Cape Breton man, 75, gets at least 8 years in prison for killing wife
A 75-year-old Cape Breton man will spend at least the next eight years behind bars after admitting he killed his wife by strangulation.
Gregory James Dilney pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in February and received an automatic life sentence for killing his wife Brenda in the couple's home in Howie Centre, N.S., on March 5, 2021.
On Friday, prosecution and defence lawyers submitted a joint recommendation that would make Dilney eligible for parole after 10 years in prison, less two years for time already served.
Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Robin Gogan accepted the recommendation, noting that Dilney has no prior criminal history or record of violence.
She called Brenda Dilney's death the "ultimate act of domestic violence," but said the minimum parole eligibility was appropriate, given the circumstances.
Several family members submitted victim impact statements and some were in court, but the statements were not read out.
Tragedy for the family: prosecutor
Crown prosecutor Peter Harrison said the crime was a tragedy for the family.
"It's a very difficult day for all of them," he said outside the courtroom. "The siblings here obviously lost their sister. Shaun Dilney, Mr. and Mrs. Dilney's son, was here. He lost both parents here today, so it's especially hard I would assume for him as well."
Dilney showed no emotion in court and when asked by the judge if he had anything to say, Dilney spoke one sentence addressed to his in-laws.
"I'd like to say I'm sorry to the Pottie family."
Harrison said parole eligibility for a life sentence can range between 10 and 25 years.
Despite receiving the minimum parole eligibility, Dilney is still facing serious consequences, the prosecutor said.
"It is a life sentence. In a little under 10 years, given credit for time served, he can begin to apply for parole.
"He may not choose to apply for parole and even if he does, there's no guarantees he will be released. If he is released, he'll be subject to monitoring for the rest of his life."
According to an agreed statement of facts read in court, Dilney and his wife were having an argument when he got so angry he strangled her.
A pre-sentence report and a psychiatric assessment were done, finding Dilney had early stage neurocognitive impairment, some hearing loss and depression, but there was no indication of mental illness that would relieve him of responsibility for the crime.
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