Accused in Canada dismemberment trial had troubled childhood, his father says

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 31, 2014 3:13 PM

By Allison Lampert

MONTREAL (Reuters) - The Canadian man who killed and dismembered a Chinese student in 2012 was raised by a domineering mother who would get drunk on vodka and was obsessed with germs, the man's father testified on Friday, while describing himself as an alcoholic schizophrenic.

Luka Magnotta, 32, has admitted killing and dismembering engineering student Jun Lin, 33, and to videotaping the acts and mailing parts of the body to several addresses. He is pleading not guilty due to mental illness.

The 50-year-old father is a tall, heavyset man from Ontario who cannot be named because of a court-ordered publication ban.

He told the jury in a Montreal courtroom that Magnotta and Magnotta's younger brother and sister were taught at home by his ex-wife, Anna Yourkin. He said the children had no friends and never played with children their own age.

"She was very clingy," he said of his ex-wife. "She wanted to have total control over them."

Yourkin was a heavy drinker who had such a phobia of germs that she would not let the children use public washrooms, instead making them wait until they got home, the father said.

"They were very mixed-up kids and they still are," he told the court.

The prosecutor in the case says Magnotta had planned to kill a person for at least six months before the crime was committed, and that he had emailed a British journalist in 2011 saying he planned to kill and videotape the act.

The court has seen a video of the killing and dismemberment which added a suggestion of cannibalism to what is considered one of Canada's grisliest murder trials.

After the killing, Magnotta sent body parts from Montreal to two elementary schools in Vancouver and to two political parties in Ottawa, wrapping the hands and feet in pink tissue paper and including poems and notes.

Magnotta was the subject of an international manhunt. He was arrested in a Berlin Internet cafe, where hewas reading about himself.

Magnotta's father said he and Yourkin got married at age 17 and 16, respectively, when Yourkin got pregnant with Magnotta. They named the baby Eric Clinton Kirk Newman after actors Clint Eastwood and Kirk Douglas.

Magnotta, who later changed his name, grew up moving from town to town in Ontario and spent much of his childhood with an abusive maternal grandmother, the father said.

He said Magnotta started school in Grade 6 - when children are typically aged 11 or 12 - after the family was forced to move because they could no longer pay their mortgage.

The father, who said he lost two jobs because of his own drinking problems, added he was opposed to Magnotta being educated at home, but worked long hours and deferred to his wife.

He said he later managed to quit drinking and realized he had a psychiatric problem. "I heard voices, I felt like (committing) suicide," he said. "I felt angry."

(Writing by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson; and Peter Galloway)