Wednesday, January 03, 2018

What became of rowing champ Tom Ozslansky who killed four at the Cote de Neiges Plaza?

Tom Ozslansky
Thomas Ozslansky was a 21-year-old Canadian rowing champion living with his parents at 4413 Gatineau who became a killing machine after ingesting LSD.
   Ozslansky was born in Hungary in 1951 and came to Montreal at a young age. He would go on to become a rowing champion whose feats are still listed on rowing websites.
   He ordered four restaurant employees into a walk-in freezer at the Ben Ben Ash delicatessen in the Cote de Neiges Plaza at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday June 25, 1972 and shot them dead.
   Spiros Mayrelatos, 18, Sender Nincowcz, 54, Benjamin Earle Segal, 18, and Antonios Alefragis, 22 all died tragically and senselessly.
   Ozslandsky also shot a security guard but he survived and called police.
   A pair of cops from the Night Squad gingerly searched the mall to see if he was still in hiding but Ozslansky (sometimes spelled Ozslanszky) had fled.
   Ozslansky, a former security guard at the mall, stole around $3,5000 in cash from the restaurant and then dumped his weapon in the Back River.
   He entered a Laval police station a few hours later to recount an incoherent story about the Ben Ash deli.
   Police arrested him.
   He confessed, telling them that he had been feeling nervous after a rowing race and a friend gave him LSD to relax.
   This triggered off his psychosis and he lashed out after he imagined everybody was laughing at him.
   He carried a gun, he explained, to protect himself from drug dealers who had previously beaten him up.
   Ozslansky was sentenced to four counts of life in prison but reports were not clear as to whether they would be served concurrently.
   Corrections Canada tells Coolopolis that they do not have him on file, which appears to indicate that he is not in prison.
    Indeed Ozslansky has not even been mentioned in media, it would seem, since he was sentenced in early 1973.
   His lawyer attempted to sway the court with a plea akin to temporary insanity, arguing that he had acted while undergoing hallucinations. This prompted Conservative MP Reg Stackhouse to rise in the House of Commons on Dec. 3, 1973 and urge the Parole Board to not to release him early. 
    And while he might have changed his name, the Quebec Official Gazette and Le Devoir do not appear to record any such application.
   If Tom Ozslansky is still alive, he'd be about 66 years old.
   It might be noted that Ozslansky was not the only Hungarian immigrant to Montreal from the early 1950s who committed a high profile murder. Colman Losonczy killed two when he attacked the Canadian embassy in Vienna in August 1969. And Francois Schirm killed a man on August 29, 1964 in a terrorist robbery.

See also:
  If one sought to list the most terrible things that ever happened in Cote des Neiges, this would likely rank number two behind the Polytechnique Massacre, and in front of the Harvey's double murder across the street on October 28, 1996.

Stories like this fill the must-read Montreal: 375 Tales of Eating, Drinking, Living and Loving, order your paper copy here now or buy it at Indigo or Paragraph.



  1. I recall that the Ben Ash Delicatessen was located in the basement level of the CdN Plaza which, by the way opened in late 1968 after years of delays.

    The original project was to include high-rise apartments in the rear where the current outdoor parking lot exists today and almost none of the original shops and services in the plaza are there anymore. Ben's itself closed down soon after the crime.

    In 1996 a strangely similar murder occurred in the Harvey's restaurant across in the street. See:

  2. So Ozslansky lived at 4311 Gatineau. This is right next door to what was for years the former Rosedale Funeral Home at 4911 Cote des Neiges Road--later demolished and replaced by the current Chateau Decelles high-rise apartment building. I once knew someone who had a temporary job at that funeral home. He told us gruesome stories of retrieving decaying, dead bodies for preparation there. Ugh! You have to be a special kind of person to perform a job such as that. :-(

  3. I went to school with Benny (St. Laurent High). He was a sports fanatic who never bothered any one. I remember him telling me before the tragedy how happy he was to get this summer job

  4. Incidentally, Plaza Cote des Neiges opened on October 3, 1968 after years of promises going back as far back as 1957 and probably even earlier than that. I remember the long-standing wooden fence along Cote des Neiges Road upon which was scrawled "Future Shopping Center" or something similar with the open field behind it.

    Original plans were to include high-rise apartments in the rear where today's outdoor parking lot exists. Thankfully the high-rises were never built, possibly due to predictions of the inevitable increased road traffic in the neighbourhood, particularly with regards to the nearby Northmount High School (since renamed Ecole Secondaire La Voie).

    See the Gazette of October 3, 1968, pages 33 through 36.

    Not sure if the plaza's current management plans a 50th anniversary celebration or if they are even aware of the aforementioned facts.

    Cote des Neiges Plaza had an extensive upgrade back in the '90s, particularly with respect to the theatres. Even today in 2018, renovations are taking place.

    Not the best mall in town but definitely adequate and comprehensive regarding its services.


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