Published On: Thu, Apr 21st, 2016

The ‘Webcam Killer’ Brian Dickson five years later as Qian ‘Necole’ Liu remembered

It was a rainy April day in 2014 when Zheng Yaru clutched a photo of her only child as her husband praised the Canadian justice system after the court ruled that Brian Dickson was guilty of murdering a student back in 2011.

From the initial report, the Toronto man, 29-years-old at the time, was captured on a webcam video struggling with Qian Liu, 23 and ultimately would face charges of first-degree murder.

“I think they have made a fairly quick arrest here,” Dave Perry, a former Toronto police homicide detective told CTV’s Canada AM said at the time. “Now they have a lot of work to do and they don’t want to compromise the situation. “They obviously have some very sound reasons to make that request; they have a lot of witnesses to speak to so they don’t want the picture circulating.”

Brian Dickson, dubbed the "Webcam Killer" photo/ MySpace

Brian Dickson, dubbed the “Webcam Killer” photo/ MySpace

Qian “Necole” Liu, 23, had been in Canada for seven months before she was killed Dickson, a fellow tenant in a rooming house south of the York campus, as her ex-boyfriend watched helplessly over a webcam.

“This is a very fair decision from the court,” Jianhui Liu said through a translator outside the downtown Toronto courthouse after the jury deliberated just a few hours before handing down the guilty verdict.



The guilty verdict came two days after the Chinese day of remembrance for her death, prompting Necole’s dad to state that “Maybe I can have some good news for my daughter.”

The jury came to its decision without knowing that Dickson “advocated having sex with children” on online message boards, had faced a sexual assault charge that was later withdrawn and had made a sexual advance on another young rooming house tenant, according to police.

The jury was not told that a police search of Dickson’s room found 103 pornographic DVDs, about half involving “Asian pornography” and a quarter involving teenagers.

The Crown argued Dickson deliberately murdered Liu to keep her silent after he forced his way into her apartment and sexually assaulted her.

The defense countered that Dickson is only guilty of manslaughter because he killed Liu unintentionally as she resisted his sexual advances.

Liu’s former boyfriend, Xian Meng, who lived in Beijing at the time, testified he and Liu were video-chatting when he heard a knock at her door. He told the court he saw a man shove his way into the apartment and attempt to embrace her, he said.

Liu resisted, pushing at his chest, Meng said.

She said “no” in both English and Mandarin, he told the court. After two muffled bangs, there was silence from Liu, he said. He could hear heavy breathing and then saw a man naked from the waist down approach the webcam and disconnect it.

Liu’s body was found lying face down on her bedroom floor later that morning after Meng managed to alert one of her friends. Semen that overwhelmingly matches Dickson’s DNA profile was found on her mostly naked body.

Liu’s blood was also found on a blue T-shirt belonging to Dickson.

The likeliest cause of Liu’s death, according to pathologists, was “mechanical asphyxiation,” the Crown said during the trial. This could include neck compression through something like a choke hold.


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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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