Tuesday, June 10, 2008

National Post: Mental illness alone can’t explain murder-suicides

From the National Post:

Linda Nguyen, Canwest News Service Published: Friday, May 30, 2008

OTTAWA -- Mental illness alone seldom explains why some people kill their spouses and children, according to Canadian experts in psychology and family homicide.

Sources told the Calgary Herald that Joshua Lall -- who killed five people, including himself, inside an upscale Calgary home earlier this week -- recently reported hearing voices and thought he was possessed by the devil.

Calgary police confirmed late Friday that Lall stabbed his family to death, along with a tenant in his home, on Wednesday morning.

But Martin Daly, a professor in neuroscience and behaviour at McMaster University in Hamilton, said mental illness is seldom enough to drive someone to kill his whole family.

"People with major psychiatric disorders are scarcely more violent than the rest of the population," Mr. Daly said Friday. "They are commanded by the voices to do things like jump in front of a train [or] leap out of a window because they think they can fly - or go to the top of a mountain because they believe they will be taken away by a flying saucer.

"Guys who off their whole family are typically not mentally ill. They've decided to do this over some period of brooding and made a plan."

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