British Columbia

Inquest hears of poor communication before fatal arson

A coroner's inquest into the death of a B.C. woman whose house was burned down by her mentally ill son has heard there was little communication between health professionals and the police.
Blake Salemink, right, who suffers from schizoaffective disorder, set the fire that killed his mother Colette, left. (CBC)

A coroner's inquest into the death of a B.C. woman whose house was burned down by her mentally ill son has heard there was little communication between health professionals and the police.

That meant mental health experts with the power to decide whether Blake Salemink should be out in the community did not know he had assaulted and threatened his mother.

Colette Marie Salemink, 59, died in April 2010 when her son burnt down her home in Coquitlam.

Blake Salemink, 23, who has a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, was later determined to be not criminally responsible because of his mental illness.

A coroner's inquest has heard Blake Salemink, who was on extended leave from a psychiatric hospital, assaulted his mother in November of 2009 and threatened to kill her days before the fire.

But the man's psychiatrist, Dr. Roham Ramsundhar, says he didn't know about either incident, and if he had known, he would have had Salemink brought in to re-assess his release conditions.

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