Soldier in highrise murder-suicide suffered from PTSD, obituary says — (The Globe and Mail)

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The Globe and Mail

MIKE HAGER, VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015 5:37PM EST

The family of a former soldier who killed his pregnant wife before killing himself in Toronto says he had battled post-traumatic stress disorder.

Toronto police say Robert Giblin, 43, repeatedly stabbed Precious Charbonneau, 33, before they both fell to their deaths from their highrise apartment in the centre of the city last Sunday. Mr. Giblin, who served two tours in Afghanistan, married Ms. Charbonneau in November. She was believed to be nine weeks pregnant.

“He was proud of his service for our country both in the navy and the air force. Sadly, Rob suffered from PTSD,” an online obituary published Thursday stated. “He sought and underwent treatment* and put the pieces of his life together.

“When he was well, he was overjoyed to have met and marry his love Precious Charbonneau.”

Mr. Giblin’s family said he was a “was a caring involved uncle, a role model, and foremost a playmate.” In lieu of flowers, the family is asking people to donate to either the Royal Canadian Legion, the PTSD Association or any other association that works on mental health issues.

A recent Globe investigation found at least 48 active-duty soldiers and six veterans had taken their lives after returning from the Afghanistan operation. This number was determined by poring over more than a decade’s worth of death notices and through an Access to Information request to National Defence.

The Canadian Forces released an updated number soon after The Globe’s investigation was published, raising the suicide count to at least 59 military members and veterans – more than one-third of the number of soldiers who died in the war.

Since The Globe’s series of stories, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has instructed the ministers of Veterans Affairs and National Defence to make a new suicide-prevention strategy a priority. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, a veteran of the Afghanistan war, has directed the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance, to examine the military’s mental-health services and efforts to reduce suicides.

One friend, who didn’t want to be identified for fear of upsetting both families, told The Canadian Press he met Mr. Giblin in 1999 when they were just beginning their military careers and deployed to the Persian Gulf on HMCS Regina.

His friend said Mr. Giblin enjoyed his career in the military, first with the Navy before switching to the Air Force where he eventually became an intelligence operator. He said he handled his two tours in Afghanistan with aplomb and never appeared to suffer any ill effects from the wars.

He said Mr. Giblin had a tight group of military friends who have been talking to each other to answer questions that may never be answered.

The friend says Mr. Giblin was in good spirits when they last spoke shortly after his wedding.

He says Giblin seemed ecstatic to have found love as a 43-year-old.

“He found what was his perfection, he was going to have a baby and he said his life was complete,” the friend said in an interview from the Ottawa area.

“These were two people who were sickeningly in love, getting ready for Christmas and getting ready for a baby,” he said. “He was happy last time I spoke with him, but I guess we didn’t know everything about him.”

Mr. Giblin posted “Happiness is” on Facebook along with a photo of the couple snuggling just 17 hours before police were called to their apartment building.

A funeral service for Mr. Giblin is planned Monday morning at the Bancroft Community Church in Sudbury, Ont. No visitation is scheduled.

With a report from The Canadian Press

* In North America “treatment” for vets with PSTD means psychoactive drugs, often more than one antidepressants and sometimes an antipsychotic