Australian media reports that mother who drowned two young sons commits suicide

EDMONTON – There are media reports in Australia that a woman convicted of manslaughter in the drowning deaths of her two sons in a small Alberta town has committed suicide.

The Daily Telegraph in Sydney says a woman’s body discovered beneath a bridge in West Gosford is believed to be that of Allyson McConnell.

The newspaper says a member of the public discovered the body and a crime scene has been established, but the death is not considered suspicious.

Australian police have issued a statement saying the woman has not been formally identified and a post mortem will be done to establish the cause of death.

McConnell was given a six-year prison sentence after her sons Connor, two, and 10-month-old Jayden were drowned in a bathtub in 2010 in the family home in Millet, south of Edmonton.

She served 15 months in a psychiatric hospital after taking into account time served before her trial and was deported to Australia shortly after she was released April 4.

The children were found by their father, who was involved in an acrimonious divorce and custody fight with McConnell.

The same day the father found his boys, she drove to Edmonton, jumped off a freeway overpass and seriously injured herself.

Her trial was told McConnell had a history of depression and suicide attempts that began when her father got her pregnant when she was 15.

She testified she would try to kill herself again because she didn’t want to get well.

A psychiatrist testified McConnell likely meant to kill herself but was so close to her children that she considered their lives extensions of her own.

Alberta Justice officials had said the province intended to appeal both McConnell’s conviction and sentence.

Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis said if the Crown was successful in persuading the courts to increase McConnell’s sentence, the province would try to extradite her from Australia to serve more time.

“Mental illness makes victims of all,” deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk tweeted late Tuesday. “Sad end to what already was a tragedy.”

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.