Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Leniency urged for killer of Timothy Eaton descendant

Andrew Leyshon-Hughes's lawyer says that scarcely a trace of the 17-year-old who stabbed Nancy Eaton 21 times before violating the corpse remains in her client, who is now 34.

"The adolescent I met has little or nothing to do with the young adult I'm dealing with today," Marlys Edwardh told reporters yesterday, after arguing before a review board that her client should no longer spend all of his nights locked up in a psychiatric hospital.

Ms. Edwardh had first acted for Mr. Leyshon-Hughes at the time of the 1985 slaying, for which he was found not criminally responsible. The great-great-granddaughter of Timothy Eaton had befriended the troubled teenager with a long rap sheet who killed her in her apartment.

Story continues below advertisement

During the two-day hearing that concluded yesterday, the board heard a forensic psychiatrist describe how an umbilical cord wrapped around Mr. Leyshon-Hughes's neck at birth could have contributed to his deranged state of mind at the time of the homicide.

Dr. John Bradford also told the board, which consists of two psychiatrists, one psychologist, a lawyer and a retired history professor, that Mr. Leyshon-Hughes's two sexual affairs in the past year -- with a psychiatric nurse and a fellow patient -- should not be viewed as significant transgressions.

The first relationship was an abuse of position by a now-fired professional, Dr. Bradford argued, and the second might have helped develop Mr. Leyshon-Hughes's "heterosexual relationship skills." Dr. Bradford is chief of forensic psychiatry at the Royal Ottawa Hospital.

Since his late teens, Mr. Leyshon-Hughes has been in psychiatric hospitals. He has been permitted to leave the Royal Ottawa Hospital during the past year to study at Algonquin College and work in a discount store.

The review board will decide in the next month whether to expand his freedoms.

In hearings attended by Mr. Leyshon-Hughes and his parents, the board was asked to consider letting him spend up to a week at a time on his parents' farm and to eventually let him stay in the community under an individual's supervision.

Already, Mr. Leyshon-Hughes has been permitted some freedoms as he has been in a 15-year-long gradual reintroduction into the community.

Story continues below advertisement

Passes from the psychiatric hospital allow him to escape the gloomy, crowded forensic ward where he lives with 16 others sent there by the courts, often sleeping two and sometimes three to a room.

Treatment programs, drugs and gradual reintroductions to the community since have helped Mr. Leyshon-Hughes rehabilitate, Dr. Bradford and Ms. Edwardh said. The passage of time may have also helped the brain disorder diminish.

"During adolescence, it's not going to get worse, it may in fact get better and during adulthood it may, its intensity may decrease," Dr. Bradford said.

The forensic psychiatrist also said Mr. Leyshon-Hughes's sexual relationships should not affect his bid for freedom.

"Any patient be they male or female is vulnerable because of relationships with persons in a position of trust and a position of power," he said, referring to the relationship with the nurse last spring.

". . . As far as I'm concerned he's not responsible for that relationship."

Story continues below advertisement

As for the fellow patient, the psychiatrist said the concern is a technical one -- that his patient didn't indicate on the itinerary he submitted that he was spending time with her in a motel room.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles as we switch to a new provider. We are behind schedule, but we are still working hard to bring you a new commenting system as soon as possible. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.