News release

Inquiry Recommended into the Deaths of Lionel Desmond and his Family

Dr. Matt Bowes, Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Examiner, today, Dec. 28, recommended an inquiry into the deaths of Lionel Desmond and his family under the Fatality Investigations Act.

“There have been many questions raised by the family and members of the community relating to how this tragedy could have happened and whether anything could have been done to prevent these deaths,” said Dr. Bowes. “I have reflected carefully on this case, I have reviewed the circumstances of these deaths, and I have had the privilege of speaking with some members of the Desmond family. I believe that an inquiry could help us to learn from this tragedy and, in so doing, I am hopeful that we may prevent future deaths in similar circumstances.”

An inquiry would examine the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Mr. Desmond, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, his wife, Shanna, his 10-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, and his mother, Brenda, who were killed in their home in Upper Big Tracadie, Guysborough County, on Jan. 3, 2017.

“Our thoughts continue to be with the family at this difficult time,” said Justice Minister and Attorney General Mark Furey. “I thank Dr. Bowes for his review of this matter and will be acting on his recommendation in the new year.”

The terms of reference and the appointment of a judge to oversee the inquiry will be announced in the new year.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Matt Bowes, is recommending an inquiry into the deaths of Lionel Desmond and his family.

Mr. Desmond, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, killed his wife, daughter, mother, and then himself in their Upper Big Tracadie home in Guysborough County almost a year ago.

Dr. Bowes made the recommendation to Justice Minister and Attorney General Mark Furey, today, December 28th.

Mr. Furey said the terms of reference for the inquiry will be announced in the new year.

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