The ex-wife of a Penticton man sentenced Oct. 15, to life in prison for the 2019 killing of four people, is speaking out.
Katherine Brittain said in her statement to the public (below) the day after the sentencing that she wishes the community to know she, “never wished any harm to any of the deceased victims.”
On Oct. 14 the Capital News reported that John Brittain killed his ex-wife’s four neighbours to stop them from ‘bullying’ her.
That day in a Kelowna Supreme Court room he pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder, for killing four of his ex-wife Katherine Brittain’s neighbours — Susan and Barry Wonch, Rudi Winter and Darlene Knippelberg, all of whom were in their 60s and 70s — in April 2019.
His ex-wife Katherine has been the subject of conversations questioning her involvement in the incident.
During the sentencing hearing, the daughter of a victim said to Brittain, “We know (Katherine) made you do it, you should just man up and tell the truth.”
Brittain interjected, “Kathy had nothing to do with this. You have no facts.”
The following statement was provided by Michael Welsh, lawyer for Katherine Brittain, on her behalf. Welsh explained the statement was released now that court proceedings are complete. Issuing a statement from her beforehand, he said, would not have been appropriate.
The statement is verbatim as follows:
Ms. Brittain remains shocked and saddened by the actions of John Brittain, whom she divorced in January 2014. Despite groundless rumours, she wishes the community to know that she never wished any harm to any of the deceased victims. She had no prior knowledge that Mr. Brittain intended to kill anyone, and never suggested that he do so. She was and remains devastated and appalled by these killings. The problems she had reported to the City of Penticton of two neighbours violating city bylaws were ones she was dealing with through proper channels with the city. She never wanted Mr. Brittain to be involved, and never imagined he could act as he did. Mr. Brittain’s actions destroyed the lives of the families of the victims, and Ms. Brittain’s own life. She cannot fathom how he could ever believe that, in taking these lives, he was somehow helping her. That he did so, thinking he was acting on her behalf, is a burden she will carry her whole life. The judge at his sentencing hearing this week stated she accepted as fact that no one, which includes Ms. Brittain, had any idea that Mr. Brittain would do what he did. As was acknowledged by Mr. Brittain in court, my client is also a victim of his actions. She has been terrorized, and her property has been significantly vandalized as a result of blame for his actions being baselessly attached to her. She only hopes that with Mr. Brittain taking proper responsibility for his actions, and the court sentencing him appropriately, the Penticton community can begin to heal and that people, particularly the families of the victims with whom she deeply sympathizes, will accept that she had no part in his horrific actions.
Michael Welsh, lawyer for Katherine Brittain
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