Former UW student adviser charged with Victoria Park strangling murder

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Derrick Lawlor, a 52-year-old former UW student adviser, appeared in court Monday as he faces first-degree murder charges in connection to the strangling death of 50-year-old Mark McCreadie.


McCreadie’s body was found April 10 in a wooded area in Kitchener’s Victoria Park. According to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, the accused was also convicted of manslaughter in 1985.


He was convicted for the manslaughter of Locklyn Hutchings in a cabin northwest of St. Johns. Hutchings died of suffocation on June 26, 1983, according to the <em>Telegraph</em>. He was sentenced to a four-year prison term, for which he later received a pardon.


According to <em>The Record,</em> his LinkedIn profile states that his latest job was at the University of Waterloo as an &ldquo;adviser supporting students living with mental health conditions.&rdquo;


His official title was student adviser at UW&rsquo;s AccessAbility Services, where he worked for two years. Lawlor was on long-term sick leave in the months prior to the body being found.


He advised students on academic accomodations, Rose Padacz, director of AccessAbility Services said. This included support in class, exam accomodations, and recommending accomodations necessary to their professors.


Padacz &ldquo;shocked&rdquo; by the news expressed concern about the impact this has on students, staff, and faculty who had some sort of contact or relationship with Lawlor.


&ldquo;I&rsquo;m more concerned about the shock of how this would affect the students, staff, and faculty,&quot; Padacz said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want it to be misinterpreted that he didn&rsquo;t care about the students because I think he did.&rdquo;


&ldquo;He was very ethical in the work he was doing to support the students,&rdquo; she said. &nbsp;She added that feedback from students&#39; parents he was advising was also very positive.


The fact that student adviser positions are not subject to police checks has raised some questions of whether or not UW should consider changing its policy on police background checks.


&ldquo;It&rsquo;s too early to say if there are any changes needed in the recruitment process,&rdquo; Nick Manning, director of media relations at UW said. &ldquo;We undertake rigorous checks of references for anybody taking a job at the University of Waterloo. The process for recruitment into specific student adviser jobs is something the Associate Provost, Students, will take a look at.&rdquo;


Padacz said that although there are no police checks, the AccessAbility office makes sure to conduct &ldquo;thorough reference checks,&rdquo; including former employer records.


Padacz added that in conducting these checks she found that feedback was &ldquo;glowing&rdquo; from students, during his time as an exam proctor.


When asked why Lawlor&rsquo;s contract wasn&rsquo;t renewed Manning said, &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t comment about HR matters.&rdquo;


Padacz also declined to comment citing contract confidentiality.


Even if he had been subject to a police check, Lawlor&rsquo;s manslaughter conviction would not have been highlighted, due to his pardon.


In an interview with <em>The Record</em>, Pardons Canada said, &ldquo;Pardons/record suspensions are issued by the federal government of Canada. This means that any search of the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) will not show that you had a criminal record, or that you were issued a pardon/record suspension.&rdquo;
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