Public and community consultations are taking place in Renfrew County ahead of an inquest into the murders of three Ottawa Valley women.

Carol Culleton, 66, Anastasia Kuzyk, 36, and Nathalie Warmerdam, 48, were killed in Basil Borutski’s murderous rampage on Sept. 22, 2015. All three women had been in previous relationships with Borutski.

“There’s a rawness I would say, in Renfrew County, as the inquest approaches,” says Joanne Brooks, who is the coordinator at Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW), the group hosting the consultations.

“We could say that everyone in Renfrew County was affected by the murders on Sept. 22, 2015,” Brooks tells CTV News. “For all of us [that day] it was certainly shocking and there was a lot of fear.”

The inquiry is being held to look into the circumstances around the deaths and to make recommendations aimed at preventing further deaths.

Feminist lawyer Pamela Cross was brought in by EVAW to write the report that will be given to the jury as part of the inquest.

Along side expert evidence, Cross’s report will be the vehicle for the Ottawa Valley community to share their perspective on that tragic day and how they believe their community could be made better.

“It’s also important for the inquest to hear from the folks who live here, in a very direct way how this impacted them and how they think this could change,” says Cross.

Community activist Roberta Della-Picca attended Tuesday’s community consultation and revealed how the deaths of the three women made her realize how vulnerable the region is.

“Some of us have lulled ourselves into thinking we’re safer out in the country,” Della-Picca explains to CTV News. “The fact that one of the murdered women lived two kilometers down the highway from me was extremely startling for me.”

The inquest will take place in Pembroke from June 6 to 24 at the Best Western hotel.

Borutski was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Kuzyk and Warmerdam and one count of second-degree murder in the killing of Culleton in November 2017. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 70 years .


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