‘Makes no sense’: Man convicted of murdering UVic student granted day parole

'Makes no sense': Man convicted of murdering UVic student granted day parole

A Victoria man serving a life sentence for second-degree murder has been granted day parole after nearly 40 years behind bars, according to a Parole Board of Canada decision. 

Scott Ian Mackay, 62, was convicted of the murder of University of Victoria student Marguerite Telesford, who went missing in January 1987 after she failed to return home after a morning jog. She was 20 years old at the time of her death.

Telesford’s body was never recovered, but a search of her usual jogging route revealed evidence of foul play, the board says.

Though Mackay pleaded “not guilty” in court, he was linked to the murder through forensic evidence. He says he does not know where Telesford’s body is.

He was initially convicted of first-degree murder. However, following a successful appeal, the court reduced his conviction to second degree with parole eligibility set at 15 years.

The board says Mackay has maintained throughout his sentence that he has no memory of the incident.

But in a recent hearing, he admitted his “culpability for the murder because it was the ‘least’ you could do to bring some closure for the victim’s family,” states the decision from March 5.

The document also mentions Mackay’s previous criminal history, which dates back to 1984 and includes prior convictions for impaired driving, assault, sexual assault and unlawful confinement.

The board says he was convicted of two offences involving sex workers in October of 1987 and was on bail for these offences at the time of Telesford’s murder.

It says Mackay is also a person of interest in an unsolved homicide of a woman that happened in ’87. That investigation is ongoing.

‘He’s being given all these privileges’

A Vancouver-based victims’ rights advocate can’t wrap his head around the parole board’s decision.

“My concern is that this is a long history of men getting out of incarceration who have done dreadful things to children and women. It just makes no sense,” Dave Teixeira told CHEK News.

“Here’s a man who murdered this young woman 37 years ago, will not tell anyone where he put the body, and yet after six times of not being granted release, he’s being given all these privileges.”

Mackay’s parole was granted for six months with numerous special conditions, including a ban from consuming alcohol or drugs. He also has a curfew and can’t contact the victims of his past offences or be in the presence of a sex worker.

At the hearing, Mackay’s institutional parol officer told the board he has “prioritized engagement with (his) culture” and, over the past five years in minimum security, has “not incurred any charges or incidents.”

The board says Mackay does not present an “undue risk to society,” having kept “a low profile and demonstrated a high level of motivation” toward his correctional plan. 

Since his conviction, it says he has also been sober for about 25 years, has worked with a therapist and has completed various programs, including his high school education.

Mackay has been accepted to reside at a community residential facility in B.C., but the location wasn’t disclosed.

READ MORE: Archive dive: The 1987 murder of a UVic student who vanished on her morning run

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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