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(Canada) Boys murdered by Australian mother Alyson McConnell were at centre of custody fight

Father finds children dead in bathtub after mother kills them because of a custody dispute.

It is not just fathers who kill children in custody disputes.
The couple had been involved in a bitter custody battle over the boys. Court documents revealed Mrs McConnell wanted to bring them to Australia to live with her mother, Helen, in Gosford. Mr McConnell wanted them to stay in Millet, population 2,100, which is about 50km from Edmonton, where his family has lived for generations, and where the children were born.
A commentator elsewhere notes:
The farce of 'joint legal custody' - the tragedy of two murdered children
 
 "…a judge ruled the children needed to stay in Canada for now and both parents would have joint custody of the boys. The judge ordered Curtis McConnell to vacate the family home in Millet by Dec. 31, 2009, and continue paying child support and the mortgage on the home. "
 
So very typical: it is the mother who is the threat to the children but the judge awards custody to the her and orders the father out of the home - and compounds the wrong by making the father pay, pay, pay.  The farce of 'joint legal custody' [in Australia called "shared parental responsibility" - it isn't real shared parenting] has never been as well, and as tragically, exposed as in this case.
 
I wonder if anybody in authority will take the judge to task for knowingly making such an obviously biased, misandrist ruling that tragically cost the children their lives?  I wonder if anybody in authority will even think to question the ongoing destructiveness of the courts' automatic and ongoing assumption that giving the mother custody is in the 'best interest of the child'?  
 
I wonder if that hate-mongering columnist for the Toronto Star, Antonia Zerbisias, will even pause for half a second from spewing her vile hate literature to consider that, maybe, just maybe, the children would have been better off with their father in this case? Or will her reasoning be that the tragedy is clearly the father's fault since he wouldn't let the mother kidnap and run off with the children to Australia - that if only he had gone off and shot himself in the head, then the mother, the children and the world would be much better off?!!
 
Finally I wonder how long it will be until the feminist mothers' rights lobby starts screaming that the mother did what she did because she was a domestic violence victim and therefore not responsible for her actions?

Australian mother Alyson McConnell drowned her sons in a bath, Canadian court hears

The Daily Telegraph
4 February 2010

Australian mother Alyson McConnell drowned her sons in a bath, Canadian court hears
By Neil Keene and David Barrett

An Australian woman who allegedly drowned her two young children in a bath in Canada was trying to bring them back to her home on the NSW Central Coast.

Canadian police have alleged Allyson McConnell, from Gosford, killed her children on Monday afternoon then tried to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge.

The 31-year-old suffered multiple broken bones and was taken to hospital in Edmonton, Alberta.

McConnell grew up in Australia but moved overseas to be with her Canadian husband Curtis, whom she married in 2007. Her family's home in Gosford was locked up yesterday but neighbours said she returned to Australia for a holiday last year and seemed in good spirits.

Photos posted on Facebook show an apparently happy visit, with McConnell, her husband and the two boys enjoying a day out at the Australian Reptile Park.

However, Canadian court documents filed in December suggest trouble may had been brewing for some time.

In a sworn affidavit filed on December 11, Mr McConnell raised fears his estranged wife would take their two children Connor, 3, and Jayden, 20 months, and run. "Recently (Allyson) has been threatening me that she wants to move back to Australia with our children," he wrote. "I am completely opposed to this and I am fearful she will attempt to do this without my consent or knowledge."

The affidavit said the pair had split in November but continued to live in the same house with Mr McConnell staying in the basement. He was seeking joint custody of the children, or sole custody if his wife decided to move back to Australia.

Mr McConnell returned home on Monday afternoon to find the two boys' lifeless bodies in the bathroom.

Mr McConnell's cousin Jason said Curtis was "hanging in there but not doing that great".

A family friend and neighbour told the Edmonton Journal that he showed up at her door "hysterical".

"I've never seen him like that. At first I didn't believe him," she said.

But after going into the house she discovered the boys' "cold and stiff" bodies on the bathroom floor.

Residents in the small town of Millet, population 2000, where the family lived said the family was well-known and liked.

Late yesterday Mr McConnell posted five pictures of his children on a Facebook page* dedicated to his sons.


* Once logged in to Facebook search for "RIP Connor and Jayden McConnell".

Dad finds children dead in bathtub

The Australian
4 February 2010

Dad finds children dead in bathtub
By Caroline Overington

His greatest fear was that his estranged wife would take his children from their home in a tiny, snowy town in Canada, and run away to Australia.

So scared was he of losing them, he'd taken their passports and hidden them away.

The effort was in vain: Curtis McConnell, 31, of Millet, near Edmonton in Alberta, on Tuesday entered the house he once shared with his infant children to find something so much worse.

According to local reports, his wife, Allyson Louise McConnell, formerly of Gosford on the NSW central coast, had not taken the children.

She had allegedly drowned them in the bathtub and left their bodies in the water, for him to find.

Mr McConnell pulled the children - Connor, 2, and Jayden, 10 months - from the tub.

He rushed blindly to a neighbour's house, but she could see that it was just too late.

Mrs McConnell, maiden name Meager, wasn't at the scene.

According to reports, she had driven to a local Toys R Us, abandoned her husband's Chrysler sedan in the car park, and then thrown herself from an icy bridge on to a busy freeway. She survived and is being treated in hospital.

The couple had been involved in a bitter custody battle over the boys. Court documents revealed Mrs McConnell wanted to bring them to Australia to live with her mother, Helen, in Gosford.

Mr McConnell wanted them to stay in Millet, population 2,100, which is about 50km from Edmonton, where his family has lived for generations, and where the children were born.

In December, a judge had banned Mrs McConnell from leaving the country, and ruled that the children should stay in Canada on an interim basis, while the matter was being sorted out.

Canada has a shared parenting law similar to Australia's, although the role played by parents before separation carries greater weight.

An affidavit lodged with the Court of Queens Bench, Alberta, dated December 10 last year, says the couple met in Canada in November 2005, when Allyson was in Canada on a work visa. They married in NSW on Australia Day, 2007.

Allyson got Canadian residency in April 2007 and the couple moved to a house on 52nd Street in Millet about a year ago.

According to the affidavit, Mr McConnell "noticed our relationship began deteriorating in approximately September 2009 when the respondent told me that she was not happy. We attempted marriage counselling, but that was not successful.

"Notwithstanding, we have been parenting our children equally in the same household."

Until last month Mr McConnell was sleeping in the basement. He was paying $657 in monthly child support and, according to Curtis, he was as much responsible for caring for the children as his wife, waking them each morning and getting them ready for the day before he worked an afternoon shift at a hardware store.

"She has been threatening me that she wants to move back to Australia with our children," Mr McConnell said in his affidavit.

"I am completely opposed to this and I am fearful that she will attempt to do this without my consent or knowledge."


Alberta boys victims of homicide

MSN News (Canada)
3 February 2010

Alberta boys victims of homicide
By CBC News, cbc.ca, Updated

Two Alberta boys found dead this week in their home were victims of homicide, police said.

RCMP confirmed Wednesday that Connor and Jayden McConnell, aged 2 and 10 months, died in their home in Millet, Alta., about 40 kilometres south of Edmonton.

The bodies of the two boys were found by their father Monday afternoon.

Investigators are not releasing the cause of death. No charges have yet been laid in connection with the deaths.

Boys subject of custody fight between their parents

The parents of the two boys were in the midst of a divorce and custody battle, according to court documents obtained by CBC News.

A neighbour of the McConnells told CBC News on Tuesday that she had seen the bodies of the boys on the floor of the bathroom in the family's home in Millet, a town of about 2,100, 40 kilometres south of Edmonton.

She said the boys' father, Curtis McConnell, 31, told her he found their bodies in the bathtub.

Court documents show that Curtis and Allyson McConnell, who got married in Australia in January 2007, separated in November 2009 and began divorce proceedings in December.

According to the documents, Allyson McConnell, 31, wanted to take the children back to her native Australia, where her family lives and where she would be entitled to government support and have better prospects of generating more income than in Canada.

In her statement of defence and counterclaim, McConnell said the father would "continue to have reasonable and generous access" to the children.

Curtis McConnell did not want his children to leave Canada.

"I am completely opposed to this, and I am fearful that she will attempt to do this without my consent or knowledge," he stated in an affidavit filed in Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench on Dec. 11.

McConnell said he had taken the children's passports for "safekeeping." He said his wife had applied for Australian citizenship for the two boys and that he worried she would also be applying to get them Australian passports.

On Dec. 21, a judge ruled the children needed to stay in Canada for now and both parents would have joint custody of the boys. The judge ordered Curtis McConnell to vacate the family home in Millet by Dec. 31, 2009, and continue paying child support and the mortgage on the home.

Mother in hospital with broken bones, neighbour says

Police have provided few details about what they suspect happened at the Millet house on Monday afternoon.

RCMP confirmed a car found parked near Gateway Blvd. in Edmonton Monday is connected to the house in Millet, but they have not said how.

Edmonton police said a woman tried to kill herself by jumping off a Gateway Blvd. overpass an hour before the boys' bodies were found.

A neighbour of the McConnells said the mother of the boys was in hospital with several broken bones.


Boys found dead were at centre of custody fight

The Edmonton Journal (Canada)
3 February 2010

Boys found dead were at centre of custody fight
Husband feared estranged wife would take them to Australia

By Ben Gelinas and Alexandra Zabjek, Edmonton Journal

They were born 8,000 miles and just 18 days apart, one in Gosford, Australia, a suburb of Sydney, and the other in Calgary.

They were 27 when they met in November 2005, while she was in Canada on a work visa.

Curtis McConnell and Allyson Meager did what many young couples do after they fall in love: they moved in together, got married, bought a home, started a family.

In all happened so quickly. And somewhere in the last few months, it all began to fall apart.

He filed divorce papers. She filed a counter-claim.

Accusations were made. He was worried she might take their two sons back to Australia to live, and took away the boys' passports to keep that from happening.

On Monday, a neighbour who lives near the couple's home in Millet said a frantic Curtis McConnell showed up at her door around 3 p.m.

"He was crying, 'My wife just killed the kids.' He was hysterical. I've never seen him like that. At first I didn't believe him."

The woman said she followed him back to the home, where she saw the lifeless bodies of two little boys, Jayden and Connor, lying "cold and stiff " on the bathroom floor.

"He had already pulled them out of the tub," said the neighbour, who did not want to be named.

The neighbour said police later told her the boys' mother had tried to kill herself by jumping off an Edmonton bridge on Monday afternoon.

That hadn't been confirmed and no charges had been laid as of Tuesday.

But Edmonton police say a woman jumped off Gateway Boulevard bridge at about 2:15 p.m. and landed on the Whitemud Freeway. She was taken to hospital with undisclosed injuries.

RCMP confirmed a car discovered Monday in a Toys "R" Us parking lot beside Gateway Boulevard is connected to the case.

Investigators spent much of Tuesday at the McConnell home in Millet, a recently built bungalow at 5107 52nd St.

So far, police are saying little about what happened in that house.

The names of the dead have not been officially released, though the boys' parents, both aged 31, have been identified by neighbours and in court documents.

The Edmonton medical examiner is expected today to release results of a post-mortem examination done to determine the manner and cause of the deaths.

The neighbour from Millet said the couple was going through a difficult divorce.

"There was a lot of tension," she said.

Court documents filed in the divorce proceedings shed some light on the past four years.

They show, of instance, that Allyson Meager was born in Australia in November 1978. Curtis McConnell was born that same month and year in Calgary.

The two met in November 2005 and began living together in September of the following year.

They were married in New South Wales, Australia, on Jan. 26, 2007, and bought a house in Millet, a town of 2,200 people southeast of Edmonton.

Their first son, Connor Ryan, was born July 31, 2007.

For the past two years, Curtis McConnell worked the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift at a nearby Home Hardware outlet. For a few months, Allyson worked in the payroll department for an oil company.

Their second son, Jayden Blair, was born March 24, 2009. Eight months later, the couple separated.

Curtis McConnell filed for divorce in December.

"Recently, the respondent has been threatening me that she wants to move back to Australia with our children," he wrote in a sworn affidavit filed Dec. 11, 2009, in connection with the divorce proceedings. "I am completely opposed to this and I am fearful that she will attempt to do this without my consent or knowledge.

"As such, I have taken our children's passports for safe keeping. She has gone to the extent of applying for our children's Australian citizenship and then I believe she will be applying for a passport, which makes me uncomfortable."

In his affidavit, Curtis McConnell said the couple separated in November but continued to live in the same house, with him sleeping in the basement. But the neighbour said he had recently moved out and was living with his parents outside of town.

In the divorce filing, Curtis McConnell said during their marriage, he and his wife had been equally responsible for caring for the children, and he told the court he intended to seek joint custody, unless his wife moved to another country, in which case he wanted sole custody.

On Dec. 21, a judge ruled the children must remain in Alberta until further direction from the court.

In a statement of defence filed Jan. 15, Allyson McConnell said she wanted to relocate to Australia with her children, where she would have more family and government support, and a better chance at employment. She said the children suffered from medical conditions that would benefit from a warmer climate.

She promised her husband would have reasonable access to the children if she moved.

The neighbour who saw the boys' bodies on the bathroom floor said she last saw Allyson McConnell on Friday, when the two women took their children swimming in Leduc. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, though in retrospect she said it was a little strange that her neighbour left her camera equipment with her, saying she didn't want her husband to get it.

The woman, whose little girl played with the two boys, said she was in shock.

"She loved those boys more than anything," the woman said. "They were great boys. Nobody would have seen this coming at all."

The McConnell family is well known and has lived in the area for generations, another neighbour said.

Michelle Schmidt placed a teddy bear on the front lawn of the house Tuesday morning as part of a growing memorial that included twin angels and lanterns. She said she didn't know the family, but knows somebody who did.

"I just wanted to pay my respects to the family," Schmidt said. "I think the community is really heartbroken right now."

No one knows what really happened.

Nothing has been proven in a court of law… Why doesn't everybody leave both sides of the family (McConnells and Meagers) to grieve the loss of Connor and Jayden in peace.

Those boys were the most beautiful children and what ever led to their death may never really be known.

Just let both families grieve privately.

Mothers can be abusive, violent and killers

Because Connor and Jayden McConnell "were the most beautiful children" it is important to learn the details of their death at their mother's hand and to acknowledge the grief of their father.

Likewise it is important to recognise, despite politically correct misandrist dogma that men, and only men, are abusive and violent, that women, and mothers, can also be abusive and violent … and that they are capable of murder.  As has occurred in this case.
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