EDMONTON — The family of an Alberta woman who was shot by a former boyfriend in a murder-suicide wants the provincial government to call a public inquiry.
Colleen Sillito, who was 46, was killed last Friday in Fort Saskatchewan, northeast of Edmonton.
Police say her body and that of Paul Jacob, who was 54, were found on a driveway.
Her family says Sillito was a victim of escalating threats and violence and had obtained a peace bond from the RCMP that was violated many times.
According to court documents, a year-long peace bond was issued in June, restricting Jacob from going to the Fort Saskatchewan home unless accompanied by RCMP. The bond was a result of a charge of uttering a threat to cause bodily harm. Jacob was never convicted of that charge.
In July, Jacob violated the bond and in September he pleaded guilty to breaching the bond, which was to abstain from communicating directly or indirectly with Sillito.
Jonathan Sillito, her brother, says an inquiry would help determine if her case was handled properly by police.
He says any lessons learned could help prevent other women from needlessly losing their lives.
The family’s statement, which was released to the media, is posted below:
“This week we lost our mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. Colleen shone brightly in this world. Her depth of presence can be sensed in the open, authentic expressions of people she photographed. She adored her five children and supported them to be authentic, creative, and loving. As our sister, she was the one we called when we had any kind of news or needed advice—Colleen was instantly interested and attentive. Photography was her livelihood but she was also a videographer, potter, cellist, a children’s art teacher, and a yoga teacher. She loved rock climbing and CrossFit and new challenges. She made the world more beautiful, more intelligent, more courageous.
We are heartbroken by her tragic and violent death. And we are filled with questions about how such a horror could happen. More than anything now, we hope her death can help others. We hope other women will not have to lose their lives so needlessly and other children will not have to lose their mothers so horribly. We hope that her death is not something that fades from the public mind once it has passed through the news cycle.
Colleen was a victim of a series of escalating threats and violence. She obtained a Peace Bond and contacted the Fort Saskatchewan RCMP many times when the bond was violated.
Colleen’s tragic death underscores the urgent need for the Alberta government to act. Alberta leads the country in the number of domestic violence homicides and homicide-suicides. Our family calls upon the Alberta government, Shannon Phillips, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women and Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General to address the urgent need to hold public inquiries into domestic violence homicides and homicide-suicides. We will be requesting that the government convene a public inquiry to examine the circumstances under which Colleen’s tragic death occurred and the urgent need for informed intervention to prevent domestic violence deaths in the future.
We will always remember how Colleen made us feel: the dignity of being human. Please let her, let us, have the dignity that comes with truth.”
With files from Global News.