To Tara Manning’s father, the only «right decision» would be to keep Gregory Bromby behind bars for the rest of his life.
Tara Manning was killed nearly 23 years ago, but her memory will be well represented next week when her father will travel more than 4,500 kilometres to a federal institution on the southern tip of Vancouver Island in an attempt to prevent her killer from being released.
Gregory Bromby, 42, killed Tara on May 5, 1995, inside her family’s home in Dorval. He stabbed the 15-year-old girl 51 times after having raped her. Her father, Michael Manning, discovered Tara’s body the following morning in her bedroom and has vivid memories of his futile attempts to revive her while a 911 operator implored him to keep trying until first responders arrived.
“It’s very important to be there,” Michael Manning told the Montreal Gazette as he prepared for his trip to Vancouver to deliver a victim-impact statement that he could have submitted in writing to the Parole Board of Canada. “If you are there and able to address the parole board in person it hits them in the heart and maybe they’ll make the right decision.
“For me, it is something that never goes away. It is something I think of every day. I just don’t think he is ready or that he will ever be ready.”
To Manning, the only “right decision” would be to keep Bromby behind bars for the rest of his life. When Bromby was convicted in 1997, youth criminal laws in Canada were different. Even though he was a minor when he killed Tara, he was tried as an adult, an option that no longer exists. He automatically received a life sentence but, because he was a youth, his period of parole ineligibility was set at 10 years, instead of the standard 25 years.
Bromby was unlawfully at large from a juvenile detention centre when he killed the teenager, a fact that was not lost on the parole board when it rejected him for releases in 2007 and 2012.
Despite being eligible for full parole since May 5, 2005, Bromby has yet to be released but Manning is concerned he is being prepared for day parole. The minimum-security institution he is in can hardly be described as a penitentiary. According to the description on Correctional Service Canada’s website, the Willian Head Institution is a “standalone institution redesigned in the 1990s based on a residential design, composed of five neighbourhoods of clustered duplexes. Each neighbourhood of duplexes is intended to function as a community.”
The website also notes “three sides of the institution are surrounded by the Pacific Ocean.”
“It’s the Taj Mahal of prisons,” Manning said with a sigh. He does not know why Bromby has gradually moved westward as he served his sentence. He began at a penitentiary north of Montreal. Several years ago he was transferred to an institution in Saskatchewan and now he is in B.C.
Despite the distance, Manning sad there was no doubt he will attend the hearing on Tuesday.
“I want to let the parole board know I’ve done everything in my power to make sure he (remains incarcerated),” Manning said.
In 2007, while serving time in Saskatchewan, Bromby finally put an end to years of denial and admitted he killed Tara. He also admitted that he raped two other young women before and after he killed Tara and that he “came close” to raping a fourth victim. He made the admissions just before he went before the parole board while seeking permission for unescorted temporary absences.
“Your version of this murder is that (Tara) was your on-and-off girlfriend and after arguing, she told you it was over and she threatened to call the police. Being tired of rejection, you became upset, then raped and murdered her,” the parole board noted in its decision in 2007. It rejected his request for unescorted leaves even though a psychiatrist assessed him then as a low risk of reoffending. A local police force in Saskatchewan opposed Bromby’s plans because they would have involved him walking past schools while he went from a penitentiary to a location where he hoped to take part in a rehabilitation program.
During that 2007 hearing, Bromby told the parole board he did not “see (himself) as a psychopath but more of a person with anger issues.”
In 2012, Bromby’s request for day parole was turned down. In that decision the parole board wrote: “Despite extensive programming and counselling while incarcerated, professionals assigned to your case assess your risk to reoffend as moderate to high.”