Canada dismemberment killer had troubled childhood, his father says

MONTREAL (Reuters) - The Canadian man who killed and dismembered a Chinese student in 2012 was raised by a domineering mother who would get drunk on vodka and was obsessed with germs, the man’s father testified on Friday, while describing himself as an alcoholic schizophrenic.

An artist's sketch shows Luka Rocco Magnotta, appearing in court for his preliminary hearing in Montreal, March 12, 2013. REUTERS/Atalante

Luka Magnotta, 32, has admitted killing and dismembering engineering student Jun Lin, 33, and to videotaping the acts and mailing parts of the body to several addresses. He is pleading not guilty due to mental illness.

The 50-year-old father is a tall, heavyset man from Ontario who cannot be named because of a court-ordered publication ban.

He told the jury in a Montreal courtroom that Magnotta and Magnotta’s younger brother and sister were taught at home by his ex-wife, Anna Yourkin. He said the children had no friends and never played with children their own age.

“She was very clingy,” he said of his ex-wife. “She wanted to have total control over them.”

Yourkin was a heavy drinker who had such a phobia of germs that she would not let the children use public washrooms, instead making them wait until they got home, the father said.

“They were very mixed-up kids and they still are,” he told the court.

The prosecutor in the case says Magnotta had planned to kill a person for at least six months before the crime was committed, and that he had emailed a British journalist in 2011 saying he planned to kill and videotape the act.

The court has seen a video of the killing and dismemberment, which added a suggestion of cannibalism to what is considered one of Canada’s grisliest murder trials.

The father, who said he lost two jobs because of his drinking problems, said he later managed to quit drinking and realized he had a psychiatric problem.

“I heard voices, I felt like (committing) suicide,” he said. “I felt angry.”

The father said he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic manic depressive and hospitalized about 10 years ago, when was hearing two or three older male voices telling him to hurt himself and others.

He said he took Magnotta to see his own psychiatrist due to fears that his son was also hearing voices.

After the killing, Magnotta sent body parts from Montreal to two elementary schools in Vancouver and to two political parties in Ottawa, wrapping the hands and feet in pink tissue paper and including poems and notes.

Magnotta was the subject of an international manhunt. He was arrested in a Berlin Internet cafe, where he was reading about himself.

Magnotta’s father said he and Yourkin got married at age 17 and 16, respectively, when Yourkin got pregnant with Magnotta. They named the baby Eric Clinton Kirk Newman after actors Clint Eastwood and Kirk Douglas.

Magnotta, who later changed his name, grew up moving from town to town in Ontario and spent much of his childhood with an abusive maternal grandmother, the father said.

Writing by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Peter Galloway