The result of following hospital and police procedure is that Sherry Heron is dead. And so is her mother, and so is her husbandLee Lakeman, the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres.
Vancouver. The Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres calls on the RCMP to accept the responsibility they share with the Mission Memorial Hospital for their refusal to protect Sherry Heron, her family and her husband. The very latest information indicates that Sherry Heron had explained the danger and had directly asked for protection for herself and her family. Today the Mission RCMP announced that they plan on conducting an “independent” review into the matter of the restraining order. CASAC insists that any review must answer why neither the hospital nor the police, both public institutions, did what was possible to prevent these three deaths.
In a televised interview aired May 22, 2003, on CBC News World Morning with Alison Smith, Corporal LeMaître, spokesperson for the RCMP, denied the information brought forward by Lee Lakeman of the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres that Sherry and her family had revealed to the hospital and to the police that her husband had guns, that he was very controlling, that her marriage had been like “living under house arrest”, that her husband’s temper was to be feared and that he had threatened her and her family. LeMaître claimed on air, on behalf of the RCMP, in spite of the affidavit now available, that Sherry Heron revealed no history of criminal activity, no history of violence and no reason to fear.
The statements made by Sherry Heron would have alerted any transition house worker in the country that she was in danger from this man. These two public institutions had a responsibility to act on the knowledge that he had weapons, that she was afraid of leaving him. It is public information that women who are leaving their abusive husbands are at high risk. The police and the hospital could have and should have acted on that understanding and Sherry’s request for helpLee Lakeman, the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres
In response to the latest information from the RCMP in Mission, Ms Lakeman concludes, “The RCMP have damaged their credibility in this case. We cannot be satisfied with the police reviewing themselves. And any review must answer the question: why did the hospital and the RCMP fail to prevent these murders?.”
For more information or to arrange for an interview, contact:
Lee Lakeman, BC and Yukon representative, CASAC