Fulton Family Letter Condems Inaction of BC Mental Health System

The family of a 12-year-old autistic boy killed one year ago when his bipolar neighbour stabbed him in the neck with a kitchen knife spoke out this week, questioning the “common sense” of B.C.’s mental health system.

Kimberly Noyes, 43, was found last week to be not criminally responsible in the slaying of John Fulton at her Grand Forks, B.C., home in August 2009.

The following is the complete text of the Fulton family’s letter:

To begin, our family would like to thank the community of Grand Forks, Const. Bell and our victim service worker Catherine Riddle for their overwhelming support and kindness. Words cannot express the loss our family has suffered, nor the horror of having to do it in such a public way.

We have heard repeatedly that the mental health system has let Ms. Noyes down. We feel it wasn’t Noyes that was let down by the system but rather our family and John.

From testimony given over the last few weeks it is quite clear that Noyes was a threat to the community and a danger to children. Any layman can see that there was a clear history of violence and homicidal delusions, yet she was released back into the community over and over again.

If this woman was a pedophile she would not have allowed her near children. Even though she was clearly a threat to children she was allowed back into a low income family unit without giving any warning to the families that lived there.

This woman knew she was ill. The local RCMP, mental health workers, psychiatrists, her doctor, and her family knew she was ill; and despite her clearly disturbing behaviour the months before John’s death, no one thought to hospitalize her. Where was the common sense? After multiple forced hospitalizations, a history of violence, a history of going off medications, threats uttered about harming children . . . no one in authority could see a downhill spiral leading to her acting out on her delusions.

Our family is not suggesting that people who struggle with mental illness should be locked away from society. We have dear friends who have struggled with depression and mental illness, however, when someone is uttering threats about sacrificing children or making homicidal comments we believe that the government, namely mental health should be charged with protecting the rights of the general public rather than those of the individual. We would go as far as to say that people who have had these types of delusions would rather be hospitalized than to hurt a child.

The loss of this beautiful child has been devastating to our family. The way in which he was taken from us was unimaginable. The pain we feel will take years to lessen, but will never be fully gone.

This senseless crime was completely avoidable. Noyes’ actions were completely deplorable but mental health’s inactions are equally so.

Accused Killer: was deemed not a ‘significant threat’ and released by the Review Board

Alexander Lawrence Laglace is charged with the second-degree murder of Tammy-Lynn Cordone in Vancouver’s Lighthouse Park in May of 2009… just months after being released.

The BRITISH COLUMBIA REVIEW BOARD held the review on December 8,2008 and the final order was signed on January 7, 2009, ruling that “we nonetheless conclude that Mr. Laglace currently does not pose a significant threat of grave harm such as warrants our ongoing jurisdiction over him.”

The BRITISH COLUMBIA REVIEW BOARD months earlier in March of 2008, had seemed to arrive at a different conclusion finding:

Note I have edited for brevity… please utilize full report for accuracy.

[ 24 ] When the accused last was before the Board on August 9, 2007, the Board
observed that the index offence of arson was serious and had the potential to lead to catastrophic results. The Board noted the accused’s record for and history of possessing weapons. The Board was concerned by the accused’s antisocial attitudes and was troubled by the incident of 2006 when he kicked another patient in the head as punishment. The accused’s attitude to continuing substance use was found to increase his risk.

[ 25 ] a period of just over four months, the accused’s behaviour has demonstrated that the panel’s concerns were justified.  Once in the community under conditional discharge he continued to abuse substances which by his own admission amounted to using cocaine every two to three days in addition to periodic marijuana and alcohol use. The accused found himself in serious trouble on no less than three occasions within a time span of approximately 2 months. He was alternately robbed or attacked at late hours near the Surrey sky train. There were multiple complaints of intimidating and threatening behaviour. The accused was eventually evicted from his accommodation for threatening behaviour. When returned to FPH the accused was found to have a six-inch box cutter in his possession.

[ 26 ] the accused’s combination of substance abuse and antisocial behaviours
such as loan sharking left him at high risk to intimidate others and wind up in dangerous confrontations.

[ 27 ] The risk of the accused becoming involved in some dispute or confrontation while in possession of a knife or other weapon and while under the influence of drugs is real and indeed foreseeable. In such circumstances the possibility of violence is equally foreseeable.

[ 29 ] We conclude that the evidence continues to establish that the accused is a
significant threat to public safety.

West Vancouver police have identified the woman murdered in Lighthouse Park as Tammi-Lynn Louise Cordone, 43, of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Her family may disagree with the BRITISH COLUMBIA REVIEW BOARD conclusion of “not a significant threat”.