Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A beautiful article about Kelly-Anne

Her dream was 'to stay young forever': Something was wrong, but parents felt hopeless in face of abuse. 'I couldn't reach her,' victim's mother says

By Sue Montgomery

The Gazette, April 11, 2006

The photograph shows a smiling young woman, a guide book and map of Italy clutched under her left arm, a camera around her neck, and behind her, the imposing statue of Neptune watching over the Trevi Fountain in Rome.

She's beaming, as any 24-year-old would on her first trip to Europe. Her right hand is raised, in position to toss a coin over her broad swimmer's shoulders into the famous water behind her.

Just a few weeks later, after her violent death at the hands of her boyfriend, Kelly-Anne Drummond's parents would discover her wish carefully recorded in her travel diary: "To stay young forever."

- - -

At 10:58 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2004, John Drummond's phone rang in his Pierrefonds house. Picking up, he heard the distraught voice of Micheline Morin-Cousineau, the mother of Kelly-Anne's boyfriend, Marty.

She was crying, saying Kelly-Anne was in the hospital, but Drummond couldn't get any details."She just said, 'Marty hit Kelly-Anne'," he recalls. "She said, 'Je m'excuse, je m'excuse.'

"Panicked, Drummond called his ex-wife, Doreen Haddad-Drummond, who, sound asleep, didn't respond at first, thinking the ringing was part of a dream. Dazed, she picked up. John said, "Kelly-Anne's been hit."

She called their friends, Jay and Val Ayerst, then she and her partner, Jules Seguin, ran outside to await their arrival. They flagged down a passing police cruiser, and once the Ayersts arrived, Jay Ayerst and Seguin spoke with the officers."

They came back to us in the car and there was dead silence," Haddad-Drummond recalls. "They said, 'They're escorting us downtown.' I knew at this point this was something terribly horrible."

- - -

John Drummond headed to the Lakeshore General Hospital - the closest place to start looking for his daughter. But the receptionist insisted Kelly-Anne wasn't there and after a bit of digging, informed Drummond she had been transferred to the Montreal General Hospital."

I almost died on the spot because there are two trauma units in Montreal and one is at the General," he recalls.

Heading east on Highway 20, his mind racing, he got caught in a construction maze, and ended up lost. But when he finally reached the General, the first thing he asked the doctor was, "Is my daughter alive?"

"Yes," came the answer. "But she's been attacked and has a knife in her head. We had to shave her head and she's breathing on an apparatus in emergency."

- - -

A year earlier, Kelly-Anne , a fresh communications graduate of Concordia University and, always a sports buff, was working as a lifeguard in an apartment building on Gouin Blvd. in Pierrefonds when she struck up a conversation with one of the tenants.

She invited her mom to meet Martin Morin-Cousineau and the three had coffee and Key lime pie at Rockaberry's on Sources Blvd."

He seemed cute, they seemed cute together," Haddad-Drummond recalls."

He was very nice."

But with time, Kelly-Anne's parents started feeling uneasy about their daughter's new beau: He'd sleep in till late in the afternoon and he didn't seem to have steady work, despite claims of having a business degree from McGill University.

He had no interest in her friends or her sports, preferring TV and beer instead.

But most worrisome was when Kelly-Anne asked to borrow her father's car to go to the police station and ask about Morin-Cousineau's past. Her dad offered to accompany her, but, as always, she said she could handle it on her own.

All the police told her, according to John Drummond, was that Morin-Cousineau had parking violations, although his record shows there was a restraining order against him for having made death threats in 2002 against another woman.

A few months later, during the Grey Cup game, Morin-Cousineau called Drummond's house "at least 25 times between 8 and 10 p.m., looking for Kelly-Anne," Drummond recalls.

But when her parents raised their concerns with her, Kelly-Anne brushed them off."She said, 'Don't worry, Mom'," Haddad-Drummond recalls. "She'd say, 'He's travelled to Europe, he's done this, he's done that,' he's so friggin' perfect."

hy would you think any different?"

- - -

A year later, the couple decided to move in together and signed a lease for a place on Pierrefonds Blvd.

Haddad-Drummond remembers her daughter being excited about fixing up her very first apartment. The two went shopping at the Bay for a set of Lagostina pots and pans. Both sets of parents pitched in, helping with the painting.

But the nagging doubts continued in her parents' minds. One night, Kelly-Anne asked her dad if she could spend the night at his place.

The next morning, he decided to confront his daughter.

"OK, what's going on with you and Marty?" Drummond asked her.

He recalls her saying that everything was fine, it was just that she wasn't used to their bed or the noise from the street. Drummond didn't believe her, since the bed had been one she'd slept on at her mom's place.

When pushed, Kelly-Anne blew up at her dad, saying she didn't want to talk about it.

- - -

Five weeks after moving in with Marty, Kelly-Anne couldn't find any of her photos on her computer and called her mom's partner to come over and help her.

He and Haddad-Drummond arrived at the apartment, only to find it in the chaotic mess it was the day they'd moved in. Seguin inspected the computer and concluded the files had been deliberately deleted by someone and were irretrievable."

Marty was still in bed and it was about 5 o'clock, close to suppertime," Haddad-Drummond remembers."

We had the sensation we were overstaying our welcome and that Kelly-Anne wanted us to leave."

Then Morin-Cousineau walked past them, without saying hello, into the bathroom and closed the door behind him."

We left and I felt very low," Haddad-Drummond recalls. "There was something desperately wrong and I couldn't pin it down.

"I couldn't reach her."

It got to the point where Kelly-Anne never invited her parents over, and when they dropped by unannounced, she'd open the door just a crack."

This is what breaks my heart," Haddad-Drummond says. "Here she is with this brand new apartment, a new set of pots and pans, all new appliances, ceiling fans and lights, and she looked so happy and excited," she said. "I know she would've loved to have had us over - she was a real Martha Stewart."

But we were never invited."

- - -

On Sept. 15, 2004, Kelly-Anne flew to Italy alone for a life-guarding competition. There, she confided in teammate Philippe Major that things weren't going that well with Morin-Cousineau, and that he'd threatened to kill her if she took the trip. Morin-Cousineau had booked her ticket for her during his most recent job as a travel agent, but threatened to cancel it several times.

In one of the MSN Messenger exchanges during the trip, Morin-Cousineau told his girlfriend he liked the fact when he got home from work, she wasn't in the apartment waiting to fight with him.

"I said she could stay there as far as I'm concerned," Morin-Cousineau admitted during his trial.

After 12 days of sightseeing and competing, Kelly-Anne's father picked her up at the airport in Dorval, but as the two entered her apartment, Morin-Cousineau didn't even get off the couch to greet her.

Drummond kissed and hugged his daughter goodbye and at the same time, whispered in her ear: "Do you want to go?"

When she said no, Drummond said: "If you feel you have to go, call me and I'll be here as soon as I can."

Drummond recalls his daughter's answer, which haunts him to this day. "No, Dad, I'll be fine."

- - -

Five days later, Kelly-Anne had dinner at her dad's place, regaling him with stories about her trip and presenting him with a bottle of Italian wine and a green tie with blue flecks that she had brought home with her.

She called Haddad-Drummond from her father's place and told her she'd bought her underwear and portraits she'd brought from Italy for her coming 50th birthday on Oct. 17.'

"How's Marty?" Haddad-Drummond remembers asking her daughter.

"You know, Mom," she recalls Kelly-Anne saying. "I have to be more respectful of him."

Haddad-Drummond remembers wanting to say, "Like hell. You were brought up to respect people, you don't need to learn that at 24." But she bit her tongue.

"That's the last time I spoke to her."

- - -

The following day, Oct. 3, the couple's landlord came to the door in the afternoon to say the couple still owed $30 on that month's rent, then left. Drummond asked Morin-Cousineau why he hadn't paid it. Her nagging, he told court, started to get on his nerves, and he yelled from the couch in the living room, where he sat watching television and eating, "F---! Enough!"

On the recorded 911 call made at 8:08 p.m., Morin-Cousineau's panicked voice is heard saying: "We got in a little bit of a fight. I went ... I got mad ... I got mad. I went to throw ... she got scared, she sort of slipped, fell into the stove."

Minutes later, paramedics found her lying face-up on the kitchen floor in a massive pool of blood. There was a 9.5-centimetre steak knife blade lodged inside her neck, the snapped-off handle on the counter.

- - -

Outside Kelly-Anne's room at the hospital, Haddad-Drummond remembered, she held the shoulders of a young female police officer - who didn't look any older than Kelly-Anne - shaking her and saying: "Listen to your mother."

The other officer guarding the room had tears in her eyes, and when Haddad-Drummond asked why, she replied: "My sister is going through the same thing" as Kelly-Anne.

In fact, Haddad-Drummond's two daughters, Kim and Kelly-Anne, had always listened to her, and rarely gave their parents a hint of trouble. She'd sew them matching outfits in different colours, the two attended Brownies and Guides, were altar girls at the local Anglican church and were heavily into sports, especially swimming and rugby. In 2003, Kelly-Anne won the Canadian Surf Ski Championship.

How, she couldn't help wonder, had it come to this? That her baby was on a stretcher, her life taken from her by someone she apparently worshipped?

What the family learned from doctors was next to impossible to accept. The knife blade had severed Kelly-Anne's spinal cord, turning her immediately into a quadrapalegic and making it impossible for her to breath without a machine."

I remember lying beside her the night of the 4th," Haddad-Drummond said, sitting out the excruciatingly long wait for a verdict."

Her body felt so warm and comfortable and normal and her colour was good but, of course, she was hooked up to all kinds of machines."

As the hours passed, the machines showed Kelly-Anne's heart rate increasing.

"I didn't want my poor baby to explode, to have a heart attack."

- - -

At 3:30 in the afternoon on Oct. 5, Kelly-Anne's parents decided to remove the machines. John couldn't bring himself to be in the room.

Of course, the Drummond family is tormented by what ifs and if onlys. They scan her coveted diary of her trip to Italy for hidden clues, examine her face in the photos, to no avail.

"I don't know what we could have done to avoid this," Haddad-Drummond said, letting out a deep sigh.

"There are things I did see, but I had never experienced conjugal violence myself."

If I knew then what I know now, I think Kelly-Anne would be alive. But what could I do? I couldn't kidnap her."

smontgomery@thegazette.canwest.com

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