Fatality inquiry: Lionel Desmond had complex mental health issues

Shanna and Lionel Desmond hold their daughter Aaliyah in a photo from the Facebook page of Shanna Desmond. (HO-Facebook/The Canadian Press)

A psychiatrist who saw Lionel Desmond twice before he fatally shot his wife, mother, daughter and then himself in 2017 told an inquiry Monday the former soldier clearly displayed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

However Dr. Ian Slayter said Desmond's mental health issues, assessed during two meetings in the fall of 2016, were far more complex than the one diagnosis.

Slayter told the fatality inquiry that the Afghanistan war veteran from rural Nova Scotia also suffered from major depression, a probable traumatic brain injury, possible attention deficit disorder and borderline delusions about his wife's fidelity.

The psychiatrist, who saw the former infantryman as an out-patient at St. Martha's Regional Hospital in Antigonish, N.S., said Desmond told him his PTSD symptoms had been subsiding but he said his jealousy toward his wife Shanna and nightmares about infidelity had been getting worse.

Slayter said when he first met Desmond on Oct. 24, 2016, Shanna was with him and did most of the talking, saying at one point she was not afraid of him, though she confirmed there had been a great deal of marital conflict.

Demond insisted he had never physically abused his wife. He complained about nightmares and lack of sleep.