WARNING: The details of this story are graphic and may be disturbing to some readers.
An Edmonton man who killed two young children and violently assaulted their mother was back in court Thursday for his sentencing hearing.
The man, who was 29 years old at the time of the crime in December 2018, cannot be identified because of a court-ordered publication ban.
The ban also includes the identity of the children and their mother. Court heard she was attacked by the offender with a weapon when she tried to find her babies.
Originally, police were called to the apartment in the King Edward Park neighbourhood because of a domestic violence emergency.
Officers first found the mother suffering from serious injuries.
Then, three hours later, police were alerted to a man trying to break into a nearby garage, acting erratically — he turned out to be their suspect.
Later that night, investigators discovered the bodies of the couple’s two little kids, wrapped in garbage bags in a bedroom closet.
The victims were three years old and seven months old.
Court heard the man is the biological father of one of the children, and was in a position of trust and acted as a father to both children.
One had been stabbed 21 times and the other was stabbed 16 times. An autopsy revealed the three-year-old toddler also had defensive wounds to her hands and arms.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, the mother wrote: “This has torn me up physically, emotionally and I have trouble coping. I experience trouble sleeping.
“I am afraid to go to sleep at night. I have nightmares about him, I have nightmares about him chasing me.”
The statement went on to say the mother cries every day and that she’s been diagnosed with PTSD.
“Now that my (kids) are gone, I don’t exist. A big part of me is missing,” she wrote.
“I don’t want to be here, he took everything from me.”
Court heard the man had high levels of methamphetamine in his system when he was arrested, but it was never proven when the drugs were taken, whether it was before the crimes were committed or after.
The man has been in custody since his arrest.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder, aggravated assault and breach of probation.
At the time of the crime, the offender had recently been released from custody after he attacked the victims’ mother.
Sources told Global News at one point, she fled the relationship, seeking safety at a women’s shelter before eventually returning to the relationship.
Neighbours said yelling and arguing was commonly heard in the couple’s apartment unit.
In her victim impact statement, the children’s mother addressed her unstable relationship with the accused.
“Domestic violence doesn’t belong behind closed doors, it shouldn’t be hidden. When it’s hidden, there are horrible results,” she wrote.
“I hope anyone listening who is being abused will ask for help. My (kids) were beautiful, I loved them and I loved being a mom.”
Second-degree murder comes with an automatic life sentence, however the Crown says the offender should not be allowed to seek parole for 17 years.
“His jail time will never bring my (kids) back, but he can’t hurt anyone else,” the mother said.
The defence will present its rationale on sentencing on Friday.