Ottawa

Inquest into murders of 3 women in Renfrew County coming up in early June

Nearly seven years after a man murdered three women in one of the worst instances of intimate partner violence in Canadian history, a coroner's inquest will be held to examine what happened, and will likely make recommendations to help prevent it from happening again.

Proceeding examining domestic violence in rural communities to begin June 6

From left to right, Anastasia Kuzyk, Nathalie Warmerdam and Carol Culleton were murdered in September 2015. (CBC News)

Nearly seven years after a man murdered three women in one of the worst instances of intimate partner violence in Canadian history, a coroner's inquest will be held to examine what happened, and will likely make recommendations to help prevent it from happening again.

The inquest will be held in June.

On Sept. 22, 2015, 66-year-old Carol Culleton, 36-year-old Anastasia Kuzyk and 48-year-old Nathalie Warmerdam were murdered by Basil Borutski at three separate locations in the sprawling Renfrew County area west of Ottawa.

He had known all of them.

The province announced in August 2019 that an inquest into the murders would be held at a future date, and the details have now been released.

The proceeding starts June 6 in the eastern Ontario city of Pembroke, the heart of Renfrew County. Leslie Reaume will preside, with Prabhu Rajan and Christine McGoey serving as inquest counsel.

Focus on domestic violence in rural settings

The inquest is expected to last 15 days and hear from about 30 witnesses at the Best Western Pembroke Inn and Conference Centre.

It will "focus on the dynamics of gender-based, intimate partner violence and femicide in rural communities," according to the inquest's document of scope.

Eight public policy issues to be explored include:

  1. Risk factors for intimate partner violence and femicide in rural communities.
  2. Challenges that victims face reporting violence and accessing protective and supportive services.
  3. The role of firearms in rural femicides and the perpetrator's access to firearms in this case.
  4. Borutski's history of violence, previous interactions with the justice system, risk factors, signs of escalating risk, and missed intervention opportunities.
  5. Police and justice system policies and practices relevant to intimate partner violence generally and specifically to the victims and perpetrator in this case.
  6. Barriers to safety planning including connectivity for electronic monitoring, notifications to victims when a perpetrator is at large, protocols for first responders, enforcing protective orders and self-protection efforts by victims.
  7. Community awareness and attitudes about intimate partner violence and femicide. The resources and tools communities need to prioritize victims' safety and respond effectively to escalating offenders.
  8. Alternatives to traditional criminal justice responses to intimate partner violence including restorative justice and public health models and well as wrap-around services for victims in crisis.

Witnesses will include relatives and friends, Renfrew County residents, law enforcement, service providers and others.

In 2017, Borutski was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 70 years, long after he is expected to die. He is now 64 years old.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristy Nease

Reporter

CBC Ottawa reporter Kristy Nease has covered news in the capital for nearly 15 years, and previously worked at the Ottawa Citizen. Get in touch: kristy.nease@cbc.ca

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