Impact Statement by Gayle Hanscom after losing her husband Don.

My name is Gayle Hanscom and I am one of the victims of Murray McClenhagan. Please understand that my fear of Murray is real and I am appearing at this Parole Board hearing today in the hopes that he will not be granted Escorted Temporary Absences.

In this statement I was advised that I am to talk about the effects of my husband’s murder has had on our family. This murder left me a widow and now a single parent of a large family who depend on me for guidance, support, safety and love. I feel boxed in by the very delivery of this statement, knowing he has read it. I have been careful to not say anything he can use to hurt my family or me. I am compelled to be here today to honour my husband Don, to advocate for justice and the protection of my family.

The mere act of receiving a letter from the Parole Board has left me unable to cope with daily life and in overwhelming pain - like the pain when I was told of Don’s murder. I am sentenced to experiencing a lifetime of trauma and pain as result of Murray actions.. As positive things happen for me, they are forever tainted by Murray’s actions and the knowledge that he will continue to apply for release and one day will become eligible for release and at that time the safety of my family and myself will be at risk.

Murray McClehagan was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, but I received a life sentence…… Our family, without warning or choice, have been forced, by another person’s cowardly act of violence, to bear this cross of endless pain, anger and frustration. 

I am shocked that so early into his sentence and only 2 years from his last appeal, his arrogance and delusional beliefs have him asking for an Escorted Temporary Absence. An Escorted Temporary Absence is a privilege. By entertaining the possibility of granting Murray one. The Correction Service of Canada will inadvertently fuel his delusions that he has a diminished responsibility, while at the same time allowing him to once again victimize my family and I. Indeed all of society will be victimized and left in fear if he is granted this privilege. It calls into question for our community, why a man sentenced by a judge to 14 years imprisonment with no chance of parole following a brutal murder is out in the community after serving so little time.

The day Murray murdered Don, Don had done nothing wrong. The papers for the sale of the business were to be signed early that morning. Murray chose instead to take careful aim at Don’s back, he took aim and fired once then a 2nd shot into Don’s back, he then deliberately paused and took his final aim in what Police testified as an ‘execution style head shot’.

He betrayed a friend of 20 years. Don and I vacationed with Murray and his wife, they attended our daughter’s wedding, he was frequently in our home and we in his.

During the process surrounding the appeal process in 2006, there were several hours when the whereabouts of Murray were unknown. We were not entitled to know if he was in custody or out. The absolute panic and fear this caused my entire family is to this day indescribable. We were all going to move to a hotel until we knew where he was. 

Following his murder of Don, Murray was unwilling and uncooperative in assisting and helping to clear up the business matters of the company. His malicious, vengeful, controlling behaviour impacted not only my family it has had a rippling effect into the community.

Don’s mom is 87 years old and a broken woman. She lost her son – a twin. Every time one of these hearings comes up, it takes a toll on her health. She worries about our wellbeing and the safety of our entire family. She keeps asking where is the justice for her son and her family. 

I am afraid to even mention our grandchildren’s names, ages or any details. I am fearful of any knowledge Murray has about our family. His actions resulted in one of our grandchildren having frequent nightmares and an inability to be alone. He is terrified to this day that someone will harm someone else in his family. This is the same child when he was younger was terrified that when the bad man got out of jail he would go to heaven and kill his grandpa again. What a horrible way to have to grow up, with the fear of someone you knew murdering someone you loved dearly. What will his reaction be when he learns that man who killed his grandpa has been given the privilege of a Temporary Escorted Absence. How as family do we help him experience a just and moral world?

When our grandson started playing hockey, his sibling would watch other children with their grandfathers. He would watch this and go over and sit by the grandfather and asks if he could be his grandpa too. When asked about his grandpa – he stated my grandpa was shot. How do you explain this to Don’s grandchildren that he was murdered by someone we all knew and trusted. A man that had been trusted by the community as well. 

My life will never be the same, I worry constantIy about my family. Will they be safe should they trust anyone. I know I have an extremely hard time trusting anyone. I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I experience flashbacks, sleep disturbance, panic attacks and continue to regularly seek mental health support. When I hear or read about a murder my heart breaks because their hell is just beginning. They have also received a life sentence.. My trust and faith in people and society is tested daily.

My children and grandchildren are the reason I get up in the morning they are the sunshine in my life. When I had to tell them they would have to endure another hearing it devastated them once again. They just cannot move on because Murray puts their lives back in hell time and time again. He never stops all he cares about is his self. As their mother I am suppose to help them and protect them. I don’t know how and it breaks my heart. Again I feel guilty that I could not protect Don and now my children and grandchildren how will I protect them, its a horrible reality I live in. I feel so helpless to see how our daughters have suffered because of their dad’s murder. Their world was shattered. They all counted on him for so many things. Now they live in constant fear for their families. 

One of my biggest fears in losing some else I love. Even though my children are adults they still have to check in with me especially if they are traveling. If they forget I have a panic attack thinking something horrible has happened to them. They rarely forget knowing that this sends me into a tailspin. 

I was away when I received the life changing news that Don had been murdered. So now when I travel and my cell phone rings I cannot describe the fear, panic and anxiety that takes over my mind. I freeze and when I answer I expect it to be someone telling me I have lost another loved one. 

When you drop a glass and it shatters, that is what my life looks like. Broken pieces all over and I am left trying to put them back together. That describes my reality. When I get a few pieces put back they are shattered again by one of these hearings.

Murray has shown time and time again a lack of insight into his own behaviour. His failure to take responsibility for his actions has forever bonded myself and my family to the trauma of a murder and the murderer – Murray. Murray’s solution to common life problems was to shoot his long trusted friend and business partner in the back, three times, then to leave him alone and dead.

It is difficult to believe Murray has made such monumental progress in his thinking and problem solving ability, that he is no longer a danger to society. His lack of insight and remorse will result in him harming others. This causes continued worry and fear for my family and I. 

Murray is a bully and has never shown remorse. He is a cold blooded murderer who didn’t think twice about murdering a friend, The only remorse he has shown is for himself – suggesting that Don’s murder has been difficult on him. 

Don was a kind, caring, fun loving and loving husband, dad, grandfather, son, uncle and friend to all who knew him. He had a wonderful sense of humour. He was your neighbor next door, an everyday law abiding person. He was good and honest, he had never been in trouble with the law. The day he was murdered I lost the love of my life, my best friend and soul mate. His daughters and son-in-laws (he called them his sons) loved and counted on him and were best friends. Don loved his daughters they were his princesses all he ever wanted was for them to be happy, healthly and find someone who would love and take care of them and they did. His two best friends where his son-inlaws. He was a person that put his family first. Everything he did he did was for his family. His two grandsons loved and adored their grandpa and he loved them back they were the sun, moon and the stars to him. They were his world and he was theirs.

Today, Don does not get to attend Birthdays, Christmas, Hockey games or golf. We will not grow together. He did not get to hold many of our grandchildren as infants and they only get to hear stories of their wonderful loving grandpa. He does not get to come on family holidays, my life has completely changed. I still wake up on my birthday and peek under my pillow – hoping he will have left me a card.

Don’s love for his family, passion for life and fun loving spirit will live forever in our hearts. One thing Murray you will never be able to do is take away the memories we have of a wonderful man.

The Parole Board of Canada has a responsibility for public safety. The public includes the community and the victims of Murray. Not only has he offended violently and taken the life of my husband, but he continues to re-victimize myself and my family by repeatedly forcing us to endure various criminal and civil processes as well as hearings through the Alberta Review Board and now the Parole Board of Canada. In my opinion, this is due in large part to Murray’s lack of insight into his behaviour and his failure to take responsibility for his actions. He is a spiteful, prideful and controlling man and I fear that this lack of insight will result in him harming others in the future, possibly even myself or my family.

I am at a loss to understand how Murray could be allowed to go to on a Temporary Escorted Absence – be it to a funeral, to visit an ill relative, a wedding, a birth, career counselling or god forbid shopping or golf. 

I beg you not to release Murray at this time on a Temporary Escorted Absence, if you do then I would ask that he have no contact, direct or indirect with myself, my family or my friends. I do not want him in the Edmonton area.

Gayle Hanscom

Don’s widow.