EXCLUSIVE: Startling revelations in murder of Calgary woman
Global News has learned a Calgary man accused of killing his estranged wife earlier this month had a record of domestic abuse, raising questions about whether the woman’s life could have been saved, had police known about the conviction.
55-year-old Carmel Christians was stabbed to death outside a friend’s home in the community of Chaparral on October 16th.
Six weeks before she was murdered, she told a judge she was worried her estranged husband would kill her. She was granted an emergency protection order.
Her estranged husband, 65-year-old James Christians, is now charged with second-degree murder.
Court documents obtained by Global News confirm Christians attacked his first wife in 1982.
In those documents, she describes what happened.
“While the restraining order was in effect, Christians gained entry to the home through the bedroom window and assaulted me, dragging me to the bedroom and gagging me.”
Christians then drove her north of Calgary, where she was beaten.
“He pulled me out of the truck and started hitting me in the stomach, side and on the back of the head with a crowbar and threatened to kill me.”
Christians was charged with attempted murder and sentenced to 18 months in jail after he was convicted on lesser charges of assault and unlawful confinement.
Because the case dates back three decades, officials in Calgary weren’t able to access the information – computerized files go back only about 20 years.
No one will ever know whether access to that information could have saved Carmel Christians’ life.
“If you don’t have access to the information, you don’t know what you don’t know, to quote Rumsfield,” says Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson. “I have heard from our members there is info that is not easily accessible.”
Hanson wouldn’t say what police could have done to protect Carmel Christians had they known, but options could have included keeping a close eye on her estranged husband.
Hanson is now hoping police and other officials will get improved access to old files.