PORT COQUITLAM, B.C. — A B.C. father who killed his three children has withdrawn his request for escorted leave from the psychiatric hospital where he is being detained, saying he didn’t want to cause further pain to the children’s mother.
Allan Schoenborn wrote a statement read at a B.C. Review Board hearing Tuesday that was called after an outcry over the board’s earlier decision to allow him to apply for escorted leaves from the facility.
“I wish no further hardships towards Darcie,” Schoenborn said in his statement, read by his lawyer Scott Hicks.
“Her stability is paramount. Since the last hearing of April 5, 2011, I learned of her whereabouts and her poor condition through television coverage.”
Schoenborn did not attend the hearing. Hicks said he wanted to avoid more media attention.
Darcie Clarke returned to her Merritt, B.C., home three years ago to find 10-year-old Kaitlynne with her throat slashed and eight-year-old Max and five-year-old Cordon lying on the couch, suffocated.
Since then, she moved to Port Coquitlam to be closer to family and family members have said she was horrified earlier this month upon learning that Schoenborn could get the escorted leave into the community, where the psychiatric facility is located.
Schoenborn was found not criminally responsible due to mental illness for killing the children, and has been at the psychiatric facility since his trial.
The lead psychiatrist who had recommended Schoenborn be eligible for the leaves said he was unaware that Clarke lived in the area.
A statement from Clarke read at a rally Wednesday urged people to sign a petition to “keep killers like this (locked) up.”
Hicks told the review panel Thursday his client wished to revert to the conditions placed on him at his last hearing last April, conditions which don’t allow for escorted outings.
The lawyer said Schoenborn has been assaulted and threatened in the hospital since his hearing earlier this month and he has been relocated to a more secure area of the facility.
An angry Stacey Galt, Clarke’s cousin, called the panel a “joke” Thursday and said she wasn’t buying Schoenborn’s statement of concern.
“I think he’s just concerned that she stays OK until he gets to her. I’ve know him for a long time from way back, he kept her away from us for a quite a while…. He’s been focused on her and he’s obsessed with her and that’s where his mental instability is.”
She said she felt “robbed” by Schoenborn’s absence at the hearing.
“I wanted him to see me strong, standing there, fighting for her. It was just the biggest cop-out that I’ve ever seen. He should have been there.”
Galt said she believes Schoenborn should be in jail.
Family friend Dave Teixeira said the family’s next move is to push for more victim’s rights in cases where someone has been found not guilty by reason of mental illness.
He said the psychiatrists assessing such people simply don’t take a victim’s pain into account.
“They don’t care, they work in this ivory tower and it’s a very difficult thing to break.”
He said the family learned through a Crown lawyer that Schoenborn was assaulted by two patients with pool balls about a week ago while in the game’s room at the hospital.
Teixeira, who helped organize the rally at Port Coquitlam city hall on Wednesday, said he and family members had also gathered several hundred signatures on a petition asking to keep Schoenborn locked up. They would have presented the petition to the board had the man not withdrawn his request.
Mike Clarke, Darcie’s brother, said he was happy Schoenborn would be kept in the facility for another year but called the process “malarky.”
“He’s only been in there for a year and a half and that’s too soon for anybody to be released, I don’t think anybody can be healed in a year.”
B.C. Attorney General Barry Penner has sent a letter to his federal counterpart, urging Ottawa to amend Canada’s laws to ensure that facilities that treat mentally ill people who commit serious crimes have protected access to the addresses of victims.