Thursday, December 28, 2017

The most terrible thing that ever happened in NDG

   The most horrific thing that ever happened in NDG occurred on Hampton Ave. during World War II.
   It took place on  Dec. 30, 1943 between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the basement of 4193 Hampton. 
   Gordon R. MacLennan had left his home that day to his job at the Canada Car Munitions factory in what's now Le Gardeur 40 kilometres east of his home.
   The couple had been living with their son and two daughters in the semi-detached home for about five years.
   Edna Robinson MacLennan, 43, was alone with son Donald, 12, and daughters Miriam, 9 and Helen, 8.
   She invited the  youngest child to the basement where she shattered the girl's head with an axe.
   She removed the child's clothing, washed her body and tucked her in bed upstairs.
   She then summoned Miriam, who got the same treatment and was placed next to her sister.
   It was then Donald's turn and she ended his life with three strikes of the axe to the head.
   He was too heavy for her to transport so she left him on the stairs, where he was later discovered lifeless.
   Edna found that her daughter Miriam was still breathing so she called her family doctor Clifford Smith, who lived nearby but was at his Rotary Club luncheon.
   He came to the scene and was greeted by Edna MacLennan wearing a blood-soaked white negligee.
   He saw the two sisters in their bed and called for an ambulance.
    Miriam was rushed to the Montreal Neurological Institute but died en route due to a shattered skull, the same injury that killed the other two.
   She told investigators that she wanted the children to go to heaven.
   Others on the scene included John Martin Duckworth, who later told an inquiry that there was no doubt at all that Edna killed the children. Sgt. Det. Felix Prysky found the axe on the bloodstained basement floor. Coroner Rosario Fontaine was also on hand.
   Edna Robinson MacLennan was brought to the womens jail cells on Gosford where she stared at the floor for hours without moving.
   A coroner's jury declared her responsible for the deaths and she was charged with three counts of murder on Jan. 11.
   On February 15 she was declared unfit to stand trial and ordered to the Verdun Insane Asylum, now known as the Douglas Hospital.
   Her murderous behaviour was blamed on religious exaltation.
   Gordon MacLennan moved out of the home soon after, as Lovells directory indicates but the subsequent fate of both parents remains a mystery.
   The story had to compete for headlines with a couple of other local disasters, as four children died that night in a St. Lambert house fire, a young woman was blown up in a dentist office at the downtown Drummond Medical Building and a Montrealer killed his actress wife in Brooklyn.
   The home on Hampton was advertised as "great for a young family" when last sold in 2002.
    It fetched $417,000, which was $20,000 over asking price.
    Vendors have been obliged to disclose any violent death or suicide since 2012. Judges have routinely ordered vendors to compensate buyers generously if they were not told of such an event. .
Related: Stigmatized property: Quebec law backs the people who believe in ghosts

Stories like this fill the must-read Montreal: 375 Tales of Eating, Drinking, Living and Loving, order your paper copy here now or buy it at Indigo or Paragraph.


1 comment:

  1. What a story! Well done on the reporting!


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