Nova Scotia mass shooter’s wife tells her story at public inquiry

The Canadian Press

Posted Friday, July 15, 2022 5:24 a.m. EDT

Last updated Friday, July 15, 2022 at 5:24 a.m. EDT

The common-law wife of the man responsible for the Nova Scotia mass shooting began telling her story in public for the first time ahead of an inquest on Friday.

The inquest heard that Lisa Banfield was beaten and seriously injured by the killer just before he began his shooting spree on the night of April 18, 2020. She told police and inquest investigators that she escaped into the woods and then emerged to tell police her partner was still at large on the morning of April 19, 2020.

At the time, he was disguised as a constable and drove a vehicle that looked exactly like an RCMP cruiser.

The Board of Inquiry agreed to let Banfield testify without being cross-examined by lawyers representing other parties, primarily because she may be traumatized from having to relive the violence she endured.

Additionally, the three commissioners leading the inquiry recently ruled that Banfield would not face questions about the domestic violence she faced during her 19-year relationship with the killer.

Commission counsel Gillian Hnatiw asked Banfield a series of questions about the early stages of the couple’s relationship, which began in 2001 when they met at a bar in downtown Halifax.

Banfield said he showed up with two dozen long-stemmed roses on their first date. “I thought that was overkill,” she said, her voice a bit flat.

She also told how later that night she was impressed by his reaction when his car was rammed by a vehicle driven by a young woman. Banfield said he was polite and unfazed by the incident.

“I thought, ‘Well, he’s a good guy,'” she said.

Some family members of the victims are attending the hearing today, which is being held at a convention center in Halifax.

Banfield is accompanied by two of her sisters, Janice and Maureen.

Hnatiw then showed Banfield a series of photographs of the couple’s summer home and “warehouse” in Portapique. One of the images from inside the warehouse showed the killer’s replica RCMP cruiser.

Earlier this week, the commission released a document based on evidence provided by Banfield during interviews with the RCMP and the investigation detailing the killer’s long history of violence.

Attorney Michael Scott, whose firm represents the families of 14 of the victims, says the inquest’s decision to limit questioning will cast doubt on Banfield’s testimony.

During the 13 hours he was at large, the killer shot dead 22 people, including a pregnant woman and a gendarme. He was shot dead by two gendarmes on the morning of April 19, 2020.

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