TORONTO, Ont. – A man charged with First Degree Murder in the death of a student living near York University has been remanded in custody following a brief court appearance Thursday morning.
Brian Dickson, 29, of Toronto, is charged in the death of Qian Liu, 23. He appeared at a Finch Ave. court. CityNews reporter Melanie Ng reported he was in handcuffs, but was clean cut and dressed in a white collared shirt and blue jeans. He showed no emotion as the charges were read aloud during the five minute hearing.
The judge placed a publication ban on the case. As a result, close to 50 journalists in attendance were ordered out of the courtroom before the hearing began.
Proceedings have been put over until April 26, where Dickson will appear via video conference.
Meanwhile, York University has hired extra security staff and off-duty police officers to patrol the campus overnight.
Liu was found dead in her basement apartment, located in a popular housing area called “The Village,” just south of the campus.
Other students who live on the York U campus said it shouldn’t have taken a murder to prompt better school security measures.
“The whole area is so sketchy. A lot of security must be put in place,” said one student.
“It is a little bit too late, and they should have done it from before,” said another.
It is still unclear if Liu knew her attacker, or if she was being stalked. There has been speculation that she had been worried for her safety in the weeks leading up to her death.
The York Student Federation will host a forum to discuss ways to improve safety.
In the meantime, the university has released a statement, saying that it is a difficult time for the York community as they continue to mourn Liu’s loss, while adding that they continue to work with Toronto Police and want to ensure the investigation is not compromised in any way.
The murder case has captured international attention because part of the altercation between the suspect and Liu were seen on webcam by her boyfriend in Beijing.
University officials said Dickson was not a registered student, nor does he have a degree from York. However, there are reports he may have taken geo-politics classes at the school at one point. He was working as an amateur actor before his arrest, and is an avid runner.