Live-in caregiver guilty of murdering senior
A 59-year-old woman has been found guilty in Longueuil court of killing the elderly wheelchair-bound woman she was caring for over a year and a half ago in Brossard.
Ellen Dennett was declared guilty of second degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison. At the common recommendation of the crown and Dennett's lawyer, she will have to serve the minimum ten years in prison before being eligible for parole.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Sophie Bourque ruled out the defence request for a manslaughter verdict after dismissing their argument that Dennett was provoked into pushing Kathleen Livingstone down the stairs and stabbing her multiple times on June 23, 2011 because she lost control and got angry with Livingstone for continuously criticizing and needling her.
Judge Bourque said that was not enough to lead a reasonable person to lose self control and do what Dennett did, adding that Dennett had a great deal of control to watch a 78-year-old woman tumble down the stairs, go to the kitchen again to get another knife after the first one broke, conceal the body, steal the victim's credit card and stay at a hotel before her arrest.
The victim's son Robert Livingstone let out a loud cry of joy and relief, shouting, "Aye!" in a thick Scottish accent upon the judge's ruling. Friends of Livingstone also could be heard expressing their satisfaction with the judge's decision.
"Totally uncontrollable, relief," Livingstone told reporters, explaining his behaviour in court.
Livingstone's family was first touched by tragedy in 1972 when his sister Linda was among the 37 people who died in the Bluebird Café fire.
"Forty years ago, my family had lost faith in this justice system. Today, there is hope. Yes, there is proof there is justice in this country," Livingstone said, his voice choked with emotion.
Dennett had testified that her anger was directed at Robert Livingstone who she accused of deceiving and lying to her after an online relationship that eventually brought her to Canada from California, something the judge addressed but which Robert Livingstone denies.
Sam Gaskell, a friend of Kathleen Livingstone, said she's glad the judge didn't accept Dennett's explanation.
"Maybe she was angry. And? I've been angry in my life as well and I'm not here for murder. We're adults and we need to act accordingly," Gaskell said, also visibly emotional after the ruling.
When asked for final words, Dennett said she accepts responsibility for her actions and will serve her time in respect of both families, apologizing for what she had done and the pain she said she caused them.
Photo of Kahtleen Livingstone: Susan Gaskell