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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - History of depression and suicide attempts - Revenge against her husband
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: Sometime between January 29 and February 1, 2010
Date of arrest: February 1, 2010
Date of birth: 1978
Victims profile: Her sons, 10-month-old Jayden and 2½-year-old Connor
Method of murder: Drowning
Location: Millet, Alberta, Canada
Status: Sentenced to six years in prison on June 4, 2012. But she faces 15 months in custody because Justice Michelle Crighton gave McConnell double credit for the time she has already spent in a mental hospital. Released from a psychiatric hospital on April 4, 2013. Deported to Australia. Found dead under a bridge on September 17, 2013
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Allyson McConnell reportedly found dead in Australia

Alberta mom convicted of manslaughter in bathtub drowning of 2 sons

CBC News

September 18, 2013

Allyson McConnell, who was convicted of manslaughter in the bathtub drowning of her two young sons south of Edmonton, has been found dead under a bridge in Australia where she was deported after she was sentenced, according to local media reports citing police sources.

A woman's body was discovered by a passerby Wednesday morning on rocks beneath Brian McGowan Bridge on Australia's central coast.

Australia's New South Wales police force released a statement saying the woman is believed to be a 35-year-old from Gosford, about an hour's drive north of Sydney. Gosford is McConnell's hometown.

Peter Royal, the lawyer who represented McConnell, said he spoke with McConnell's mother early Wednesday morning.

He told CBC News there is little doubt the body is McConnell's, as identification papers were found with it.

He called the news "very depressing," saying she was so vulnerable.

"I won't ever forget the evidence she gave in court," he said. "It was very moving and upsetting. She didn't see any future and believed she would continue to try to kill herself."

"There are not many cases that stay with you, but this is one of them," he said.

Royal said McConnell was under a doctor’s care in Australia, but was not being watched around the clock.

He said her disappearance was reported to police within a few hours, and that McConnell’s body was found not long after.

Response from Millet, Alta.

In Millet, Alta., where McConnell once lived with her husband and two young sons, many are viewing McConnell’s death as the final chapter in a tragic saga.

“Sadness. Absolute sadness,” said Vivian Holtby, who lived next door to the McConnells.

“You know, it's going to bring a little bit of closure, but it doesn't make it any better.”

“It's an unfortunate event for both families,” said Cheryl Falkenberg, who lives in the small community.

“It's a sick feeling,” added Bernie Kroening.

Appeal Scheduled for November

The appeal of McConnell's conviction was scheduled to be heard in October in Edmonton, and her mother believes that was weighing heavily on her mind, Royal said.

Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis had said that if the Crown was successful in persuading the courts to increase McConnell's sentence, the province would try to extradite her from Australia to serve more time.

This morning Denis reacted to news of McConnell's death.

"If this is indeed Ms. McConnell, then it marks a disturbing end to what has been a very tragic situation and is certainly not the outcome anyone wished for," he said in a statement.

Death not considered suspicious

Robert Ovadia, a senior reporter with Seven News in Sydney, told CBC News Network that a formal identification is expected Friday afternoon local time.

"Police are very, very confident that it is Allyson McConnell.… Given that Miss McConnell had been reported missing yesterday, and given that a body has turned up that very much matches her description facially as well as personal effects on her, I think it's reasonable to say that it can be confirmed that it is her," he said.

Police have reportedly told Australian news outlets that the death is not considered suspicious.

"She hasn't been on any sort of watch list from authorities or any sort of scrutiny whatsoever," Ovadia told CBC News of her time in Australia. "In fact, from what I understand she's been somewhat reclusive in her time here.

"Her history of suicide attempts is obviously very well documented. I'm told that she has expressed suicidal thoughts since arriving home as well. So as sad as it to say, I guess that today seems somewhat of an inevitable conclusion."

History of suicide attempts, trial told

McConnell's trial over the deaths of her sons, 2½-year-old Connor and 10-month-old Jayden, in Millet heard she had a history of depression and suicide attempts that began when she became pregnant by her father when she was 15. She told the court she subsequently had a miscarriage at 10 weeks and told no one about it.

McConnell was given a six-year sentence and served 15 months in a psychiatric hospital, after taking into account time served before her trial, and was deported to Australia in April shortly after she was released.

Curtis McConnell fought against his estranged wife's deportation, saying through a released family statement that he feared sending her to Australia would mean an appeal of her case would never be heard.

On Wednesday the McConnell family issued a statement to media, saying "Our thoughts are with Allyson's family and we send our condolences."

The couple were involved in an acrimonious divorce and custody fight.

Curtis McConnell discovered the bodies of the two boys the same day his wife drove to Edmonton, jumped off a freeway overpass and seriously injured herself.

A psychiatrist testified McConnell likely meant to kill herself, but was so close to her children that she considered their lives extensions of her own.

McConnell testified she would try to kill herself again because she didn't want to get well.

In the final exchange with her lawyer while in the witness box, McConnell was asked what will happen to her.

"Probably more tried and failed suicide attempts," she said.

"Will you recover?" Royal asked.

"I don't think I want to," she replied with her voice breaking.


Child killer Allyson McConnell calls herself 'loving mother'

Australian woman deported from Canada says she wouldn't rule out having more kids

CBC News

April 28, 2013

An Australian woman convicted of drowning her two young sons at her home south of Edmonton has told a newspaper she is open to having more children.

Allyson McConnell, 34, told Australia's Sunday Telegraph she was a good mother and is still trying to get over what happened.

"There have been a lot of things written about me being a bad mother," she told the Sydney paper. "I wasn’t a bad mother, I was actually a very loving mother. But you never hear about that."

"At the moment I'm just trying to get over what has happened. It's been as upsetting for me as much as everyone else involved. I think about them every single day."

Asked if she would like more children in the future, McConnell said, "I wouldn't say no."

Canada deported the woman shortly after her release from a psychiatric hospital on April 4. She lives with her mother in Gosford, a city about 70 kilometres north of Sydney.

McConnell served 10 months in custody in Alberta after a Canadian court found her guilty of manslaughter in the death of her sons 10-month-old Jayden and 2½-year-old Connor.

She drowned them in a bathtub in Millet, Alta., sometime between Friday, Jan. 29 and Monday, Feb. 1, 2010.

Edmonton police said she tried to kill herself by jumping off an overpass in the south end of Edmonton an hour before the boys' father found their bodies floating in the tub.

According to divorce documents, Allyson and Curtis McConnell were in the midst of a divorce and custody battle when the boys were killed.


Alberta erred in case of mom who drowned sons, Ottawa says

Allyson McConnell to return to Australia Monday

CBC News

April 05, 2013

Alberta's justice minister is too late in asking the federal government to stop the deportation of an Alberta mother who drowned her two young sons before appeals in her case could be heard, says Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews.

"She therefore is free of any restriction in relation to her crimes," Toews said in a written statement Friday. "It is unfortunate that the Alberta Government did not act prior to Ms. McConnell's release in order to prevent this situation from occuring."

Allyson McConnell's jail term ended Thursday allowing the Canada Border Service Agency to begin her deportation process.

That seemed to catch the province, which is appealing McConnell's manslaughter conviction and sentence, by surprise.

On Friday, a deportation review scheduled McConnell to leave Monday for her native Australia.

Toews said Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis did not reach his office until the same day.

"As Ms. McConnell is the subject of a valid removal order and would otherwise be free of any sentence or restriction in Canada, CBSA will be required by law to proceed with the presently scheduled removal on Monday evening," Toews said.

Until then McConnell will remain in a Edmonton psychiatric hospital, a place where her lawyer Peter Royal said "she's lived safely for the last three years."

Royal told a the hearing Friday that McConnell is "anxious to return to Australia."

Alberta Justice spokeswoman Michelle Davio said the Crown has no legal grounds to appeal the deportation order.

"Whether or not Ms. McConnell remains in Canada, Albertans can be assured that the Prosecution Service is pressing ahead with these appeals and will continue to seek justice in this case," Denis said in a statement Friday.

McConnell was convicted of manslaughter in April 2012 in the deaths of her sons 2½-year-old Connor and 10-month-old Jayden.

The boys were found dead in the bathtub of their home in Millet, Alta. in February 2010.


Alberta mom who drowned sons to serve 15 more months

Allyson McConnell sentenced to 6 years, will stay at Alberta Hospital

CBC News

June 04, 2012

The Alberta father of two young sons killed by their mother in February 2010 wept as the judge sentenced Allyson McConnell on Monday to 15 more months in custody.

Curtis McConnell cried outside the Wetaskiwn courthouse after Justice Michelle Crighton sentenced McConnell's former wife to six years, but giving her two-for-one credit for time already served.

According to Crighton, that leaves McConnell with 15 months left to serve and eligible for parole in March 2013.

The sentence will "punish her, but also afford her the best opportunity "to deal with psychological issues," said Crighton.

The boys' grandfather Jim McConnell called the sentence "absolutely ridiculous" and a "bloody joke."

"Is that all the boys' lives are worth?" he said outside the courthouse. "This is crazy."

Crown urged to appeal sentence

He urged the Crown, which is already appealing the manslaughter conviction, to appeal the sentence.

While prosecutor Gordon Hatch called the sentence disappointing, he noted that should the Crown's appeal be successful, the sentence would be thrown out.

righton recommended McConnell serve her time at the Alberta Hospital until she is ready to be transferred.

McConnell was convicted in April after drowning sons Connor, 2, and 10-month-old Jayden in the bathtub of their Millet, Alta., home during a bitter divorce battle with her husband.

Hatch wanted McConnell to serve 12 years, with three years credit for the time served in a psychiatric hospital.

During the trial, he argued McConnell killed her boys at the family home as revenge against her husband, who had refused permission to let her return to her native Australia with the boys.

But the defence said McConnell's mind was so clouded by alcohol, sleeping pills and severe depression that she could not have formed the intent required to convict her of second-degree murder.

Lawyer Peter Royal believed she should not have to serve any more time in custody.

Royal is hoping McConnell will eventually be allowed to go back to Australia to serve out her sentence.

Last month, the Crown filed notice it is appealing McConnell's manslaughter conviction, believing McConnell should have been convicted of second-degree murder.

It believes Crighton erred in the analysis of expert evidence and in the consideration of whether McConnell could form the intent to kill her sons.


Alberta mother who drowned sons guilty of manslaughter

Judge not convinced Allyson McConnell could form intent to kill boys

CBC News

April 20, 2012

An Alberta woman who admits to drowning her two young sons in her bathtub was found guilty today of manslaughter.

Justice Michelle Crighton rejected Friday a conviction on the more serious charge of second-degree murder.

"I would describe her as being tormented by the death of her boys, but at the same time confused regarding her role in that," she said.

Crighton told the court she has reasonable doubt about whether Allyson McConnell could form the intent to kill her sons, ages 10 months and two years.

During the trial, the prosecution argued McConnell killed her boys at the family home in Millet, Alta., as revenge against her husband, Curtis McConnell. The couple had been in a bitter divorce battle.

But the defence said McConnell's mind was so clouded by booze, sleeping pills and severe depression that she couldn't have formed the intent required to convict her of second-degree murder.

McConnell testified during her trial that she couldn't remember anything about the events of that cold winter weekend in early 2010.

Black hole in evidence

"Due to the black hole in the evidence, the court is left not knowing what happened in the McConnell home during the final few days of the McConnell children's lives, including what Allyson's mental state was when she drowned them," Crighton said.

"It is left with a reasonable doubt that she had the specific intent to kill her children," she said.

"The accused is entitled to the benefit of that doubt and, accordingly, she cannot be convicted of second-degree murder."

McConnell will be back in court on May 9 for sentencing.

The Crown expressed disappointment with the decision.

"I think the Crown proved murder, so I'm disappointed in that regard," said prosecutor Gordon Hatch. "But a verdict of murder would not have been any more satisfying in that these boys are dead and we can't do anything about that."

Hatch indicated the Crown will likely be looking for more jail time.

Hatch also said the McConnell family was also disappointed, but did not want to comment.

Allyson McConell's family also refused to speak to reporters after the verdict.

"The most important thing now is her recovery," defence lawyer Peter Royal told CBC News.

Royal said given the nature of McConnell's crimes and how other inmates might react, the Edmonton Institution for Women would "not be appropriate," for her to serve her sentence.

Royal said he will ask the judge to send her to the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon and will begin working immediately on having her transferred to her native Australia.

Not known when boys were drowned

It's not known when exactly during a three-day span that McConnell drowned infant Jayden and toddler Connor.

Investigators found several searches on her computer relating to suicide and drowning, including a search that asked: "How long does it take to drown?" and another asking: "How long does it take to die from strangulation?"

Officers also found a rope tied to a joist in the basement. A chair was sitting underneath.

On the morning of Feb. 1, McConnell drove to Edmonton, parked at a toy store, had lunch and then tried to kill herself by jumping off a bridge onto a busy freeway.

The trial was told it was her estranged husband, Curtis McConnell, who pulled the lifeless bodies of his little boys from a tub of freezing cold water.

He testified he frantically ran to get a neighbour to come and look in the bathroom, just in case he had imagined the whole thing. His wife had left her wedding ring sitting atop the toilet seat.

He said their divorce had been bitter and they had fought over custody of the boys, whom McConnell wanted to take back to Australia with her.

Curtis McConnell has also filed a lawsuit against his wife asking for damages for the children's deaths.


Alberta mom may have intended to kill sons, psychiatrist says

Allyson McConnell saw sons' deaths as an extension of her suicide

CBC News

March 20, 2012

An Alberta mother drowned her two sons before attempting suicide to keep them close to her, a forensic psychiatrist told a crowded Wetaskiwin courtroom Tuesday.

Allyson McConnell, who is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, was close to her children and saw them as an extension of herself, of her own life, so killing Connor, two, and Jayden, 10 months, was an extension of her own suicide, said Dr. Alberto Choy.

Choy believes McConnell saw suicide as a way to give her some sense of control.

She did not want to be separated from her sons even in death and decided to take them with her, he said.

Asked if McConnell intended to kill her children, Choy said, "It is not out of the realm of possibility."

"We believe that it is much more likely she overdosed after her children died … and that the death of her children was purposeful in that she wanted to keep her children with her when she made the decision she did not want to continue with her life," he said in written evidence.

The case will come down to whether the judge believes McConnell was able to form the intent to murder her sons.

The defence hopes to establish that mental illness prevented McConnell from forming that intent and so cannot be held legally responsible.

McConnell testified Monday she is unable to remember drowning her sons on the last weekend of January 2010.

McConnell's lack of memory may be genuine, a coping mechanism to protect herself from something so awful, amnesia becomes her armour, Choy said.

There's a "real psychological need to protect herself from awful events," he said.

Choy has been treating McConnell at Alberta Hospital in Edmonton for the past two years.

During therapy, McConnell revealed she had a flash of seeing herself holding a child down in the water, he said, something McConnell did not mention during her testimony Monday.

Choy called McConnell's case complicated.

"We think the risk for her committing suicide is significant, if not high," he told the court.

During her testimony, the Millet, Alta., mother insisted she loved her children and never intended to harm them.

The court also heard testimony Tuesday from McConnell's mother, Helen Meager, who travelled to Canada from her native Australia after the boys' deaths.

When Meager arrived at the hospital, McConnell seemed to be unaware her children were dead. Meager testified that her daughter became hysterical when she got the news.

"She was throwing herself all around," Meager said. "I don't think she believed it."

Evidence wrapped up on Tuesday. Closing arguments will be made on Thursday after which the judge will reserve her decision.


Alberta mom cannot recall drowning her sons

Allyson McConnell's defence expected to focus on mental state

CBC News

March 19, 2012

An Alberta woman who drowned her two young sons in a bathtub told a crowded courtroom today she could not remember what happened that weekend two years ago.

Allyson McConnell cried as she looked at pictures of the bathroom in her Millet home where the boys were found by their father Feb. 1, 2010.

Asked by her lawyer whether she had drowned Connor, two, and 10-month-old Jayden, McConnell said, "It is my understanding." Asked whether she remembers doing it, she said, "I do not."

But during cross-examination Monday afternoon, McConnell testified that three months into her therapy at Alberta Hospital, a psychiatric facility in Edmonton, she dreamt about Connor being at the bottom of the bathtub.

"He was looking up at me. He was calling out for me," she said. "I could actually hear him but I couldn't reach him."

When asked if she also had an image of Jayden in the tub, McConnell replied: "I could have. I don't know."

McConnell, testifying in her own defence in a Wetaskiwin courtroom, is being tried on two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of her two sons.

The defence hopes to establish that McConnell cannot be held legally responsible because she suffered from mental illness and was unable to form the intent to murder.

McConnell said she took sleeping pills and drank Bacardi Breezers, an alcoholic soda, on Friday night Jan. 29, 2010.

"I hoped I would overdose," she said. "I was totally overwhelmed."

No answer

Asked whether her older son was alive while she consumed the alcohol, she said she had no answer.

She told the court she remembered waking up vomiting with a metallic taste in her mouth.

She also remembers waking up in the bathtub holding electrical appliances. "It was dark," she said. Previous testimony indicated a breaker had tripped.

She told the court, not only can she not recall drowning her sons, she's still trying to figure out why she did it.

She was adamant she loved her sons and never had thoughts of harming them, only of hurting herself.

Her former husband, Curtis McConnell, who found the boys dead in the tub Monday, stifled his sobs in the front row of courtroom gallery.

Allyson McConnell, looking thin and drawn, stared at her lawyer as she took the witness box. She seemed stumped when her lawyer, Peter Royal, asked her age.

"I'm 33 years old, I believe," she said after a pause, explaining, "I haven't kept track of it recently."

Since the drownings, McConnell has made numerous suicide attempts.

McConnell attempted suicide for the first time after becoming pregnant by her own father at 15, she told the court, adding she subsequently had a miscarriage at 10 weeks and told no one about it.

"I didn't think my life was worth living," McConnell testified.

Bitter custody battle

Her former husband sat in the front row of the crowded courtroom, leaning forward as she began testifying about the start of their relationship.

McConnell said she met Curtis on his birthday in 2006 while both worked at a resort in British Columbia.

The McConnells were involved in difficult divorce proceedings and a bitter custody battle before the boys died. The couple had separated in March 2009, a month after Jayden was born.

Her pregnancy with Jayden was unexpected, she told the court Monday, adding she found out about it just as she landed a job in Leduc, Alta.

A judge prevented McConnell from returning to her native Australia with the boys three months before she killed them.

During the trial, McConnell has sat hunched over in the prisoner's box, not making eye contact with anyone. She only showed emotion when her ex-husband described finding the boys in a bathtub filled with water at the family's Millet home, 40 kilometres south of Edmonton.

Her psychiatrist is expected to testify this week followed by McConnell's sister and mother.


Alberta dad describes finding bodies of slain sons

WARNING: this story contains disturbing details

CBC News

March 13, 2012

An Alberta man told a Wetaskiwin court he dropped to his knees when he discovered the bodies of his two young sons floating in the family's bathtub two years ago.

On Feb. 1, 2010, police called to tell him his wife, Allyson McConnell, had fallen from an overpass in Edmonton, Curtis McConnell testified.

His first thought, he said at the murder trial of his now ex-wife, was "Where are the kids?"

He decided to go to the family home in Millet, Alta., 40 kilometres south of Edmonton, to check on them.

En route, he received a second call from police saying that Allyson had reassured them the children were being cared for by somebody at the house.

When McConnell arrived at the home at about 3:30 p.m., the television was blaring and all the lights were on.

Once inside, he realized no one was in the home, McConnell told the hushed courtroom.

He first checked the room of two-year-old Connor, McConnell said as he began to cry.

"It's dark. I'm feeling the pillows of where he slept," he said. "So I go to the next bedroom. The bed's empty."

He noticed the bathroom door was locked shut, which was unusual, as Connor was being potty trained, he said.

He jimmied the door open with a butter knife.

"I fell to my knees," he told the court.

After removing the boys from tub, he ran to a neighbour's home.

"My kids are dead," he recalled telling her. "Allyson killed them. I can't look at them, but I know they're dead."

Allyson McConnell, 33, is on trial in Wetaskiwin, Alta., for second-degree murder of sons Connor and 10-month-old Jayden.

The McConnells were amid difficult divorce proceedings and a custody battle.

The couple had separated one month after Jayden was born in March 2009.

At first, Curtis McConnell moved to the basement of the Millet home, but moving out eight months later when he filed for divorce.

Allyson wanted to take the boys with her to her native Australia, but her husband fought the move.

The custody battle grew increasingly bitter when a judge ruled the boys had to stay in Canada for the time being.

A forensic computer analyst testified Monday that police found internet searches on the hard drive of Allyson's computer from Jan. 13, 2010, asking, "How long does it take to drown?"

Another search on Feb. 1, 2010, the day the boys drowned, asked, "How long does it take to die from strangulation?"

A third search looked for information on how long it takes a person to overdose on sleeping pills.

Court was told Allyson remains on constant suicide watch — in a severe depression —while in custody at a psychiatric hospital in Edmonton.

The trial is expected to run for two weeks.


Alberta mom's state of mind at crux of murder trial

Note: this story contains disturbing details

CBC News

March 12, 2012

The murder trial of an Alberta woman accused of drowning her young sons has begun, two years after the two were found dead by their father in the bathtub of their Millet home.

Crown prosecutor Gordon Hatch told the court the case is not one of who, what, where or when, but of why. The case will come down to Court of Queen's Bench Justice Michelle Crighton deciding Allyson McConnell's state of mind when she drowned her two children, he said.

McConnell, 33, is charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of 10-month-old Jayden and Connor, 2. Their bodies were found by their father, Curtis McConnell, in the bathtub of their Millet home, 40 kilometres south of Edmonton, on Feb. 1, 2010.

On Monday morning, the accused, wearing a grey suit and looking solemn but alert, entered a not-guilty plea shortly after entering the Wetaskiwin courtroom.

Accused under suicide watch

Her lawyer, Peter Royal, told the court McConnell suffers from "significant depression" and needs to be under a constant suicide watch.

cConnell's mother, sister and grandmother sat on one side of the courtroom, while her former husband's father and sister sat on the other.

Curtis McConnell was not in the courtroom. He is scheduled to testify sometime this week.

The boys were last seen alive Jan, 29, 2010, when they went with others to a swimming play date in nearby Leduc, said Hatch. That night, McConnell tried to give away a number of items, including car seats, a computer and cameras, he said.

According to an agreed statement of facts, McConnell tried to commit suicide in the home after drowning the boys. She then drove to Edmonton, parking at the southside Toys "R" Us store and walking to the Delta Hotel to order lunch.

"She became emotional during her time at the hotel, so she left and walked back to the overpass where Calgary Trail passes over Whitemud Drive," the statement said. "She then jumped over the edge, falling into the eastbound lanes of Whitemud Drive."

McConnell fractured her collarbone, legs and pelvis.

Internet searches

Photos submitted as evidence suggest this wasn't her first suicide attempt. Police found electrical appliances submerged in a bathtub full of water. Alcohol and pill bottles were strewn across the floor and a rope was tied to a ceiling joist in the basement.

A forensic computer analyst testified that police found internet searches on the hard drive of McConnell's computer asking "How long does it take to drown?" and "How long does it take to die from strangulation?" Another search looked for information on how long it takes a person to overdose on sleeping pills.

The McConnells were separated and were involved in a custody battle, with Allyson angry at her husband for taking steps to ensure she could not return home to Australia, Hatch said.

McConnell wanted to move back to Australia with the boys, but their father refused. Three months before their deaths, a judge ruled the boys had to stay in Canada for the time being.

Curtis McConnell is expected to testify on Tuesday.

Allyson McConnell is being held at Alberta Hospital, a psychiatric facility in Edmonton.



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