OPS confirms settlement of lawsuit stemming from Ferguson murder

September 22, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

The Orangeville Police Service has this week confirmed that a civil lawsuit stemming from the 2009 murder of Heidi Ferguson has been settled out of court.

It has now been eight years since the 39-year-old mother of two was shot by her estranged husband, Hugh, at the Orangeville home she shared with her children – Connor and Courtney – later dying in a Toronto hospital. In 2011, Ms. Ferguson’s brother, Troy Bogner, launched a $4.3 million lawsuit against the local police force, claiming officers failed in their duty to protect his sister.

Ken Krakar, Chair of the Orangeville Police Services (OPS) Board, confirmed on Tuesday that the two parties had resolved the issue in November of last year. He neglected to go into more detail when asked by the Citizen.

“We can confirm that a settlement was reached, on Nov. 15, 2016,” Mr. Krakar commented in an email. “Any and all terms of the settlement are confidential pursuant to a non-disclosure provision.”

The news of an agreement comes shortly after yet another anniversary of a murder that shocked the community. On Sept. 11, 2009, two Orangeville police constables responded to a 911 call from Ms. Ferguson’s Westdale Avenue home. According to Mr. Bogner’s statement of claim, the husband had arrived at the property intoxicated, sometime after 9 p.m. and attacked Heidi because of her decision to file for divorce.

The two officers apparently informed her that there were reasonable grounds to obtain a warrant for Hugh’s arrest, but the OPS statement of defence said the wife “consistently minimized the significance of the assault” and refused to co-operate with police.

The officers reached the husband over the phone from Heidi’s house, arranging for him to stop by the police station. The statement of claim says Mr. Ferguson agreed to surrender in the morning, since he had been drinking, while the OPS defence asserted that the 42-year-old agreed to meet the officers that night.

According to the OPS defence, officers asked the wife twice to accompany them to the police station or stay with a friend, but she declined and said she felt safe inside her own home.

The statement of claim asserted that by leaving Mrs. Ferguson alone in the home,  the two officers failed in their duty to protect his sister.

The husband returned to the home about one hour later, shooting his wife in the chest three times. She ran to seek safety at a neighbour’s house and was rushed to Headwaters Health Care Centre before being airlifted to Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto, where she succumbed to her injuries.

Following the incident, the husband returned to his home in Camilla and as police surrounded the house committed suicide.

Although the OPS was cleared of any wrongdoing following an investigation by Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, the inquiry focused only on the actions of an Orangeville officer at the Camilla house and not the protocols followed by the two officers at Heidi’s Orangeville home. The lawsuit condemned OPS procedures in place at the time to deal with domestic violence.

“They failed to follow their own protocols on domestic assault offences,” the statement of claim said. “As a result of the defendants’ actions, Heidi suffered extreme pain, emotional upset and an untimely and undignified death.”

It remains unclear how much the Ferguson family has been compensated, and Mr. Krakar would not say whether the settlement was covered by insurance or the cost would be picked up by local taxpayers.

Area residents will have the opportunity to remember Heidi this coming weekend when Family Transition Place hosts its sixth annual Ferguson Memorial Walk. Designed to raise awareness and prevent future violence against women, the event has helped raise $78,000 since its inception. The walk will take place on Sunday at Island Lake Conservation Area. Sign in and registration begins at 9:30 a.m., with the walk starting at 11 a.m. Registration for the event is $20. For more information, visit

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