Nunavut mother says she does not remember alleged attack on children, court hears
Trial for woman charged with second-degree murder continues in Iqaluit
WARNING: This story contains details that some readers may find disturbing.
A Nunavut woman charged with one count of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with a 2016 knife attack on her three children told an Iqaluit courtroom on Wednesday that she did not remember committing the alleged attack.
The trial of the 31 year-old woman, which began in Coral Harbour on Jan. 27 and adjourned on Feb. 6, continued in Iqaluit at the Nunavut Court of Justice on Wednesday, Feb. 12.
Second-degree murder is an intentional, unplanned killing that carries a sentence of life in prison with no parole for 10 years.
The woman’s name is protected under a publication ban ordered by the Nunavut Court of Justice.
So far 31 witnesses have testified, including police officers and health centre staff.
The woman, who has cropped black hair and glasses, wore a thin, white sweater with a hood. Having removed her shoes, she took the stand in her white socks.
This is the first time the woman has taken the stand during the trial. Defence lawyer Sarah White questioned the woman from around 9:30 on Wednesday morning and ended just before 3 p.m., with a couple of breaks in between. Nunavut Justice Susan Charlesworth is the trial’s judge.
The woman testified what she said she remembered from the day of the alleged attack, which took place on May 12, 2016 and resulted in the death of her six-year-old child.
The other two children—one aged four years and one aged four months—recovered from the stab wounds after being medevaced to Winnipeg.
Police arrested the accused woman on May 12, 2016, in her home after responding to a call.
None of the allegations facing the woman have been proven in court.
The woman testified that she stabbed herself, a fact she said she did remember, and was also medevaced to Winnipeg that day.
At several points throughout her testimony, the woman cried out and sobbed, sometimes burying her face in her hands and reaching for tissues. She often sipped coffee from a bright purple metallic travel mug.
The woman told the court that she woke up on May 12, 2016, and felt as if “something was going to happen” when she looked at her common-law partner that morning.
“The look in his eyes, the way his [face] was, the way he poked me, I knew there was something going to happen. And I knew I would be…,” the woman trailed off.
She testified that she thought her partner had left the house that morning to visit a friend.
The woman’s partner testified during the portion of the trial that took place in Coral Harbour, according to the court registry.
Throughout the woman’s testimony, she told the court that her partner had been physically and verbally abusive to her over the course of their relationship. She said that she tried to leave her partner multiple times.
“I fell for his words all the time,” she told the court.
The woman also testified that before the birth of her children, she had attempted suicide on two occasions.
After her third child was born, the woman said she would suddenly start crying “out of the blue.”
She also testified that she had never been physical with her children, except for occasionally spanking them when they misbehaved.
The woman testified that her youngest child was on antibiotics at the time of the alleged attack. On that morning, she prepared the antibiotics to give to her child, she told the court.
“I thought I gave [child’s name] his antibiotics that morning,” she said.
“What’s the next thing that you remember?” White asked.
“Blood,” the woman answered after a pause.
The woman told the court she had no memory of stabbing her children.
The woman went on to describe what she remembered after the alleged attack, including her oldest child fainting on the couch, her youngest child face down on the floor and her other middle child walking around in the living room.
The woman said she then called her biological mother and the RCMP for help.
From there, she and her children were rushed to the local health centre, the woman testified.
White asked the woman when she had found out that her oldest child had died.
“Before I got sent out,” the woman replied, referring to her medevac,
With the defence finished their questioning of the woman, the Crown’s cross-examination of the woman is expected to begin today at 10 a.m. and carry on into Friday.
A psychologist will likely testify for the defence at a time yet to be determined.