Man found not criminally responsible for killing wife gets her life insurance

A Cape Breton man who was found not criminally responsible for killing his wife is entitled to receive 100 per cent of her life insurance policy, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge has ruled.

Richard Dwayne Maidment, 52, who also uses the surname McNeil, killed Sarabeth Forbes on April 18, 2017, in the home they shared in Gardiner Mines, N.S.

Maidment has schizophrenia and his mental health had been deteriorating dramatically in the days before the killing. Forbes and their then 10-year-old son had moved out of the residence as a precaution the day before.

But on the morning of April 18 she returned to the home, where she was killed.

Maidment was charged with first-degree murder, but in December 2017 was found not criminally responsible and confined to the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia’s only secure psychiatric facility.

In 2015, Forbes had purchased a life insurance policy for herself naming her then boyfriend, Maidment, as the beneficiary. She named their son as an alternate beneficiary.

Friends describe Sarabeth Forbes as full of life and always smiling. (Supplied by Tanya Hennick-McNeil)

Maidment’s mother, Linda McNeil, laid claim to the insurance money on behalf of her son.

Sarabeth’s mother, Emeline Forbes, who is now raising the couple’s son, applied for the insurance money on his behalf. Because there were competing claims, Co-operators Life Insurance Company paid the claim to the court and left it to a judge to decide.

In a decision released Thursday, Justice Frank Edwards ruled the money should go to Maidment, not his son.

“There is a public policy rule which says criminals should not be permitted to benefit from their crimes,” Edwards wrote.

“That public policy rule has no application to this case. Richard has been found to be not criminally responsible. He is not a criminal.”

Edwards is the same judge who found Maidment not criminally responsible for the killing, an event he describes as “an unspeakably horrendous and tragic event for everyone involved.”

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