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Desmond inquiry: psychiatrist says former soldier's suspicions were almost delusional

Last Updated Feb 26, 2021 at 2:08 pm EDT

PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. — An inquiry investigating why a former soldier killed his family and himself in 2017 heard from a psychiatrist today who said there was an aspect of Lionel Desmond’s life he could not figure out.

Anthony Njoku was working at the Operational Stress Injury Clinic in Fredericton in August 2015 when he first met the former corporal, who had been released from the military because of his ongoing struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Njoku testified that Desmond was irritable, distracted, distressed and preoccupied by intrusive thoughts that forced him to relive traumatic experiences he had endured as a combat soldier in Afghanistan in 2007.

The psychiatrist, however, says the former rifleman was actually more worried about his wife, Shanna, whom he suspected of wasting money and plotting against him — thoughts the psychiatrist described as suspicions bordering on delusions.

The psychiatrist, however, said he couldn’t determine whether Desmond’s anger toward his wife was the result of PTSD or the byproduct of a relationship breaking down.

On Jan. 3, 2017, Desmond used a semi-automatic rifle to kill his 31-year-old wife, their 10-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, and his 52-year-old mother, Brenda, inside the family’s rural home in eastern Nova Scotia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press