Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Monday, February 03, 2014

Serial Homicide

"This is a terrible case. You've shocked the community and you've shamed yourself. I have to remind myself to be dispassionate about this case."
"You have no criminal record. All three offences were committed while your mind was disturbed while giving birth. In law, your responsibility was diminished. You cooperated with police. It's also notable that without your admissions to police about the first babies, there would be no case against you."
Judge Peter McIntyre

"I have accepted what has happened and feel horrible about it. I will have to live with this.
"It was a tiny cry. It was like something took over me. It was like I wasn't in control.
"I wasn't normal."
Meredith Borowliec, Calgary
Borowiec's timeline fits the crimes in babies' deaths, prosecutor argues Video screen grab of a November 2011 interview between Meredith Borowiec and Calgary Police Detective Karla Malsam-Dudar  Photograph by: Calgary Police Service , Calgary Herald
"She knew she was pregnant. She knew what she did previously, she was lying about her actions and yet she proceeded in the same fashion. These are all aggravating factors that increase her moral blameworthiness."
Crown attorney Darren Maloney
This is a young woman, mature enough in years, who told no one she was pregnant on three occasions, not even her boyfriend, who had fathered all three of the children. These were babies she delivered herself, and by herself disposed of them the most expeditious way she could think of, by placing them in garbage bags and depositing them into trash containers. There is no trace of the previous two babies that were so incredibly disposed of by their mother.

On the third occasion when she yet again solved the problem of unwanted motherhood, it was her boyfriend, father of the babies, who happened to come along the street and who heard a cry coming from a Dumpster sitting close to the Calgary home he shared with the young woman, 32 years of age at the time of this incident when Meredith Borowiec discarded the third of the babies born to her in October of 2010. Ian Turnbull, Ms. Borowiec's long-term partner, the baby's father had no knowledge of the pregnancy.

During the trial the prosecution recommended she be sentenced to up to 12 years. The presiding judge, Justice Peter McIntyre, decided otherwise, and sentenced her to eighteen months in prison. In each instance, with all three babies born a year apart, they were each consigned to the very same Dumpster. In her interviews with police the mother acknowledged she had heard the babies cry before placing them in the trash bags that she dropped into garbage bins. Denying she had done anything to "hurt them" before disposal.

She was so disinterested in the babies she bore she hadn't even bothered to look at them, and had no idea before she wrapped her first-born in a towel, and then in a garbage bag whether it was a boy or a girl. And again, a year later the young mother, by then resorting to what would become a regular routine, consigned another baby to garbage status.  She had heard a noise "like a kitten", she said. And like an unwanted kitten, her baby was speedily disposed of, no one around her the wiser for what had occurred.

While in custody undergoing psychiatric assessment, she gave birth to yet a fourth child. Which was speedily taken into protective custody, as had been the third, rescued baby. This one too fathered by Mr. Turnbull. She was sentenced to three years probation on top of the eighteen month incarceration. One of the conditions of her sentence that she be required to use an Intrauterine Device, or another form of contraception. When she was asked by the judge to rise when he prepared to deliver her sentence, Judge McIntyre noted she had shown "genuine remorse".

Which seems, under the circumstances, an absurd, but hugely sympathetic conclusion. She was aware throughout her 2008, 2009 and 2010 pregnancies of her condition, but spoke not one word of it to anyone, much less her common-law husband. She and she alone made the decision to destroy three babies, consigning them to death in favour of loving nurturance.

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