Just hours after the man accused of killing Eleanor (Ele) Anthonysz and the attempted murder of her two children appeared in Supreme Court in Chilliwack, family members of the slain women and other activists gathered outside the courthouse to call for an end to family violence.
Walter Joseph Ramsay is accused of killing Anthonysz, his ex-girlfriend, and trying to kill her 11-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son by setting their Hatzic-area mobile home on fire in April. Ramsay also faces one count of arson.
Ramsay was scheduled to enter a guilty plea and appear for sentencing Friday, but the appearance was adjourned after just a couple minutes.
“Some issues have arisen with respect to the basis for the plea and some other matters that we have not been able to resolve prior to this date,” Ramsay’s lawyer, Paul McMurray, told the court Friday morning.
A date for a future court appearance will be set on Dec. 14.
Later in the afternoon, Anthonysz’s family and community members rallied outside the courthouse.
“When you witness violence or abuse, or other behaviour that damages women, if you accept it, your silence is a form of consent,” Lori Maginnis told the crowd. “While we have come far, we still have a long way to go. we are at this rally to give our support to Ele’s mom and her children.”
It was also noted that two days later, on Sunday, Dec. 6, Canada would mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, which marks, in part, the shooting deaths of 14 women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal.
Teresa Bridge, Anthonysz’s aunt and the organizer of Friday’s rally, noted that more than 130 women had been killed this year in Canada, including more than a dozen between the time the rally was announced, and when it was held.
Among those present at the rally were members of the Bikers Against Child Abuse, a group that provides support to young victims of crime.
Bridge said the group had been “amazing,” and had recently adopted Anthonysz’s children into their chapter and given them their own vests and dog tags.
“They are incredible,” she said.
– with files from Sam Bates/Black Press