NOTE: The primary article containing the most complete overview of the John Brittain case can be found here.
On Wednesday, October 14, 2020, mass murderer John Brittain pleaded guilty to the execution-style murders of Rudi Winter, Darlene Knippelberg, Susan and Barry Wonch.
Brittain’s rationale for the murders?
He wanted them to stop bullying his ex-wife, Katherine Brittain.
The so-called bullying was, as far as I can discern from news reports, their daring to respond to the many frivolous bylaw infraction charges levied against them by Katherine Brittain.
This series of petty complaints led to the murder of four innocent people.
Despite the Crown’s request for no parole for 40 years (10 years for each murder, running consecutively) B.C. Supreme Court Justice Alison Beames sentenced John Brittain to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Brittain will be eligible for parole when he is 92, and will almost definitely die behind bars.
Katherine Brittain released the following statement through her lawyer, Michael Welsh.
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.