Dead woman’s boyfriend faces rare charge — (Canoe.com)

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Canoe.com

JANE SIMS and RANDY RICHMOND, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:38 PM ET

Chris Gale, 29, faces a charge of offering an indignity to a dead body in the death of Jocelyn Bishop, 21, who died of a gunshot wound to the head. (Special to QMI Agency

LONDON, Ont. – A new charge has been leveled against the boyfriend of a London woman found dead last week in the couple’s backyard — and, unlike the other charges he’s facing, it’s connected to her death.

Chris Gale, 29, faces a charge of offering an indignity to a dead body in the death of Jocelyn Bishop, 21, who died of a gunshot wound to the head.

He was charged last Thursday with several gun and drug charges.

The new charge is a rarely used section of the Criminal Code that refers to the neglect or improper interference of a dead body. The charge covers a wide range of actions, including an improper burial.

Bishop was reported missing two weeks ago by her family. Her body was discovered in a shallow grave last Thursday.

Gale, in a black golf shirt, made a brief court appearance Tuesday in the Ontario Court of Justice and set a bail hearing for Monday. Unlike his first court appearance on Friday, he remained composed.

His defence lawyer, Donald Crawford, said after court he believes the new charge related to “an allegation (Gale) buried her.”

“We’re always taught to bury a body with dignity to protect it from the elements, and it very well may be he did not want any shame to come upon her,” he said.

Crawford said Gale is a “good candidate for bail.”

Acting Middlesex Crown attorney Mary Potter told the court “the investigation hasn’t concluded” and asked Gale’s bail hearing to be adjourned to book enough court time to hear the evidence.

London police continued their probe of the case Tuesday at 1385 Fanshawe Park Rd.

Asked if Gale was facing any further charges, London Det. Supt Ken Heslop said, “not in the short term, no.”

At this point, police are not looking for any other “persons of interest” in the case, said Heslop, head of the criminal investigation unit.

It may take two weeks for police to finish the forensic work necessary to give a curious public, and more importantly, two worried families, the answers, he said.

“It is painstakingly slow,” Heslop said. “I think we all have to be patient. As soon as we have the information, we will release it to the community through the media.”

Last week, police called the investigation “homicide-like.” Heslop said that description applies to the resources gone into the investigation, but not necessarily the outcome when it comes to charges.

Crawford said Gale “seems to be doing much better even though he’s in custody” than immediately following his arrest.

“He’s on medication,” he said. “You got to remember this was a woman he loved and, of course, he is mourning her loss as well. I’m amazed he’s in as good of shape as he is.”

Crawford said he interviewed Gale at his office last week before Bishop’s body was found and “he was a mess.”

Gale was seeking legal advice concerning the police wanting to enter his home without a warrant. He told Crawford he had called and reported Bishop missing.

The next time he spoke to Gale was over the telephone when Gale was in the back seat of a police cruiser near midnight Thursday, under arrest.

Bishop’s body had been found earlier that day by London police after a search involving an RCMP helicopter and a cadaver dog.

Bishop was on medication for depression and anxiety and was last seen June 27 leaving the house after the couple had a fight.

A week later, Gale called Bishop’s parents in Bothwell looking for her. Concerned, her parents called the police.

The same day, police went to the Fanshawe Park Rd. address, interviewed Gale and started a search.

Some of Gale’s earlier charges refer to improper storage of firearms. Crawford said Gale had both long guns and handguns, many of them antiques.

He repaired guns part-time and made cartridges — for which he had proper licences, he said.

Crawford said Gale’s right hand is in a cast and Crawford said he understood Bishop broke it “a day or two before when she struck him with a lead pipe when he was trying to protect himself.”

Gale is left-handed.

London lawyer Gordon Cudmore, who represented Gale’s family in a review of a search warrant of their home Friday, said they’re “obviously very distressed and concerned about what is going on, and certainly their hearts and sympathies go out to the Bishop family.”

Cudmore said Gale’s parents, Sheila and Kevin Lundy, are supportive of their son and “we’re of the view a murder did not take place.”

He commended the police for their “cautious approach.”

“They’re going through all the evidence before they make any decisions. We’re just going to have to wait and see what that decision is.”

jane.sims@sunmedia.ca

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