's statements to police were improperly admitted into evidence and that the trial judge had not properly instructed the jury. Bill Bohozuk and Donald MacClean were held for an unheard of length of time before their joint trial was to take place. Bohozuk walked because Evelyn Dick, the only witness prosecutors had, refused to testify.

Donald macClean was found to be guilty as an accessory after the fact and sentenced to five years in prison. Evelyn however, was not so lucky. She was found guilty of manslaughter in the death of her infant son and sentenced to life in Kingston Penitentiary. Evelyn Dick was paroled in 1958. What happened to her after that is uncertain.

**Note: This page appears in the Extra Features section of the Torso movie DVD, starring Kathleen Robertson**



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