With the Edmonton criminal trial into his ex-wife’s charges now over, the father of her children is speaking out about his years of pain and anxiety.
“I knew in my in my gut, in my heart, when I got that phone call, I knew that since my kids weren’t supposed to be there and they were — I knew that she did what she did,” he recalled.
His children were supposed to be away at summer camp, and after they got back he would begun having court-ordered primary custody of their then-10, eight and seven-year-old kids.
Instead, they were alone with their mom when fire broke out in her home at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Edmonton on July 20, 2015. All four had to be rescued by neighbours.
One week ago, the mother was convicted of intentionally setting the blaze at the military base, and trying to murder her kids.
Nobody in the family can be identified because of a publication ban protecting the children as underage victims of crime.
Over the course of the trial, the Crown argued the mother was motivated to kill herself and her three children because she did not want to comply the court order giving custody to her ex-husband.
The ex-husband said he had previously expressed concerns about his children’s safety with his wife, calling her a controlling narcissist.
“I stated to the psychologists that if this goes the wrong way for her, that she needs to protect the kids — because I believe she would kill them.”
The dad said years of investigations, questioning, court appearances and testimony have been tough on his kids — especially his sons, who the defence tried to blame for starting the fire.
“They had to relive what they went through that night when they testified against her,” he explained.
“My oldest, he was on the stand for three hours. And by the time he got out, he wouldn’t talk to us. He wouldn’t look at us.”
The father argues it shouldn’t have taken so long for his ex-wife to be arrested.
During the trial, court heard initial military police investigations in 2015 and 2016 didn’t result in any charges.
It wasn’t until the case was reopened in 2018 that charges were laid the following year.
In the time in between the fire at the Edmonton Garrison and the arrest, the dad said he struggled and fought for his children’s safety — trying to prevent their mom from being alone with them.
Ultimately, she was allowed three unsupervised visits post-fire.
“For four years before she got arrested, I was jumping through hoops trying to protect my kids.”
Now he’s planning to sue the Canadian Armed Forces, telling Global News he’ll file the papers next week.
“If this was a coverup or whatever it was, they almost ruined my life and my kid’s life.
“My kids could have died.”
In a statement to Global News, the Department of National Defence said: “The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service conducts its investigations in a deliberate and comprehensive manner… In all cases, investigations are conducted to determine the facts, analyze the evidence, and, where appropriate, lay charges.”
The father doesn’t agree and decided to hand in his uniform.
“The military didn’t support me and my kids. They didn’t help us.”
A date for the woman’s attempted murder sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled and she is under house arrest until it begins.