Family meeting ministers, calls for public inquiry

Mourners comfort each other as they leave Colleen Sillito’s funeral at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 2090 Sherwood Drive, in Sherwood Park Alta. on Friday Oct. 9, 2015. (David Bloom/Postmedia Network)

The family of slain Fort Saskatchewan resident Colleen Sillito is calling for a public inquiry into the circumstances of her death.

The 46-year-old Sillito, a mother of five, was gunned down in her driveway around 6 a.m. Oct. 2 by her ex-boyfriend Paul Joseph Jacob, 54, who then fatally shot himself.

“Colleen was a victim of a series of escalating threats and violence,” says a statement issued by victim Colleen Lois Sillito’s family and penned by her brother, Jonathan. “She obtained a peace bond and contacted the Fort Saskatchewan RCMP many times when the bond was violated.”

“Alberta leads the country in the number of domestic violence homicides and homicide-suicides. Our family calls upon the Alberta government, Shannon Phillips, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women and Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General to address the urgent need to hold public inquiries into domestic violence homicides and homicide-suicides.

“We will be requesting that the government convene a public inquiry to examine the circumstances under which Colleen’s tragic death occurred and the urgent need for informed intervention to prevent domestic violence deaths in the future.”

Phillips and Ganley have agreed to meet with members of the family this week. Although they did not commit to a public inquiry, they acknowledged that the Alberta government could be doing more to prevent incidents of domestic violence.

In an interview with the Record, Sillito’s mother Joyce said the idea to push for a public inquiry sprouted when a daughter-in-law wondered aloud when domestic violence against women would end.

She emphasized that the family is not looking to place blame on anyone.

“We want this to be a focused, effective review of her case,” she said. “We’re not looking for blame although we do expect that if there is any way things were not followed (correctly), we’d expect that would receive proper attention.”

She said she’s been encouraged by the response from government officials and their ultimate goal is to help prevent this from happening to more families.

“We are calling for a public inquiry into the way it was handled from the very beginning … We know if any of the people involved thought her death would be the outcome, they would have done everything they could to prevent it.”

~Originally published in the Fort Saskatchewan Record 

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