|Undated family photo taken in Australia. Curtis McConnell, Jayden McConnell (bottom right), Allyson McConnell and Connor McConnell (bottom left) in this family photo.
WETASKIWIN, ALTA. - A Millet, Alta., mother accused of second-degree murder in the deaths of her two young boys testified that she was impregnated by her father at age 15 but miscarried.
Allyson McConnell -- whose testimony was barely audible -- took the stand Monday, telling her lawyer, Peter Royal, that she suffered numerous miscarriages throughout her life.
She told court her father impregnated her when she was just 15 and she miscarried. McConnell testified that she never told anyone and never reported it.
She told court her parents' marriage fell apart when her sister claimed that their father had sexually assaulted her.
McConnell testified she has attempted suicide many times over the years, the first following her pregnancy by her father.
"I would write lists of ways I could kill myself on the fog in the shower," she said about the months following her first miscarriage.
"I just didn't feel like my life was worth living."
And, she testified, it was just two weeks ago that she tried to kill herself by hoarding pills at Alberta Hospital Edmonton, where she is currently being held.
McConnell's two children, two-year-old Connor, and 10-month-old Jayden, were found drowned in the bathtub of the family's Millet home, Feb. 1, 2010.
The boys' father, Curtis McConnell, leaned forward during her testimony, resting his head on his hands, staring down.
When Royal asked his client if she remembered bathing the boys, she responded, her voice quivering: "I don't remember."
"That is my understanding," she added.
The defence is looking to establish that McConnell's state of mind in the days leading up to the boys' deaths prevented her from being capable of intending to kill her sons.
McConnell has admitted killing her two young sons, but had her lawyer enter not guilty pleas on her behalf.
She claims to remember very little about the events following the boys' deaths, often saying "that is my understanding."
McConnell appeared thin and gaunt, rubbing her chest nervously as she was questioned.
She had difficulty answering basic questions, like her age.
"I'm 33 I believe," she said before adding, "I just haven't kept track of it recently."
In the months leading to the children's deaths, court heard how her relationship with her husband began to crumble.
The pair met in 2006 at the Delta Hotel ski resort in Kamloops, B.C., and married in January 2007 in Australia, where Allyson was born.
Their first child, Connor, was born in July 2007, their second, Jayden, in March 2009. McConnell testified that her pregnancy with Jayden was unplanned, she had just landed a job in Leduc, Alta.
A month after the birth of their second child, the relationship turned sour and Curtis moved into the basement of their Millet home.
He initiated divorce proceedings in December 2009 and later moved in with his parents.
Allyson testified that during her relationship with Curtis, she had grown close with his mother, Audrey. But when communication between the pair turned sour, he demanded that she no longer contact them.
"It was quite awkward when Audrey would come pick up the boys," she said. "I was devastated I wasn't going to speak to her anymore."
Allyson wanted to take the boys with her to Australia, but Curtis fought against the move. A judge would grant Curtis' wish to keep the boys in Canada, creating further tension between the two.
According to agreed facts, on Feb. 1, 2010, Allyson drowned her two children in the bathtub of the couple's home.
She then drove to Edmonton, had lunch and jumped off an overpass at Calgary Trail and Whitemud Drive, falling into the eastbound lanes of traffic.
She was taken to University hospital where she was treated for numerous broken bones and a concussion. Her mother and sister would arrive shortly thereafter, and Allyson testified that they were the ones who informed her that the boys were dead.
She would later be transferred to Alberta Hospital, where she remains under constant suicide watch.
RCMP later found numerous searches about suicide and drowning on Allyson's computer.
Allyson's sister and mother are expected to testify later in the week, as well as her psychiatrist who has overseen her care at the Alberta Hospital for the past two years.