The London man accused of back-to-back stabbings Tuesday night that left one man dead and another injured was a former junior hockey player with a troubled past that involved severe drug addiction and an armed robbery conviction.  

Tony Huff-Williams, 35, of London, has been charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of 44-year-old Roy Joseph Gowdy Tuesday evening on Grey Street — a man friends and family are remembering as a generous father and grandpa who would go the extra mile for those he loved.  

Just three hours before, and only four blocks away from where Gowdy was killed, a 25-year-old man was stabbed at 241 Simcoe St. 

The man hurt at the Simcoe Street apartment complex around 6:30 p.m. was rushed to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, police said Thursday.

When police arrived at 530 Grey St. at about 9:55 p.m., Gowdy was rushed to hospital where he later died of his injuries.

Huff-Williams has been charged with assault, uttering threats and aggravated assault in the first attack, along with first-degree murder for Gowdy’s death.

He was arrested downtown late Tuesday evening, London police said Thursday.

The charges stemming from twin attacks are the latest chapter in Huff-William’s tumultuous past.

He had once been a promising athlete, joining the Plymouth Whalers in the Ontario Hockey League in 2000. But when behavioural issues cropped up and he was released by the team, his life took a turn for the worse.

London police on Wednesday morning continued their investigation into a fatal stabbing at 530 Grey St.

In the years that followed, Huff-Williams battled mental health issues and drug addiction, details that emerged at his sentencing for the crack-cocaine fuelled knife-point robbery of a cab driver in 2011.

He was sentenced to three years in prison for the armed robbery.

At the time, the court heard Huff-Williams had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression and was struggling with substance abuse issues.  

Huff-Williams is being held in custody after the two stabbings Tuesday night. Police would not say if Gowdy and the accused were known to each other. 

The slain man’s friends and family are reeling from the sudden loss, the city’s second homicide investigation this year.

“It just makes no sense and that’s the hardest part to accept,” said Darleen Johnston, a longtime friend.

“He was such an easy going guy. . . . For this to happen, it’s a shock. I still feel like he’ll walk through the door any moment.”

Gowdy had been taking care of Johnston’s puppy all day Tuesday before returning to the Grey Street home he shared with his mother.

Over the years, the 44-year-old had held down odd jobs in carpentry, hospitality and landscaping. He was recently laid off from a job at a dog treat manufacturer and was looking for work, Johnston said. 

“He was just a kind and gentle soul. . . . He was always a giver, never a taker,” she said.

Neither Johnston or her husband Randy McKenzie, who have both known Gowdy for years, had ever heard him mention Huff-Williams.

“Roy and I, we talked about everything. No secrets,” McKenzie said. “So I really don’t understand who this is or why this happened.” 

Christyl Cartier, the ex-partner of homicide victim Roy Gowdy talks about her ex, and their two children. (MIKE HENSEN, The London Free Press)

Gowdy had two children, a son and a daughter, and had just become a grandfather nine months ago, his former partner Christyl Cartier said.

Gowdy lost his dad to cancer when he was in his twenties, Cartier said. He was close with his mom and took care of her.

 “We didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but he was a good person. Over the last three months, I’ve seen a change and he was actually trying to get back into his children’s life,” she said.

“He was turning his life around and actually doing well. The time my kids had with him was taken away.”


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