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Murder of Tim McLean: Wikis


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The murder of Tim McLean (born 1985) occurred on the evening of July 30, 2008. McLean, a 22-year-old Canadian man, was stabbed and beheaded while riding a Greyhound Canada bus about 18 miles (29 km) west of Portage La Prairie, Manitoba traveling the Trans Canada Highway. On March 5, 2009, McLean's killer, 40-year-old Vince Weiguang Li (simplified Chinese: 李伟光traditional Chinese: 李偉光pinyin: Lǐ Wěiguāng), was found to be not criminally responsible for the murder.[1]



The incident took place near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, during a trip from Edmonton to McLean's hometown of Winnipeg.[2] According to witnesses, McLean was sleeping with his headphones on when the man sitting next to him suddenly produced a large knife and began stabbing McLean in the neck and chest. The attacker then decapitated McLean and displayed his severed head to other passengers outside who had fled the bus in horror. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested 40-year-old Vince Weiguang Li[3] soon afterward.[4]

At 12:01 a.m. on July 30, 2008, Tim McLean, a carnival worker, was returning home to Manitoba after working at a fair in Alberta.[5] He departed Edmonton on board Greyhound bus 1170 to Winnipeg, via the Yellowhead Highway through Saskatchewan. He sat at the rear, one row ahead of the washroom. At 6:55 p.m., the bus departed from a stop in Erickson, Manitoba[6] with a new passenger, Vince Weiguang Li.[3] Li, described as a tall man in his 40s, with a shaved head and sunglasses, originally sat near the front of the bus, but moved to sit next to McLean following a scheduled rest stop. McLean "barely acknowledged" Li, then fell asleep against the window pane, headphones covering his ears.[7]

At 8:30 p.m., the RCMP in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba received a report of a stabbing on a Greyhound bus west of the city. They arrived to find the suspect still on board the bus, being prevented from escaping by another passenger, the bus driver, and a truck driver who had provided a crowbar and a hammer as weapons. The other passengers were huddled at the roadside, some of them crying and vomiting. As the suspect had earlier attempted to escape by driving the bus away, the driver had engaged the emergency immobilizer system, rendering the vehicle inoperable. Witnesses had observed the suspect stabbing and cutting McLean's body, and carrying McLean's severed head.[7]

By 9:00 p.m., police were in a standoff with the suspect and had summoned special negotiators and a heavily-armed tactical unit. The suspect taunted police, alternately pacing the length of the bus and cutting and defiling the corpse. Police officers then observed Li eating parts of the body.[6] Meanwhile, the stranded passengers were transported from the scene to be interviewed at the Brandon RCMP detachment.[7] RCMP officers reportedly heard Li say, "I have to stay on the bus forever."[6]

On July 31, 2008, at 1:30 a.m., the suspect attempted to escape from the bus by breaking through a window. He was tasered twice, handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser. Parts of the victim's body, placed in plastic bags, were retrieved from the bus, while his ear, nose and tongue were found in Li's pockets. The victim's eyes and a part of his heart were never recovered and are presumed to have been eaten by the accused.[8] At 10:00 a.m., Greyhound representatives took the other passengers to a local store to replace their clothes, which remained on the bus. They arrived in Winnipeg at 3:30 p.m. that day, to be reunited with family members and friends.[7]

Witness accounts

Garnet Caton, a 26-year-old seismic driller who sat one row ahead of McLean, described hearing "a blood-curdling scream," saying, "I turned around and the guy sitting right [behind] me was standing up and stabbing another guy with a big Rambo knife.... Right in the throat. Repeatedly."[7]

Caton added: "I got sick after I saw the head thing. Some people were puking, some people were crying, some people were shocked. [The attacker] just looked at us and dropped the head on the ground, totally calm."[7] A police officer who was at the scene said the attacker also cut off parts of the victim's body and ate them.[9]

Another passenger, Stephen Allison, stated that McLean fought his attacker, providing other passengers with the opportunity to get off the bus.[10]

Vince Weiguang Li


Vince Weiguang Li, 40, immigrated to Canada from China in 2001[11][12] (although some newspapers erroneously reported 2004)[13] becoming a Canadian citizen in 2006. He worked in Winnipeg at menial jobs at Grant Memorial Church for six months to support his wife, Anna. Pastor Tom Castor, who employed Li, said he seemed happy to have a job and was committed to doing it well, despite a language barrier with other congregation members.

"I think he would occasionally feel frustrated with not being able to communicate or understand," Castor told CTV Winnipeg. "But we have a very patient staff and he seemed to respond well." Castor also said Li did not show any signs of anger issues or any other trouble before he quit in the spring of 2005. He worked as a forklift operator in Winnipeg while his wife, Anna Li, worked as a waitress.

Li first moved to Edmonton in 2006, abruptly leaving his wife, Anna, alone in Winnipeg until she joined him later.[14] His jobs included service at a Wal-Mart, at a fast-food restaurant, and newspaper delivery. His delivery boss, Vincent Augert, described Li as reliable, hard-working and not showing any signs of trouble.

Four weeks before the murder, he was fired from Wal-Mart following a "disagreement" with other employees.[14] Shortly before the incident, Li asked for time off from his delivery job to go to Winnipeg for a job interview.

July 29, 2008

At midnight July 28 In Edmonton, Li boarded a Greyhound bus bound for Winnipeg.

On July 29, around 6 p.m., Li got off the bus in Erickson, Manitoba, with at least three pieces of luggage, and stayed the night on a bench next to a grocery store. According to one witness, he was seen at 3 a.m. sitting bolt upright with eyes wide open.[6]

On the morning of July 30, still at the bench, he sold his new laptop computer to a 15-year-old boy, Darren Beatty, for $60.[15][16] The laptop was seized by the RCMP as evidence; the boy was subsequently given a new laptop for his honesty by an anonymous businessman.[17] Shortly before 6 p.m. Li boarded the bus heading to Winnipeg, which was carrying Tim McLean and 35 other passengers.[18]

Witness Garnet Caton said the attacker seemed oblivious to others when the stabbing occurred, adding he was struck by how calm the man was. "There was no rage or anything. He was like a robot, stabbing the guy," he said. When he appeared in a Portage La Prairie courthouse on charges of second-degree murder, the only words Li reportedly uttered were pleas for someone to kill him.[13]


Li's trial commenced on March 3, 2009, with the accused pleading not criminally responsible. This means that he accepted that the offence occurred but he claimed that he was unable to form the necessary mental element or mens rea.[8] According to a testifying psychiatrist, Li, diagnosed with schizophrenia in custody, performed the attack because God's voice told him McLean was a force of evil and was about to execute him. Furthermore, Li believed McLean to be capable of coming back to life, so he proceeded to mutilate the victim's body. An agreed statement of facts was released, revealing new details of the attack. It was also revealed that Li continues to suffer from psychosis and hallucinations, despite being put on strong anti-psychotic medication. Two days later, the presiding judge found Li not criminally responsible for the murder.[1] Li will remain in a high-security mental health facility under heavy security for at least another year before being re-assessed.[1]


The week following the attack, Greyhound Canada announced it was pulling a series of nationwide ads which included the line, "There's a reason you've never heard of bus rage." The incident has led to numerous calls for and petitions demanding increased security on intercity buses.[19]

After the incident, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent an advertisement to the Portage Daily Graphic comparing the murder of Tim McLean to the killing of animals for food. The ad was rejected by the paper.[20] PETA was harshly criticized for attempting to exploit the incident in such a manner, but refused to apologize.[21]

The family of Tim McLean have brought a lawsuit of $150,000 against Greyhound, the Attorney General of Canada and Weiguang Li.[22]


  1. ^ a b c McIntyre, Mike. "Vincent Li not criminally responsible for bus killing, beheading, cannibalization". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  2. ^ "Suspect in bus killing delivered newspapers, worked at McDonald's",, August 1, 2008. Accessed August 6, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Kitching, Chris. RCMP identify man accused of beheading victim, Winnipeg Sun, August 1, 2008. Accessed August 6, 2008.
  4. ^ Police don't know what prompted vicious bus attack,, July 31, 2008. Accessed August 6, 2008.
  5. ^ "Accused still hears voices, as much a victim as beheaded passenger: psychiatrist", Canadian Press, 3 March 09,, retrieved 3 March 09 
  6. ^ a b c d Friesen, Joe. 'Please kill me,' accused begs in court, The Globe and Mail, August 6, 2008. Accessed August 6, 2008.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Friesen, Joe. A quiet ride - then carnage, The Globe and Mail, August 1, 2008. Accessed August 6, 2008.
  8. ^ a b "Man pleads not guilty in bus beheading". The Toronto Star. 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  9. ^ Decapitation Suspect Allegedly Ate Victim, CBS News, August 2, 2008. Accessed August 2, 2008.
  10. ^ "Bus attack victim fought back". Sudbury Star. 2008-08-16. Retrieved 2008-09-02. 
  11. ^ McIntyre, Mike. 'Please kill me,' pleads man accused in beheading murder, National Post, August 5, 2008. Accessed August 6, 2008.
  12. ^ Accused in bus slaying ordered to get psychiatric assessment, CBC News, August 5, 2008. Accessed August 12, 2008.
  13. ^ a b Gillies, Rob. Canada bus beheading suspect says 'please kill me', Associated Press, August 5, 2008. Accessed August 6, 2008.
  14. ^ a b Steve Lillebuen, Jennifer Yang. Alleged beheader lost Wal-Mart job over conflict with fellow worker, Calgary Herald, August 4, 2008. Accessed August 6, 2008.
  15. ^ Giroday, Gabrielle. Li sold laptop before slaying, Winnipeg Free Press, August 6, 2008. Accessed August 7, 2008.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Parent, Tim (2008-08-06). "Montreal businessman to help Manitoba boy who bought laptop off accused killer". Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  18. ^ Timeline to the Greyhound bus murder case, CBC News, August 6, 2008. Accessed August 7, 2008.
  19. ^ Rynor, Becky. Greyhound pulls 'bus rage' ads , The Windsor Star, August 5, 2008. Retrieved August 5, 2008.
  20. ^ Nay, Rob. PETA ad slammed, Winnipeg Sun, August 7, 2008. Accessed August 7, 2008.
  21. ^ "PETA compares bus beheading to animal slaughter". 2008-08-06. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  22. ^ "Family of man beheaded on bus launches lawsuit". Retrieved 2008-09-02. 

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