Skip to main content

The body was never found, nor was any weapon, but after two days of deliberation, a jury has convicted Timothy Culham of murdering eccentric antiques hoarder Hugh Sinclair.

The tall, wire-thin Mr. Culham, 29, showed no sign of emotion when the jury found him guilty of first-degree murder.

Although Mr. Sinclair was a bit of a loner, his family said they kept in touch with him in Toronto by telephone. Neighbours told the court of his regimented daily routine, his chatty demeanour and his strange disappearance in early July 1999 -- which Mr. Culham, his companion and fellow antiques enthusiast, explained away as simply a holiday. Mr. Culham was staying with Mr. Sinclair at the time.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Sinclair's family, who were in the courtroom for the verdict yesterday, said Mr. Culham's lack of remorse was chilling. "From what we saw, it was just a big joke to him," Robin Sinclair, Hugh's younger brother, said.

What the Sinclair family wants most is to know where Hugh Sinclair's body is, so they can bury him. "There's been no indication of what happened to my brother," David Sinclair said, adding that Mr. Culham has nothing to lose by revealing the location.

The defence team did not call any witnesses or present any evidence during the trial, and Mr. Culham chose to stay silent throughout the proceedings.

Most of the evidence at the trial was indirect because of the lack of a corpse or a murder weapon. Finding Mr. Sinclair's DNA in the trunk of a car that Mr. Culham rented was a key break in the case, Detective Rudy Pasini said yesterday.

Det. Pasini told reporters outside the courthouse yesterday that police knew the body was taken away in a car from the Manulife Centre in Toronto, where Mr. Sinclair lived. After calling every rental agency in the city, the police had no leads, until an officer spotted an advertisement for Cheap Wheels 4 Rent. When police asked about Mr. Culham, the staff knew him.

"He brought back a horrible-smelling car," Det. Pasini said the staff told him. "That was the start of it."

The prosecution told the jury that Mr. Culham killed Mr. Sinclair so he could sell the elderly man's antiques to pay off his debt at antique shops and an auction house and to fund his gambling addiction. Mr. Sinclair's DNA was found in the rented car, on a gasoline tank and in smears of blood in Mr. Sinclair's kitchen. The prosecution contends Mr. Sinclair was killed on July 7 and moved five days later.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter