Fatality inquiry into caregivers death told client had long history of violence

A fatality inquiry into the death of a mental health worker who was killed in a client's home in 2011 has been told that the client had a long history of aggressive, violent incidents with caregivers.

CAMROSE — A fatality inquiry into the death of a mental health worker who was killed in a client’s home in 2011 has been told that the client had a long history of aggressive, violent incidents with caregivers.

Valerie Wolski, 41, was alone and providing care to Terrence Wade Saddleback in February 2011 when she was strangled in Camrose, Alta.

Saddleback was charged with manslaughter but was found mentally unfit to stand trial.

Marilyn Conner, executive director of a Wetaskiwin-area community organization that cared for Saddleback for 19 years, described hundreds of incidents where he pulled hair and was “volatile and explosive.”

Conner said his actions sometimes did not seem to be provoked by anything, adding he could be fine one moment and lunge at someone the next.

Conner told the inquiry it was “really scary” walking into a room with the man, who was six-foot-five.

“For me, I felt there was something else going on with him that was beyond our capacity,” she testified.

In 2009, a staff member was working with a client when Saddleback picked her up by the hair and threw her onto a table. Conner said eventually, all but two staff members refused to work with him.

The organization told the province it could no longer care for Saddleback because he was too dangerous and staff were afraid of him. Staff members offered to share their experiences and knowledge of working with Saddleback with whoever took over his care, but Conner said that meeting never happened.

Graham Jones, Saddleback’s legal guardian, previously said he warned the Canadian Mental Health Association that they needed to be careful with him, but his concerns were shrugged off.

A preliminary report released prior to the inquiry by Occupational Health and Safety said the province’s Persons With Developmental Disabilities Board failed to warn Wolski or her employer that Saddleback was violent and dangerous.

A Camrose police officer testified about walking into the crime scene in 2011 and seeing Wolski lying on the ground by the couch. Saddleback was sitting on the couch and clumps of Wolski’s hair were spread around the home.

The officer described interviewing Saddleback later, who said: “don’t punch Val, don’t hit Val, don’t pull her hair.”

Just Posted

Busts lead to four arrests, $130,000 of drugs and cash seized

Community is safer without drugs and guns on the street: Police inspector

$604,000 worth of contraband goods seized at Bowden Institution

Drugs and other contraband items valued at $604,000 have been seized at… Continue reading

Sylvan Lake man charged with first-degree murder of his dad

A 28-year-old Sylvan Lake man has been charged with the first-degree murder… Continue reading

Red Deer man going to trial on manslaughter

Gabriel Agotic accused of involvement in May 2017 death of Mathiang Chol

Longtime volunteer recognized at Mayor’s Garden Party

Sue Barthel was the honorary senior recognized at the annual Mayor’s Garden… Continue reading

Maskwacis youth found dead on reserve

The remains of 16 year old Houston Omeasoo found

Duncan announces $30 million to promote safety and inclusiveness in sport

TORONTO — The federal government is investing $30 million over five years… Continue reading

Raptors president Ujiri addresses rare off-court issues during NBA title run

TORONTO — Even a championship can come with hiccups. Toronto Raptors president… Continue reading

Mouse that roared: Disney characters win local union shakeup

ORLANDO, Fla. — The mouse that roared was heard. Months after workers… Continue reading

Soulpepper’s original musical ‘Rose’ among big winners at Dora theatre awards

TORONTO — Soulpepper’s first original musical “Rose” was among the big winners… Continue reading

‘Must work together:’ Alberta legislature boss chides both sides in earplug spat

Legislature boss chides both sides in earplug spat EDMONTON — Alberta’s legislature… Continue reading

‘He’s my son: Accused mother cries at trial over boy who died of meningitis

LETHBRIDGE — The mother of a toddler who died of bacterial meningitis… Continue reading

Most Read