Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Shawn Lamb apologizes ... to you

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Blame the child-welfare system. 

That, above all else, appears to be the underlying import of a handwrittem "apology to the public" letter Shawn Lamb scribbled while in police custody for the killings of Lorna Blacksmith and Carolyn Sinclair in June 2012. 

It was one of three such letters he wrote, the other two to the families of the victims. I won't share those here because I doubt they, or you, would wish to read them. They're largely self-serving. 

But maybe, just maybe, the Manitoba public would like to see what Lamb had to say to them when police offered him a chance. 

Here it is, as best transcribed as possible from his handwriting. 

Bear in mind as you read it, however, that Lamb was an individual who, despite the acknowledged disadvantages of his upbringing, was also offered many, many legitmate chances to turn his severely drug-addled and unbroken criminal lifestyle around. He never did and now two women are dead.

He himself estimates he's only spent eight of his adult years (he's 54 now) out of custody. 

"I am terribly troubled and damaged individual, some may say the product of a broken children's aid system that put a child in harms way, hoping good will come from the decisions they make concerning the child.

I can say sadly from my own experience this is not the case for myself.

My childhood was one full of all types of abuses. I grew up damaged and lost running away, using drugs to escape ... only this only lead to furthering my own hurt.

...Shame and hurting others, the addiction to drugs and alcohol provide me provide no escape from oneself or pain. They just lead to damage, insanity and harm the communities so terribly.

People all need to use your voices about how terrible drugs are and the damage they cause.  

Use your eyes and voices to keep the children's aid system and check. Already too many and many children
have come to such terrible harm and death while others have grown up causing harm and death.

If anything good can come out of my terrible life and the harm I have caused may it go to the cause of (ridding)
drugs from society and the abuse of children.  

Demand these things of your politicians, of your communities, of yourselves and of all agencies
that deal in children. Whatever life I have left I commit to this."

-30-

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About James Turner

James Turner rejoined the Free Press as a justice-beat reporter in August 2013 after a number of years away working at other media outlets, including the Winnipeg Sun and CBC Manitoba.

A reporter in Winnipeg since 2005, he got his first taste of the justice beat as a former Free Press intern, then as the newspaper's police reporter from 2008-09.

Among the topics he's eager to cover are youth crime, street gangs, child-welfare and how the mental health and justice systems intersect.

An avid blogger and early adopter of Twitter, James (@heyjturner) loves to write long, much to the frustration of his editors.

He despises animal cruelty. He loves 80s music and his tubby labrador retriever.

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