The cousin of the Canadian billionaire found hanging in his exclusive home alongside his wife in December, has rejected cops’ findings that the couple were targeted victims of a double-homicide.
Instead, in an explosive interview with DailyMailTV on Wednesday, Kerry Winter has disclosed his belief that Barry Sherman, 75, murdered his wife Honey, 70, then took his own life – a view rejected by police.
And he told how Barry Sherman had twice asked him to arrange for his wife’s murder saying: ‘I want you to whack my wife.’
Winter, 56, told DailyMailTV: ‘My gut tells me he killed her.
‘That’s my feeling [and] I don’t believe somebody out there is going to be found because… Barry did the deed.
Winter’s own immediate reaction on learning of their deaths, he said was: ‘F***ing hell he finally did it. Barry finally killed the b****.’
Billionaire Barry Sherman, 75, and his wife Honey, 70, (pictured together) were found hanged beside their pool at their Toronto mansion on December 14. Officials originally said they believed their death was a murder-suicide but have since said it was a double homicide
But Sherman’s cousin Kerry Winter, 56 (pictured), has other ideas. He told DailyMailTV in an exclusive interview: ‘Sherman had twice asked him to arrange for his wife’s murder saying: ‘I want you to whack my wife”‘
Barry and Honey Sherman were found hanging from the railings of their indoor pool (pictured)
Winter’s account conflicts directly with the belief of the couple’s four children, the private detectives they hired, and police in Toronto – although it does chime with initial reports of the view being formed by detectives immediately after the bodies were found dead at their home in one of Toronto’s most exclusive suburbs on December 14.
Toronto police initially treated the Shermans’ ‘suspicious’ deaths as murder-suicide after autopsies returned the cause of death as ‘ligature neck compression’ – strangulation caused by a cord or rope.
Then private investigators hired by the Shermans’ children concluded that the couple were murdered by multiple killers two days before the 75-year-old and his wife were found hanging from their poolside railings in a ‘semi-seated’ position. They had been strung up by belts.
Sherman was honored in death by Justin Trudeau, who publicly mourned him at a memorial service and tweeted a tribute to the couple’s ‘vision and spirit’.
Last Friday, after six weeks of investigation during which 127 witnesses had been interviewed, thousands of hours of surveillance camera footage recovered, 150 items removed from the couple’s 12,000 square foot home and even sewers searched in a bid to recover evidence, cops announced that they too were viewing the deaths as double-homicide.
Winter and his relatives are bitterly estranged after a long court battle between Winter and his siblings and their cousin Barry, who they accused of shutting them out of their rightful ownership of the family pharmaceutical company.
Winter says that Sherman had ‘many enemies’ and that over the years people may have wanted him dead – but says the simplest explanation and the one he believes is that he did it himself.
‘Is it plausible that somebody out there had an ax to grind and arranged for them to be targeted?’ he told DailyMailTV. ‘Absolutely, because of the manner in which he did business and the many enemies he had.’
But he said: ‘There is no doubt, sitting in front of you here, that Barry killed her. I’m not surprised. Actually I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner.’
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an apperance at the Sherman’s memorial service in Toronto in late December. Trudeau had offered public condolences and commended their ‘vision and spirit,’ after their death
Police initially believed the incident was a murder-suicide, but now have reason to believe the pair were murdered after the couple’s children issued a statement denying that their parents would do such a thing. Pictured: The couple’s 12,000 square foot home
Sherman, whose estimated fortune of $3 billion saw him ranked the 12th richest man in Canada, was, Winter said ‘ruthless and cunning.’ He noted: ‘Ethics and morals really didn’t have much of a place in the way he did business.
‘You can go through life and not harm people, or you can go through life and leave carnage in your wake and you look behind my cousin, there were just bodies littered.’
Sherman himself once publicly noted, ‘For a thousand dollars I’m surprised somebody hasn’t taken me out.’
But for all the enemies which, Winter estimated, must run to the hundreds he still believes that Sherman killed Honey before killing himself.
It is a point of view that sees Winter at odds with the Shermans’ children – Lauren, 42, Jonathan, 34, Alexandra, 31 and Kaelen, 28 – who have always rejected talk of a murder-suicide.
In reality this family has been bitterly divided for years. Winter, a site manager, has been locked in a legal dispute with Sherman and his generic drug manufacturer company Apotex Inc, for more than a decade as he fights for a portion of the fortune he claims Sherman stole from his family.
Winter admitted the feud might make some eye him as a prime suspect in his cousin’s murder: ‘I remember the day it happened and saying to some of my closest friends, “They’re going to haul me in.”
‘Not to make me the fall guy but I have an ax to grind and I’ve been involved in this lawsuit and maybe I decided to take matters into my own hands.’
But after six weeks officers have yet to question Winter, a fact that he finds ‘remarkable’ if they are truly searching for suspects.
Sherman and Honey were renowned philanthropists who gifted $50 million to the United Jewish Appeal alone.
Yet Sherman was aggressively fighting a Federal investigation into breach of lobbying laws and the shadow of a tax evasion investigation loomed with rumors that his name was contained in the Panama Papers.
Sherman had an estimated fortune of $3 billion and was, Winter said, ‘ruthless and cunning’. The cousin claims that Sherman despised his wife (pictured together in 2010), claiming Sherman told him: ‘You know sometimes I want to kill that b***’
Winter (pictured) said he is surprised that he hasn’t been questioned by police yet, seeing that he and Sherman were embroiled in a bitter legal feud over Winter’s inheritance
Winter insisted this is legal feud with Sherman has no bearing on his conviction that his cousin killed first his wife and then himself or his decision to speak out now.
‘It’s not so much I’m saying negative things,’ he said. ‘I’m saying truthful things.’
And in reality, Winter said, the man mourned by Trudeau was a ‘pathological liar’ who was obsessed with accumulating wealth and held his wife in ‘disdain’.
Winter said: ‘He couldn’t stomach to be around her. He used to say to me, ‘There’s love and hate in every marriage. But there’s just so much hate in mine.’
‘And all these people who sit back and say, “Barry would NEVER have harmed her…he adored her,”‘ Winter shook his head, ‘Barry wasn’t capable of love.’
Instead, Winter claimed, Sherman came to him wanting him to put a hit on Honey in the late nineties.
He said: ‘The first time I remember he had gone on a trip with her and he hated it. He said, ‘You know sometimes I want to kill that b***….You probably know some people don’t you?’
Winter, a recovering drug addict who has been clean and sober for six years admitted, ‘I was messed up and I knew some messed up people at the time. I said, ”Barry you’re talking about killing the mother of your children.”
‘He said, ”I know what I’m talking about. I want you to find somebody to kill my wife.”‘
Winter reached out to a local ‘quasi gangster’ he knew. Winter said: ‘I remember going back to Barry and I said, ”If we push this button there’s no turning back.”
But Sherman had changed his mind and it was several months before he raised the subject again.
This time Sherman called Winter to his office: ‘He didn’t do small talk. He asked me to close the door.
‘I sat down and he said, “I want you to do it. I want you to whack my wife.”‘
Winter admitted, ‘I was shocked. I felt almost panicked. I was going to get involved in this murder and I couldn’t’ say no.’
But, he admitted, ‘There was part of me that didn’t like her either. She was rude to me. I was not okay in my life at that time and I was organizing this thing for this billionaire and we’d share this dark secret. It would bind us together forever.’
Winter’s parents, Louis and Beverly Winter (pictured in undated photo), acted as a surrogate father for Sherman when his father died. When both Louis and Beverly died in 1965, Sherman managed to take control of Louis’ profitable generic drug manufacturing company
Winter’s father Louis (pictured in undated photo), was a biochemist and the founder of generic drug manufacturer, Empire Laboratories. Winter recalled: ‘We were enrolled in a posh private school. He drove a Rolls Royce. He had two yachts. He was a self-made millionaire’
In 1972 Sherman sold Empire (pictured). Before he did so he had merged with a drugstore chain and relinquished 51 percent of the business. In doing so he triggered an expiration clause in the option providing for Winter and his siblings, which was dependent him having control of the company
In truth, Winter and Sherman were already ‘bound together’ by a dark secret. He just didn’t know it at the time.
When it came to light it destroyed their relationship and sparked the decade long-legal battle being waged to this day.
The seeds of the feud were sown back in 1951 when Sherman’s father, Herbert, died from a heart attack age 46.
Sherman was nine and Winter’s father, Louis Winter, stepped into the role as a surrogate father, partly because he and his wife, Beverley, didn’t think they could have children of their own.
In 1958 they adopted a son, Tim. Then, two years later, Beverly fell pregnant with Jeffery. In 1961 Kerry was born and in 1962 brother, Dana, followed.
Winter’s father Louis, a biochemist, was the founder of generic drug manufacturer, Empire Laboratories.
Winter recalled: ‘We lived in a mansion overlooking the Humber River. We were enrolled in a posh private school. He drove a Rolls Royce. He had two yachts. He was a self-made millionaire.’
Pictures of the family at the time show an enviable existence. But those golden days were short lived.
Beverly Winter was diagnosed with leukemia and in 1965, with her sons age between four and seven, the family braced itself for her death. Instead it was her husband who died first and suddenly from a heart attack that November, aged just 41.
Seventeen days later Beverly died. She was 31.
Winter said: ‘Barry had worked for my father at Empire Labs for a number of summers and he knew it was a cash cow.’
Three days after Beverly’s death, Sherman made a bid for the company and gave estate executors, the Royal Trust, just 24-hours to decide. The Trust declined.
A couple of years later Sherman and his then business partner, former high school friend, Joel Ulster, made another run for Empire.
This time he was successful – in large part because trustees were swayed by an option written into the purchase agreement that offered the four Winter orphans the opportunity to work for their father’s company at the age of 21 and to acquire five percent of the company two years later should they want it.
But in 1972 Sherman sold Empire. Before he did so he had merged with a drugstore chain and relinquished 51 percent of the business.
In doing so he triggered an expiration clause in the option providing for the orphans, which was dependent him having control of the company.
After his parents’ death, Winter’s childhood would prove abusive and damaging and though he has reconciled with his adoptive family, neither he nor his siblings (pictured in undated family photo) emerged unscathed
Winter and his brothers reconnected with Sherman (pictured in undated photo) in 1989. The wealthy businessman signed lines of credit contingent on them handing over the remainder of the inheritance left to them by their parents
Sherman maintained that the loss of control absolved him of any ‘fiduciary duty’ to them. He disappeared out of their lives and two years later parlayed the profits of Empire’s sale into founding Apotex.
Today, Winter said, his older cousin ‘never had any intention of honoring that option.’
Certainly he never told Martin and Carole Barkin, the couple who adopted the Winter orphans, that it existed.
Winter’s childhood would prove abusive and damaging and though he has reconciled with his adoptive family, neither he nor his siblings emerged unscathed.
Eldest brother Tim is an alcoholic, Jeffery has been diagnosed bi-polar, Winter is open about his struggles with addiction to heroin and crack and Dana, died of a heroin overdose at 33.
It was a chance encounter with a friend of their mother which saw Winter and his brothers reconnect with Sherman in 1989.
By then Sherman was an extremely wealthy businessman and he gave every appearance of wanting to help the cousins he’d lost touch with all those years before.
He bankrolled three of the brothers in business ventures. He paid visa cards, allowances, bought them homes, cottages, cars and speedboats. Only, in a detail they would later come to rue, Sherman didn’t actually ‘give’ them any of these things.
He signed lines of credit contingent on them handing over the remainder of the inheritance left to them by their parents.
At the time, twice-married Winter, was developing houses and losing himself to the drug addiction which very nearly killed him.
Sherman co-signed to millions of dollars of credit, mortgages and loans supposedly to help Winter expand his business and he provided him with $20, 000 – $30,000 a month.
Then, older brother Jeffery started asking questions about the sale of their father’s business and everything changed.
The siblings sued Royal Trust in 2001 for access to documents relating to the sale. In 2002 they discovered the option that Sherman had buried.
Winter reflected: ‘Either way he had a terrible end. He either killed his wife and hung himself or he was targeted and Honey was punched out in front of him and his last moments must have been horrific.’ Pictured: One of the Shermans’ bodies being removed from their home
Sherman was an atheist who only donated to largely Jewish causes because Honey chose to and it was a tax write off, and Winter said was an atheist who ‘couldn’t give a s*** about the State of Israel’. Pictured: The Shermans’ memorial service
On one document, Winter said, a handwritten note from a trustee who visited Beverly shortly before her death noted she was ‘visibly upset’ and, ‘worried that Barry is trying to steal the company from the children.’
The Winter siblings sued Sherman in 2006 for $500 million and again in 2007 for $1 billion. Only Kerry and younger brother Dana’s widow, Julia, continue the fight.
Today, Winter has conflicting feelings about Sherman. He admitted: ‘I looked at him as this wonderful man. When I met Barry I was messed up. He encouraged me to get clean.’
Winter developed such a close bond, he said, that he could swan through security at Apotex and sit in Sherman’s office where he would sit, ‘mesmerized’ as he listened to the older man doing business.
He said, ‘I felt at that time he would never lie to me.’
But, for all that, he recognized Sherman as a ‘kook’ with ‘a bolt missing,’ who seemed to have everything but took pleasure in nothing.
Sherman was an atheist who only donated to largely Jewish causes because Honey chose to and it was a tax write off, and Winter said was an atheist who ‘couldn’t give a s*** about the State of Israel’.
Winter said: ‘He couldn’t enjoy life. I asked him if there was anything in life he enjoyed. He said “making f***ing money.”‘
Yet he couldn’t bear to spend it. His favorite restaurants were McDonald’s and budget chain, Swiss Chalet – where he always ordered the special.
He drove a clapped-out old car, refused to buy a new television when his old one barely worked, bought cheap shoes and clothes and would sneak back into the theater when he went so that he could see a second movie for free.
In stark contrast, Winter said, Honey was rumored to have one of the world’s largest diamond collections.
The last time Winter spoke to Sherman other than in a lawyer’s office was a telephone call he made on learning about the existence of the option some 15 years ago.
Winter said: ‘It was a short phone call and I was emotional. I remember crying and I remember saying, “Barry you lied to me.”
‘He said, “I know.” I said, “Why did you lie so much to me?” And it broke my heart.’
Winter said of Sherman: ‘He couldn’t enjoy life. I asked him if there was anything in life he enjoyed. He said “making f***ing money”‘. Pictured: Bouquets of flowers left outside the dead couple’s mansion
Police have said they believe the couple were ‘targeted’. Pictured: The couple’s home where they were found dead by their realtor
Winter’s case against Sherman and Apotex was thrown out in September. But he is appealing that decision and has transferred the claim to Sherman and Honey’s estate.
There was a time when Winter thought he could forgive Sherman if only he made a donation in his late parents’ names and somehow commemorated Beverley and Louis Winter, on whose fortune Sherman built his own.
It is hard to believe that that alone could ever assuage the sense of injustice seared on Winter’s heart, but he admitted: ‘Sometimes I regret that I sued him. Sometimes I wish it never happened.
‘Even in this moment, sitting here talking to you, there’s love and there’s hate.
‘There’s missing this man I loved and respected and admired. But Barry abandoned me. I didn’t even know I had the opportunity to work for my father’s company. Maybe I would have stayed off drugs, maybe I would have had a different life.’
Such ‘what-ifs’ could drive a man crazy and perhaps, with Winter, they very nearly did.
But for all the unknowns he has no doubt about one thing: Sherman was capable of murder and wasn’t bound to his own life by anything that brought him joy.
Winter said: ‘If Barry Sherman hadn’t been an entrepreneur and a CEO he would have been a serial killer.’
He reflected: ‘Either way he had a terrible end. He either killed his wife and hung himself or he was targeted and Honey was punched out in front of him and his last moments must have been horrific.
‘My cousin did a terrible thing to me and my brothers. I often make a joke that Barry screwed a lot of people in his life and I was the first.
‘And it sounds harsh, it sounds callous but Barry Sherman got what he deserved.
‘This is a man who went through life decimating people.
‘But my feeling is he killed her. Barry did this. And all the tea in China doesn’t change that fact.’