Allyson McConnell, who admitted drowning her young sons in a bathtub in Canada, may have been sent into a final, fatal downward spiral after attending the christening of a friend’s baby, her lawyer says.
A body, believed to be McConnell’s, was found under a bridge on Wednesday near her home on the NSW Central Coast.
McConnell, 34, had made multiple attempts to end her life, including just hours after drowning her sons, two-year-old Connor and 10-month-old Jayden, in Alberta, Canada, in 2010.
Her Canadian lawyer, Peter Royal, said on Wednesday McConnell became emotional and despondent after she attended a friend’s baby’s christening in Australia recently.
“I guess it brought back thoughts of her own children’s christenings,” Royal told the Canadian Press.
Royal, who represented McConnell at her murder trial in Alberta last year, also said McConnell was concerned about an appeal lodged by Canadian prosecutors that could have led to her extradition from Australia to serve extra jail time.
The appeal was to be heard next month.
At her non-jury trial in Wetaskiwin a judge found McConnell guilty of manslaughter, not second-degree murder, and sentenced her to six years’ jail.
McConnell had battled depression throughout her life and at the trial admitted drowning her sons.
However, the judge who presided over the murder trial found there was not enough evidence to show that McConnell “had the specific intent to kill her children”.
With time already served credits, she spent just 10 months in the psychiatric ward of Alberta Hospital before being deported to Australia.
McConnell’s former husband, Curtis, was outraged she received such little jail time and an appeal of the conviction and sentence was scheduled to be heard next month.
Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis had previously said McConnell’s sentence was too lenient and if prosecutors were successful in increasing McConnell’s jail time via the appeal, the province would attempt to extradite her from Australia to serve it.
Royal has filed a complaint against Denis, a lawyer, with the Law Society of Alberta, suggesting his comments were out of bounds and violated the impartiality of his job.
“The attorney-general making comments didn’t help things with such a fragile person,” Royal said.
“These are comments she was aware of.”
Denis issued a written statement on Wednesday.
“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 wrote.
* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 and the Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.