Desmond inquiry: therapist adds to long list of challenges that Lionel Desmond faced

Lionel Desmond (front row, far right) was part of the 2nd battalion, of the Royal Canadian Regiment, based at CFB Gagetown and shown in this 2007 handout photo taken in Panjwai district in between patrol base Wilson and Masum Ghar in Afghanistan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook-Trev Bungay

The inquiry investigating why a former soldier killed three family members and himself in 2017 heard testimony Friday from an occupational therapist who said Lionel Desmond had trouble controlling his anxiety and anger.

Julie Beauchesne was one of about 10 staff members at Ste. Anne’s Hospital in Montreal who provided treatment in 2016 to the former infantryman during an intensive, 11-week program that included group and individual therapy.

READ MORE: Desmond inquiry: social worker reveals details about former soldier’s family life

Beauchesne echoed previous testimony from other health practitioners who said Desmond showed classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

She says the former corporal had difficulty dealing with stress, particularly when it came to his strained relationship with his wife, Shanna, and their nine-year-old daughter, Aaliyah.

Click to play video: 'Inquiry learns about the mental decline of Lionel Desmond' Inquiry learns about the mental decline of Lionel Desmond
Inquiry learns about the mental decline of Lionel Desmond – Feb 19, 2021

As well, Beauchesne says Desmond had trouble being vulnerable, even though she says he knew he needed help and was determined to be a better father and husband.

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The hearing, which is being held in Port Hawkesbury, N.S., was cut short today because of technical difficulties with the video and audio feed from Montreal. It is scheduled to resume Tuesday with testimony from other health professionals.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021.

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