Testimony at the first day of a coroner’s inquest into the deaths of a Prince Rupert mother and her son has put the spotlight the struggles that BC families face when it comes to caring for children with autism.
Angie Robinson and her son Robert were found dead in their Prince Rupert home in April of 2014. RCMP determined that she had killed her son before taking her own life.
Monday morning’s testimony began with Angie’s sister, Michelle Watson, who described Angie’s troubled childhood and rocky relationship with her partner and Robert’s father, Robert Mutch.
Watson opened her testimony with by describing Angie and Robert’s life and her sister’s difficulties coping with an inadequate support network.
She told jurors Angie struggled to access services for Robert, who was diagnosed with severe autism at three years old. The jury also hear that Robert had a history of severe self harm as well as harming his mom.
Her testimony ended with her reading Angie’s last note to her family telling them she loved them but could no longer cope with Robert’s growing needs.
Next to speak was Robert Mutch, Angie’s partner and Robert’s father. He spoke fondly of his son, describing him as a perfect beautiful child.
But he also spoke of the difficulty they had in caring for him, telling the inquest just his son was not toilet trained until he was twelve, and that the walls were full of holes from Robert banging his head against them.
Mutch also said Robert grew to the point where even he had difficulty physically controlling him.
Despite the apparent tension between both Robert Mutch and Michelle Watson, both expressed hope the inquest would bring about change so other families will get more support.