Federal government to pay for funeral of four people slain in Nova Scotia

Ottawa pays for funeral of NS family members

OTTAWA — The federal government confirmed it will pay for the funerals of four people found dead in a Nova Scotia home last Tuesday.

However Veteran’s Affairs officials would not elaborate further Saturday on details of the payment for the services for Lionel Desmond, his wife, mother and daughter.

Media reports quote family members as saying they were told Saturday afternoon that the government would cover funeral costs.

Police have said Desmond shot his 31-year-old wife Shanna, their 10-year-old daughter Aaliyah and his mother Brenda Desmond, 52, in their home in Upper Big Tracadie before killing himself.

Family members have said the former soldier was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after a tour in Afghanistan in 2007, and had received treatment from the military.

An online fundraising campaign to help pay for the Desmond family’s funeral expenses had raised nearly $22,000 in donations by Saturday evening. The gofundme.com campaign  aimed at raising $30,000.

Obituaries posted on an Antigonish funeral home website said a visitation for Desmond and his mother was to be held on Tuesday in Tracadie, N.S. Funeral services were planned for Wednesday. There was no immediate word on the arrangements for Desmond’s slain wife and child.

The obituary for Lionel Desmond said he “succumbed to the tortures of PTSD” relating to his service in Afghanistan. It described him as having a friendly demeanour and a contagious smile.

His mother’s obituary described her as an “avid bingo player” who was well known for her smile and laughter.

A candlelight vigil was held in Upper Big Tracadie Saturday night to mourn the deaths of the family members.

Global News reported that dozens of people gathered for the event to remember the Desmond family.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misspelled the first name of Desmond’s wife.

Canadian Press