Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

No hero in his home

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He describes himself as a loyal, proud soldier who has served his country with honour.But there is another side to this 25-year-old Winnipeg man. And as we heard in court this week, his actions with his own family have been anything but honourable.The man -who can't be named under a court order - admits he deliberately and brutally inflicted pain on his tiny triplet sons following their births last year.His so-called "explanation" for his actions is chilling, to say the least. As Crown attorney Jennifer Mann said in court, it appears that he believes the babies had some kind of personal vendetta against him."These three babies are screaming at me 24/7. I’m frustrated all the time. I know I’m hurting them… but they all set me off sometimes," he said.The father even told police he took steps to ensure the abuse wouldn't be discovered by his wife or anyone else."I would squeeze them because it didn’t leave a mark. That was my biggest concern," he said.You'd like to think a parent's biggest concern would be the well-being of their children. But the sad reality is there are plenty of people out there who are clearly unfit to raise children.I have all the sympathy in the world for the frustrations and struggles associated with raising children, especially little babies. As a father of two, my wife and I had many long days and nights where we seriously questioned what we'd gotten ourselves into.And I can only imagine the stress being felt in this family, where the arrival of triplets - in addition to a two-year-old boy - would have likely felt overwhelming at times.But no amount of strain should ever excuse a parent for harming their children.It will be a long time before I can get the horrible description of the triplets' injuries out of my head. They suffered a combined 19 broken bones and, in the words of their own father, likely would have ended up being murdered if not for police intervention.Crown attorney Jennifer Mann told court the man’s disconnect with his children was painfully obvious — he didn’t even know their birthdate and said he couldn’t tell them apart.“They’re just A, B and C to me,” he told police.He admitted to having a “horrible” temper and said their constant crying caused him to lash out. But he admits even little things — such as bad radio programs or even people staring at him — can set him off.“It doesn’t take much,” he said.The Crown now wants him to serve another 18 months in jail, in addition to nine months he’s already spent behind bars since his arrest.He is seeking to be released immediately. His lawyer will make submissions on Monday, and is expected to provide a laundry list of apparently explanations for his client's behaviour.The soldier will apparently cite a two-month stint in Kandahar in 2006 that may have left him suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.Family members told me last year the man — who works in maintenance and didn’t see any front-line duty — had trouble sleeping since his return.They also came forward to complain they had made repeated pleas for child-care assistance from the province and Canadian Forces that fell on deaf ears.The Crown admits there was a delay in getting respite care to the couple but said the father must ultimately take responsibility for his actions, which includes turning down other offers of assistance.The man also told police he’d previously abused his two-year-old son as a baby — incidents which would have pre-dated his trip to Afghanistan.It will be interesting to see what the judge decides to do with this case. Clearly the children are now out of harms way and apparently showing no long-term symptoms from their injuries. But should the father spend some more time behind bars?And what about his status with the Military? They have continued to support him since his arrest, including offering to have him stay on the Winnipeg base under 24-hour supervision if he were to be released on bail. A judge refused.Is he still fit to serve the country with "honour"?

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About Mike McIntyre

Journalist, national radio show host, author, pundit and cruise director ... Mike McIntyre loves to keep busy.

Mike is the justice reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press, where he has worked since 1997. He produces and hosts the weekly talk radio show Crime and Punishment, which runs on the Corus Radio Network in several Canadian cities.

Born and bred in Winnipeg, Mike graduated from River East Collegiate and completed his journalism studies in the Creative Communications program at Red River College.

He and his wife, Chassity, have two children.


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