WETASKIWIN— A woman who drowned her two young sons in the bathtub of the family home near Edmonton has been sentenced to six years in prison for manslaughter.
Justice Michelle Crighton recommended Allyson McConnell remain at a mental hospital until doctors believe she is well enough to be transferred to another facility.
The Australian woman is getting two-for one credit for time served, meaning there are 15 months left in her sentence, and she will be eligible for parole in 10 months.
McConnell was originally charged with second-degree murder, but was convicted in April of manslaughter by Crighton who said no one knew whether the depressed and suicidal woman meant to kill her boys.
McConnell and her husband were in the middle of a bitter divorce and she wanted to take their children back to Australia.
The Crown is appealing the manslaughter conviction and indicated it will also appeal the sentence. Prosecutors had asked the judge to impose a 12-year sentence.
But McConnell’s defence lawyer pointed out she had already served nearly two years in custody and should be allowed to return to her home country a free woman.
McConnell, who has been on suicide watch at Alberta Hospital, testified during her trial that she will try to kill herself again because she does not want to get well.
During the trial, court heard that McConnell drove from the family’s home in Millet to Edmonton on Feb. 1, 2010, parked her car at a toy store and jumped off an overpass onto a busy freeway.
When police called her husband to say she was in the hospital with broken bones, he wondered where the children were and quickly drove home from work. He found 10-month-old Jayden and two-year-old Connor floating in the tub.
Court also heard McConnell remembers nothing about the days before she jumped off the overpass and did not know her children were dead until her mother and sister told her as she lay in her hospital bed. The news drove her into hysterics.
A psychiatrist testified the woman likely meant to kill herself but was so close to her children that she considered their lives extensions of her own. It was also revealed that McConnell has a history of depression and suicide attempts that began when her father got her pregnant when she was 15.