An inquiry investigating why a former soldier killed three family members and himself in 2017 is hearing today from a forensic psychiatrist who conducted a psychological autopsy on Lionel Desmond.
Dr. Scott Theriault, who works at the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth, N.S., says he encountered discrepancies when interviewing people who knew Desmond before he joined the military and after he served in Afghanistan and was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Theriault says a family member told him Desmond had enjoyed a stable, happy childhood, but the doctor said that information stood in contrast to the records of medical professionals, who said Desmond complained about experiencing mental and physical abuse, as well as systemic racism.
The psychiatrist says trauma is considered a risk factor for developing PTSD.
Theriault also testified that the treatment Desmond received for PTSD while he was in the military seemed to unravel after he was medically discharged in June of 2015.
The inquiry has heard Desmond’s therapy sessions became less frequent as he transitioned to civilian life and moved from Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in central New Brunswick to his home in eastern Nova Scotia in 2016.
Theriault says Desmond’s treatment during that period seemed to focus on crisis management rather than on his struggle with PTSD.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 1, 2021.