Father admits to murder of ex-girlfriend while son was asleep in Brampton, Ontario


Published June 27, 2024 at 4:05 pm

Father admits to murder of ex-girlfriend while son was asleep in Brampton, Ontario
Brampton man Linval Alfonso Ritchie, 32, has pleaded guilty to the murder of his ex-girlfriend Vanessa Virgioni on July 17, 2022 (Photo: Peel Regional Police)

Warning: this story contains details of violence against women which some readers may find disturbing

A Brampton man has pleaded guilty to stabbing his ex-girlfriend Vanessa Virgioni to death while their seven-year-old child was asleep in the next room, according to reports.

Linval Ritchie entered the guilty plea on Tuesday in the second-degree murder of Virgioni, who was found dead at her Brampton home after Peel Regional Police received a call about a “disturbance” on June 17, 2022.

The court heard Ritchie, now 32-years-old, broke into his ex’s home with surveillance video entered into evidence of him cutting the screen to Virgioni’s living room window and entering the home, according to reports.

Virgioni and Ritchie were previously in a relationship and shared a son together, and the Crown reportedly told the court that their son, asleep in the next room, woke up during the break-in and “saw his dad doing something to his mom.”

Believing it to be a nightmare, the boy went back to bed.

The court heard the disturbing details of the murder with the Crown saying she died “from an incised wound to her neck” – wounds described as “a near decapitation,” according to reports.

Before the murder, Ritchie had a history of violent crimes and threats against both Virgioni and their son, the court heard.

The Brampton man served a sentence and was hit with a five-year weapons ban after he pleaded guilty to assault, break-and-enter and threat-related charges against the family in 2019.

After his release, Ritchie continued to contact Virgioni with the court hearing audio of a voicemail where he threatens to decapitate his future victim.

“I will cut off your head. Don’t make me angry,” he said according to reports.

Ritchie was initially charged with first-degree murder by Peel Regional Police after days on the run. He was arrested in Hamilton after fleeing Virgioni’s home in Brampton.

A conviction of second-degree murder carries an automatic sentence of life in prison with parole ineligibility between 10 years and 25 years. Ritchie will have a sentencing hearing later in the year.

Family and friends of Virgioni started a GoFundMe page to raise funds in support of her son. In total the fundraiser has collected over $58,000.

“Vanessa was the most beautiful, magnetic, powerful, positive and outgoing person,” the crowdfunding page reads. “She was always there for everyone who knew her. She had a smile that lit up the whole room and an energy that pulled you in.”

Ritchie will have a mental health assessment, as well as race and culture impact assessments as part of his sentencing.

Data from Peel Regional Police shows that some 78 per cent of intimate partner violence victims in Mississauga and Brampton are women. Police received 17,000 calls related to family and intimate violence in 2021 alone and saw a 3.5 per cent increase in the rate of intimate partner violence between 2016 and 2021.

With the growing number of violent attacks and murders of women in the city, Brampton City Council has urged the federal government to add femicide as its own criminal charge.

Anyone who has been a victim of intimate partner violence can contact Peel Regional Police by calling

Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Peel CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visiting www.peelcrimestoppers.ca.

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