‘A prisoner in her own home’: court hears home of accused mass shooter’s ex-wife vandalized
The home of Kathy Brittain, the ex-wife of accused mass shooter John Brittain, has been vandalized and she feels like a “prisoner in her own home,” court heard on Wednesday.
John Brittain, 68, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder after a quadruple homicide in Penticton on April 15.
The victims — Rudi Winter, Barry and Susan Wonch, and Darlene Knippelberg — were all neighbours of Kathy Brittain on Cornwall Drive in Penticton.
Lawyers appeared in Penticton provincial court on Wednesday to discuss future scheduling of a preliminary hearing.
WATCH: (May 2019) Crown counsel requests no-contact order barring alleged Penticton shooter from contacting ex-wife
Family members of the four shooting victims packed into the gallery, as they have during every court appearance since the tragedy unfolded. One woman broke into tears.
During the hearing, the Crown renewed its application for a no-contact order between John Brittain and his ex-wife, as she may appear as a witness for the Crown.
“It is Crown’s position that to maintain the integrity of the investigation and the evidence at this time requires the no-contact between the two of them to remain in place,” said prosecutor Andrew Vandersluys.
Defence counsel Paul McMurray once again opposed the application, arguing contact between the accused and his ex-wife would not hamper investigative efforts.
McMurray told the court that Kathy Brittain has been isolated in the community since the shootings and relies on John Brittain for financial and emotional support.
“Because of her former relationship with Mr. Brittain and (because) this matter arises out of an ongoing series of issues between Ms. Brittain and neighbours who include the deceased and deceased member’s families, she has become even more isolated and ostracized,” McMurray said.
READ MORE: RCMP statement on Penticton shooting spree
Court heard Kathy Brittain’s home was vandalized two to three weeks ago, resulting in a substantial amount of damage totalling $10,000.
McMurray said an insurance claim is pending and someone is facing criminal charges in the vandalism.
WATCH: (April 2019) ‘The tenant everybody would want’ — landlord of Penticton shooting suspect
Sources told Global News at the time that Brittain’s ex-wife had a string of disputes and grievances with her neighbours.
Police have not indicated a motive in the fatal shootings but confirmed John Brittain knew all of his alleged victims.
“Ms. Brittain has become more isolated and a prisoner in her own home,” McMurray said. “Ms. Brittain has become even more emotionally fragile and isolated.”
WATCH: Penticton Shooting — RCMP update on the arrest of John Brittain
McMurray said that while the couple were divorced at the time of the shootings, John Brittain frequented her home, “lived there time to time” and would assist with landscaping.
The judge approved the no-contact order, saying it was still “early days,” and the case was adjourned to August 14.
Brittain worked as an engineer with the City of Penticton from 2011 to 2016 and was a part-time civil engineer at private firm Ecora at the time of the incident.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
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