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Guilt, anger, depression: Loved ones reveal toll of Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s crimes

As Elizabeth Wettlaufer was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of eight seniors, the loved ones of her victims had their chance to voice the stress, guilt, and pain the former nurse’s actions have caused.

“Finding out (my mother) was killed by a huge injection of medication she did not need broke my heart,” said Sandy Millard, whose 87-year-old mother Gladys Millard died in 2011.

“I hardly sleep at night and feel exhausted.”

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READ MORE: Ontario to hold public inquiry into Elizabeth Wettlaufer nursing home murders

Wettlaufer has admitted to injecting patients with insulin with the intent to kill them, in 14 cases that stretched from 2007 to 2016. Wettlaufer was eventually charged with eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault. On June 1, she pleaded guilty to all charges.

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David AJ Silcox, whose father James Silcox was murdered by Wettlaufer in August 2007, said the former nurse’s actions have taken a serious toll on him.

“Psychologically I feel a great deal of pain and guilt,” he told the court. “I simply feel guilty for not being able to protect my father as he had protected me.”

READ MORE: What we know about the Woodstock nurse charged with killing 8 nursing home residents

The victim’s granddaughter, Jane Silcox, said the case has driven a wedge between family members.

“It has torn us apart.”

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“This murder, this break in trust this terrible event has turned siblings against each other, broken up our family and caused extreme stress and heart break (sic) in all of us.”

James Silcox, shown above in a family handout photo, was killed by Elizabeth Wettlaufer in 2007.
James Silcox, shown above in a family handout photo, was killed by Elizabeth Wettlaufer in 2007. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

Laura Jackson, friend of victim Maurice Granat, 84, said she lost a “much-needed father figure,” when “Moe” passed away.

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“Moe’s passing left a void in my life … It started with a depression for me that was so overwhelming it caused physical sickness that eventually led to the loss of my job,” Jackson wrote.

“There will always be [an] empty place that Moe’s loss has caused.”

Colin Matheson described the guilt of knowing that the life of his “sweet, kind and gentle spirited” 95-year-old grandmother, Heather Matheson, had been taken by Wettlaufer.

“Why didn’t I save her?” he wrote in his victim impact statement.

READ MORE: Elizabeth Wettlaufer, charged in deaths of 8 seniors, once fired over medication errors: documents

The family of Mary Zurawinski said they had to “begin the grieving process all over again” after learning their young-at-heart loved one had been deliberately killed.

“A lady, who at 96 years of age, still enjoyed looking her best; complete with lipstick, jewellery and nail polish,” the family’s joint statement said.

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“We, the entire family, have all suffered emotionally, mentally, socially and physically as a result of this crime.”

WATCH: Ex-nurse pleads guilty to 8 counts of first-degree murder

Ex-nurse pleads guilty to 8 counts of first-degree murder
Ex-nurse pleads guilty to 8 counts of first-degree murder

Deanna and Donald Tuck wrote of their friend, victim Maureen Pickering, 79, who they call “a very intelligent and elegant lady.” They detail their difficult decision to place their good friend, who was struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, “in a good care home.”

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“We feel terrible guilt. We put our friend in a place where her life was taken,” they wrote.

They hope the case will prompt systemic change.

“While we pray for justice we also pray for better health care of our elderly population in the future.”

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You can read all the victim impact statements in their entirety in the document below.

— With files from the Canadian Press