If Edward Livingstone’s convictions for arson and assault in Australia had been known, the murder of his two children and the chilling note that preceded it might have been prevented.
Last January, Livingstone, who then lived in New Zealand, murdered his 9-year-old son Bradley and 6-year-old daughter Ellen before turning the gun on himself. On Tuesday, an inquest into the three deaths finally began and opened with statements from Livingstone’s former wife Karen, who had escaped the shooting unharmed.
“He self-referred [to a psychotherapist] after realizing that his traumatic past was having an effect on his current life,” Karen said.
As a child, Livingstone reportedly was sexually abused at a boys’ school in Sydney and had a violent father. His mother left the family when he was still young. As a result, the psychotherapist concluded that Livingstone had reverted to a “disassociated state that incapacitated his state of awareness” to protect himself.
In 2013, Livingstone began to break down after reporting to the psychotherapist that his dog had died.
“He had not experienced emotion such as this since he was a small boy,” the psychotherapist stated. “After that he realized that his anxiety would build until it exploded.”
The clinicians working with Livingstone, however, were reportedly unaware of his previous arson and assault charges and said that knowledge of those events might have changed how they treated him.
Livingstone began drinking heavily just weeks before his marriage ended. At a later session, he reported that he had breached a protection order from seeing Karen after raping her.
On January 15, 2014, Livingstone finally cracked. In the afternoon, he attended a supervised visit with his children, then took his car to BP to fill it up with gas as well as a red container. Four hours later, Livingstone drove to his former home and walked inside carrying a double-barrelled, 12 gauge, Stoeger semi-automatic shotgun and the can of petrol.
By 10 p.m., both he and his children were dead.
Investigators later found a note Livingstone had written just before his crime, pondering why his ex-wife wouldn’t let him see his children. It was signed with his extravagant signature.
The note reads:
Why couldn't Kathy just let me see and spend time with my children? That's all I wanted, Don't care about the separation and the house. Just Bradley and Ellen!! I will be with them now.
Photo Credit: Gerard O'Brien/The Press