Family of Thomas Chan testify about night his father died as murder trial gets underway in Peterborough

Wearing a dark suit, Thomas Chan sat quietly as his Superior Court trial which got underway on Monday.

The 21-year-old is facing charges of second-degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault. He was arrested on Dec. 28, 2015, after police responded to a domestic incident on Haggis Drive in the early morning hours.

The body of his father, prominent Peterborough gastrologist Dr. Andrew Chan, was found inside the house. Police said he was stabbed to death.

Dr. Andrew Chan of Peterborough was found stabbed in his home on Dec. 28, 2015.

Dr. Andrew Chan of Peterborough was found stabbed in his home on Dec. 28, 2015.

CHEX News file

Dr. Chan’s partner Lynn Witteveen was also found in the house, and was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Chan’s older sister Christina was the first to take the stand on Monday.

She told court everything seemed fine in the days leading up to Dec. 28, 2015.


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She and her brother celebrated Christmas first with her mother, then their father. She told court their parents divorced in 2008, but she and Thomas had good relationships with both of them.

AUDIO: Christina Chan’s call to 911 on Dec. 28, 2015:

Growing up, the two attended nearby Lakefield College. Thomas was quickly recognized for his talent on the rugby field. Christina Chan told court he played at both the provincial and national levels.

 

But by the time Thomas was in Grade 11, he had received seven concussions. Christina told court he was told he could no longer play contact sports after that.

She testified that Thomas struggled with depression in high school. He began smoking marijuana, and went to St. Lawrence College for one semester before dropping out.

On Dec. 27, 2015, Thomas went out to dinner with friends, Christina told court, then came home, grabbed a few beers and headed down to the basement. Later that night, he emerged to tell his family that he was going to go for a walk with his friend.

 

The Crown alleges that at some point in the night, Chan consumed psilocybin, more commonly known as magic mushrooms.

Christina testified Chan was acting, “a little off,” after his walk. She went to bed around 11:30 p.m. but woke just after 3 a.m. when she heard Thomas and her mother shouting.

Thomas, she testified, was shirtless and standing on the landing with his phone in his hands. She told court he had the flashlight on and was shining it at them.

“He was shouting at us that we were the devil,” she told court. “He seemed frantic and frightened.”

Thomas Chan

Thomas Chan

CHEX News file

Thomas then ran from the house, stating that he was going to his father’s home on Haggis Drive., a five-minute walk from his mother’s home.

Christina’s voice broke as she described efforts to get a hold of her father and Witteveen. She couldn’t reach either of them on the home’s landline or their cellphones.


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Her mother, Rosalia Vastano, took the stand next.

She told court Chan woke her up shortly after 3 a.m. by turning on her bedroom light and coming into her room. He was “chatty,” and wanted to talk. But given the hour, she told him to leave her room and turn the light off.

Chan refused, she said, so she got out of bed and turned out the light. Then she heard Chan start to go upstairs. Worried that he’d wake Christina, she followed him upstairs.

Vastano told court Chan called her a devil before running from the house, telling her that he was going to his father’s house on Haggis Drive, a five-minute walk away.

She testified she tried to follow up, but Chan had taken off at a run and she couldn’t keep up. Two of Chan’s friends who had planned to stay over at her home that night drove up beside her. She got in the car and the three of them drove to Haggis Drive.

Chan, she told court, was standing on the sidewalk. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, so one of his friends approached him and tried to get him to put on a jacket.

After a few moments, the group decided to return home and call the police.

Vastano testified that she wanted to wait with her son until officers arrived, but was discouraged from doing so.

By the time they returned with her daughter in tow, she testified, Chan was in the house.

She saw broken glass on the floor, she said, and heard shouting.

“It didn’t sound like Thomas,” she testified. “It was a voice or a tone I’d never heard before.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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