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Teen who killed Hannah Leflar talked about self-harm as he was bullied in custody
Published Monday, May 15, 2017 2:09PM CST
Last Updated Monday, May 15, 2017 4:56PM CST
A Regina court heard testimony Monday from two people employed at the youth custody facility where a teenaged boy who killed Hannah Leflar has been in remand since the murder.
The defence called Michael McLean, deputy director of the Paul Dojack Youth Centre, during the sixth day of the 16-year-old boy’s sentencing hearing.
McLean said when the teen first arrived at the facility, he isolated himself from others, and did not participate in recreational activities.
At times, the teen would refuse to eat or would chose to eat in his room. McLean said the teen talked a lot about self-harm and depression. His mental state was a constant concern to staff members. Court heard that during the teen’s stay, he had one incident of self-harm.
McLean said the teen was bullied by other residents of the facility when he first arrived, but that the situation has improved over time. Out of the teen’s 852 days in remand, there have been two incidents in which he made threatening remarks to other residents.
While the teen still spends a lot of time alone, McLean said he now participates in activities, and makes more of an effort in interacting with others.
McLean said he has seen a ‘significant’ improvement in the teen’s behavior.
McLean said the teen was given a ‘most improved’ award for academics while he was within the centre. The teen has also participated in various programming at the centre.
Following McLean’s testimony, the defence called facility youth worker Karen Wadelius to the stand. Wadelius was the teen’s youth worker from the time he came to the centre in January 2015, until April 2016, when she moved to a different unit.
Wadelius’ testimony echoed much of McLean’s testimony. She said when the teen first arrived at the centre, he didn’t engage with others and didn’t talk much to staff.
During a bullying incident in March 2016, the teen said to Wadelius, “there is not one day that I don’t think about killing myself.”
He later told Wadelius, “don’t worry about me while I’m in remand. I’ll consider suicide when I know what my sentence is.”
Wadelius said the topic of suicide came up frequently. Extra staff was assigned to the teen on one occasion because of suicide concerns.
As time went on, the bullying decreased and the teen began participating in activities. He also performed chores, such as working in the kitchen and cleaning staff bathrooms. Wadelius said he completed these tasks to the best of his ability, but could have done a better job.
When Wadelius left to work in another unit, she kept tabs on the teen. She said he has gone from a loner, to someone who participates in recreational activities and has gained the respect of his peers. Wadelius said a part of this could be because the residents the teen had trouble with are no longer at the facility.
The sentencing hearing is expected to wrap up this week. The defence is expected to call an expert psychologist to the stand on Wednesday morning.