Killer doctor to stay in hospital, but allowed leaves

Dr. Guy Turcotte.

Dr. Guy Turcotte.

Brian Daly, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:46 PM ET

MONTREAL — Killer ex-doctor Guy Turcotte remains disordered and dangerous and must stay in a mental hospital for stabbing his two young children to death, a review board ruled Tuesday.

But the former cardiologist, found not criminally responsible last year for the killings, will be allowed escorted leave immediately.

The five-member panel said Turcotte will be allowed to leave the Pinel Institute with members of his immediate family for up to eight hours at a time.

The 39-year-old killer will be permitted to leave the hospital by himself by early September, despite objections from his ex-wife Isabelle Gaston, who says she fears for her life if he's released.

In its ruling, the board barred Turcotte from contacting Gaston, who is also a doctor and worked at the same hospital as Turcotte north of Montreal.

"The commission considers it necessary to take measures to ensure the physical and psychological safety of two people who are very much affected by the actions of the accused...his ex-wife and her new partner," the 17-page decision reads.

Turcotte killed his two young children amid a crumbling marriage to Gaston.

He has been held at Montreal's Pinel Institute since the controversial verdict in July 2011.

The board ruled in favour of escorted leave despite its acknowledgement that Turcotte hasn't made much progress since the verdict.

"The accused poses a significant threat to take action of a criminal nature seriously endangering the physical or psychological safety of others," the report says.

"This fragility and lack of resources...to counter it poses a real risk of relapse. This risk is not hypothetical but well supported by the evidence."

The board will reassess Turcotte's file in six months. Experts at Pinel have recommended Turcotte remain in custody.

The hospital said he has refused therapy to help evaluators understand "how he could commit acts of extreme violence."

On Feb. 20, 2009, Turcotte fatally stabbed Olivier, 5, and Anne-Sophie, 3, in a rented home in Piedmont, Que., north of Montreal.

He later told his murder trial that he had grown despondent after he found out his wife was sleeping with a mutual friend.

He also testified he blacked out at the time of the stabbings.

The 11 jurors accepted the defence's argument that Turcotte suffered from depression, anxiety and suicidal tendencies.

They acquitted him of two counts of first-degree murder, provoking a storm of outrage across Canada.

Some people called for the reinstatement of the death penalty, and some law enforcement officials said the verdict sent the wrong message to fathers going through messy divorces.

Gaston has since became an outspoken victims' rights advocate and has repeatedly said she fears for her own life if Turcotte is released.

But Turcotte insists he's a changed man and that he doesn't represent a danger to anyone.

His family is apparently ready to take him in and his lawyer said "only the blind refuse to see his progress."


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