The girl couldn't help it

Did juror Gillian Guess obstruct justice when she had an

affair with the accused murderer?

"I'VE HAD vaccinations that have lasted longer." Not exactly what you expect to hear from a woman describing her first sexual encounter with the man she fantasised about for months, but then Gillian Guess is anything but your standard, sentimental romantic.

In fact, she is more of your hard-core romantic, a drama queen worthy of a soap opera, which is why her sentencing on Monday in Vancouver on charges of obstruction of justice made such a perfect end to her story.

Guess, 43, is the first juror in North America to be convicted of having an affair with an accused murderer during a trial. Her liaison with defendant Peter Gill, 32, on trial for the 1995 gangland murders and subsequently acquitted, just earned her 18 months in prison.

Prosecutors alleged that Guess's jury-box affair with Gill secured his freedom. Guess, who admitted to their relationship, insists that her sexual obsession with the defendant did not influence her vote as a juror.

For the past six months Canadians have been living with the tabloid exploits of Gillian Guess and Peter Gill and the tawdry affair will no doubt continue to loom large. How could it not? There are still book deals to sign, interviews to conduct, movie scripts to write and a personal website - entitled Off With Her Head - to maintain. Even as she was led away from court, the blonde with a penchant for short, tight skirts didn't waste an opportunity to compose some dialogue for the forthcoming television movie.

"I have not committed a crime," she said valiantly. "I fell in love, nothing more. My whole life has been ruined. My whole life has been violated."

To Gill, a drug dealer tried with five others in 1995 for the murder of brothers Ron and Jimmy Dosanjh during a cocaine turf war on Vancouver streets, the English-born Guess - who moved to Canada when she was two - was known initially as "chick number one". He spotted her on the first day of his trial and she, evidently, spotted him right back.

The twice-divorced mother of two, who worked as a counsellor for the Canadian police, became infatuated with Gill, whom she initially mistook for a lawyer because of his well-cut suit. As her infatuation with him took hold, it spilled over from fantasy to reality. Jurors and court workers watched with horror as she flirted with Gill from the jury box. "She keeps staring at me big time," he wrote in his diary, and he in turn responded. She says he told her later that he had been following her "from day one".

"Miss Guess would flip her hair, look over at him and kind of smile," the court clerk Emma Hyde testified at Guess's trial. "There was more happening than her assessing the accused." You can say that again. Police have since revealed that Gill, who was out on bail and therefore free to come and go, met Guess a number of times before a fully-fledged affair began.

You don't need to be a regular viewer of LA Law to know that communication, let alone sex, between jurors and defendants is hardly encouraged by the courts.

When the verdict came down, Gill was acquitted. Prosecutors and police, who had suspected for some time that the juror and the suspect were having an affair, immediately began tailing the couple. Police recorded an incredible 18,000 phone calls and numerous sexual encounters - reportedly more exciting than Guess's account of the initial liaison.

When she was confronted, Guess admitted she had fallen in love with Gill - swept up, she said, on a tide of emotion, even though Gill was actually nothing like the fantasy she envisioned. (That's criminals for you, so unreliable.) She said he was often rough and crude, but she was smitten.

She invoked the girl-can't-help-it defence: she understood her responsibility as a juror and denied that her feelings for Gill ever influenced the outcome of the trial. But, faced with a mountain of evidence, the prosecution felt otherwise and charged the actress-model with obstruction of justice. Though her sister testified that Guess had always previously sought out relationships with upright citizens - a surgeon, a construction worker, a fireman, an ex-pro football player - the other jurors broke their silence and sealed her fate. One revealed that Guess "made it evident early on how she was going to vote and she was biased in that direction."

Gill also appeared to indicate the direction he was going in when, after Guess's conviction, he reportedly dropped her. Despite diary entries and tape recordings to the contrary, Gill insists that they never had sex.

The beauty of Guess's case is that while it made tabloid reporters foam at the mouth, it is neither unique nor extreme. The Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh - imprisoned for the rest of his life - fields marriage proposals every week. The Beverly Hills rich kid Lyle Menendez, convicted of murdering his parents, married Anna Eriksson, a court-room fan, in prison in 1996.

Guess is in fine company. In 1993, juror Debra Ann Voth married the inmate she had helped convict of murder. She and Louie Villalba exchanged vows in Calipatria State Prison in California before the groom was strip-searched and returned to his cell. Voth, a mortgage banker, was among 12 jurors who convicted Villalba of killing Ronald Louis Brown in 1990. Following the trial in 1991, Voth said she wanted to help rehabilitate Villalba and began visiting him and paying for correspondence courses.

In true romantic tradition, she fell in love with him and divorced her husband of 10 years to marry him. Not to be outdone, in 1996 Jeraldine Vorhis, a corrections officer at Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Oklahoma, married the inmate John Crosson, a convicted murderer who was serving life without parole. She met him when he was transferred from another prison to alleviate overcrowding. "I really don't know how it happened," she said. "This was just an attraction, and we took it from there."

Sheila Isenberg, author of Women Who Love Men Who Kill suggests that the attraction is due to a magnetic mix of danger and unrequited passion, playing out the fantasy of good girl meets bad boy. Isenberg suggests that women fall for criminals because the emotion and passion exist in such a heightened state.

Because the relationship is forbidden, it is never reduced to the daily predictability of a garden variety relationship.

For Gillian Guess, who is already appealing against her conviction, Peter Gill was her passport to adventure after two broken marriages.

"What the hell where you thinking?" Guess was asked in a television interview recently.

"I wasn't thinking," she said. "Was it wrong? Morally? Ethically? Absolutely. But I still don't think it was criminal."

Arts and Entertainment
Cillian Murphy stars as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks in 2011

Review: A panoramic account of the hacking scandal

books
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian Jack Dee has allegedly threatened to quit as chairman of long-running Radio 4 panel show 'I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue'

Edinburgh Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Director Paul Thomas Anderson (right) and his movie The Master featuring Joaquin Phoenix

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
There are no plans to replace R Kelly at the event

music
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>Laura
Carmichael- Lady Edith Crawley</strong></p>
<p>Carmichael currently stars as Sonya in the West End production of
Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre. She made headlines this autumn
when Royal Shakespeare Company founder Sir Peter Hall shouted at her in a
half-sleepy state during her performance. </p>
<p>Carmichael made another appearance on the stage in 2011, playing
two characters in David Hare’s <em>Plent</em>y
at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. </p>
<p>Away from the stage she starred as receptionist Sal in the 2011
film <em>Tinker Tailor Solider Spy</em>. </p>

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana admits she's

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off contestants line-up behind Sue and Mel in the Bake Off tent

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Mitch Winehouse is releasing a new album

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him

music
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event

film
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Public vote: Art Everywhere poster in a bus shelter featuring John Hoyland
art
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
    Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

    Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

    Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
    Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

    Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

    Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
    Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

    Spanx launches range of jeans

    The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
    10 best over-ear headphones

    Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

    Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
    Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

    Commonwealth Games

    David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

    Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star