Domestic Violence Death Review Committee — (Chief Coroner of Ontario)

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Chief Coroner of Ontario

Case DVDRC-2011-24 OCC file numbers: 2007-13863

The 26-year-old male victim was killed after being stabbed by the female perpetrator, his 43-year-old common-law wife.

The couple had been arguing over a two week period and the tension had peaked approximately four days prior to the incident. The victim had reconnected with a past girlfriend and had indicated he planned to leave his relationship with the perpetrator. The perpetrator was aware that the victim was planning on moving out.

The perpetrator had a history of depression and alcoholism. Records indicate that she had a history of cutting her wrists and stress counselling had been provided. A few months prior to the homicide, the perpetrator had relocated after following the victim to a new community. She had cut her wrists two weeks prior to the homicide and had been prescribed sedative and antidepressant medications after visiting a family physician. She had been binge drinking and not eating for several days.

The perpetrator was not employed. She had four children from previous relationships and two of the children (daughters aged 14 and 11) resided with the couple. The perpetrator expressed both love and hate for the victim. The daughters stated that the perpetrator had told the victim on several occasions that she was going to kill him. Four weeks prior to the homicide, neighbours had heard the perpetrator threaten the victim with death.

On October 29, 2007 at approximately 7:00 p.m., the victim made a call to 9-1-1, telling the operator that his girlfriend was out of control and had been drinking. He indicated that children were present in the house. The perpetrator was being loud and the operator asked what she was doing. The victim indicated that the perpetrator was ripping his shirt and then the phone connection was interrupted. The victim called back on his cellular phone because the perpetrator had cut the landline. The operator heard the victim say, “let go of me.” When questioned by the operator, the victim indicated that nobody had been injured.

Police attended the residence. The police report indicated that the victim had said the perpetrator had been drinking and was verbally aggressive and confrontational. The victim told police that there had not been any violence or threat of violence but that he did not want it to get violent. The girls described their mom (the perpetrator) as being very depressed and they were not sure what would happen next. The victim indicated to police that he could not take the perpetrator’s drinking and irrational behavior anymore and that he would be separating from her. The police report does not indicate if a referral to victim services was offered.

Police removed the perpetrator from the home and took her to the nearby residence of an acquaintance. The police contacted the girls’ biological father, but since he lived several hours away, he was unable to come and get them that evening. The police planned a “priority fax CAS request” the next morning.

The perpetrator had apparently told the acquaintance’s boyfriend that she had ripped the victim’s shirt. The police however, did not document any injuries on the couple. According to witnesses interviewed following the homicide, there were signs of injury on both the victim and perpetrator. The daughters stated that their mother told police that it was the victim that had caused her bruises, but the daughters claimed that the injuries resulted from her falling down while intoxicated.

The perpetrator returned to her own residence at 2:55 a.m. on October 30, 2007. The victim was asleep on the couch and awakened when the perpetrator entered. The victim apparently broke some beers that the perpetrator was attempting to drink and told her to go to bed.

The perpetrator went to her room, but about 30 minutes later, was heard by the girls to be saying that she needed strength and was going to kill the victim and stab him in the heart. The daughters called 9-1-1 as their mother had a knife. The perpetrator proceeded to stab and kill the victim prior to arrival of police.