Abandoned as a child, a state ward at 10, labeled a dangerous offender at 27

“It’s no wonder Matthew struggled throughout his life to deal with the physical and emotional hurts and feelings of rejection engendered by his early childhood experiences.”

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Matthew Villeneuve had no chance.

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His life, from the day he was born, was doomed through no fault of his own. He was a throwaway kid you don’t hear about and certainly don’t see at the high school prom.

He grew up on the worst margins of society.

His parents couldn’t or wouldn’t raise him. He had special needs and his parents compounded the strands of his childhood with physical and emotional abuse and neglect.

They finally abandoned him. He was eight years old when he went to his first group home and no primary school wanted to take him because they said the little boy was too much to handle.

He later lived with his grandparents only to be subjected to such severe excessive physical discipline that he fled on December 1, 2014. He was “apprehended” by child protection authorities who have been put back in a group home with other vulnerable children.

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They made him a ward of the state at 10.

Since then, his life, for the past 17 years, has been anything but good. Group homes, youth prison, provincial prison, then prison.

His crime trail – rooted in rejection and abandonment – ​​escalated into an attempted murder in the girls’ bathroom of an Ottawa high school in 2018. He was not a student at the school, but he is anyway went inside to attack a woman with a knife. . She managed to push him away and ran to her class and pointed him out.

The attempted murder is his latest conviction on a lengthy criminal record.

At just 27, Villeneuve is now classified as a dangerous offender and will be incarcerated for an indefinite period which will be reviewed by the parole board in seven years and every two years thereafter.

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Now, after a life in state care and later in prison, Matthew has been deemed too dangerous to be in the outside world. It’s a world he barely knows.

“It’s no wonder Matthew struggled his entire life to deal with the physical and emotional wounds and feelings of rejection engendered by his early childhood experiences,” the Ontario Superior Court judge said. Catherine Aitken, declaring Villeneuve a dangerous offender.

It’s not every day that you hear of someone so young being labeled a dangerous offender, but his childhood was far from ordinary. It was a prescription for ruin.

Before naming him one of the most dangerous offenders in the country, the judge reviewed interviews with Ottawa police, a psychiatrist’s report and records from his group home, jail and prison. hospital.

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This story is taken from the same public records.

Matthew was obsessed with food and anxious that he wouldn’t have enough. He was also so obsessed with money that he took to stealing.

Child protection workers said he was an aggressive and manipulative boy who sought attention. (Much like the other children of the system.)

After an evaluation at CHEO, doctors agreed that Matthew’s obsession with money and food likely stemmed from his fear of being abandoned and not having his basic needs met as a child. His low IQ likely fueled his fears, the judge said.

His file has thousands of pages and is lacking in good.

He threatened to kill adoptive mothers. Schools couldn’t handle him and it took a while for people to understand his limited understanding of the outside world. Due to his “fluency of speech”, Matthew often seemed to understand or appreciate more than he actually did, Judge noted.

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He always had a problem with anyone in a position of authority. It was verbal and physical – against staff at group homes, schools, strangers, lifeguards, bus drivers and shop owners.

He took advantage of opportunities for self-harm and sabotage, so he had limited exposure to the outside world except for football and the caddy.

He stole money and cars and escalated into assault.

Some of his foster home placements only lasted days after he threatened to harm himself.

At just 27, Matthew Villeneuve has been classified as a dangerous offender and will be incarcerated for an indefinite period which will be reviewed by the parole board in seven years and every two years thereafter.
At just 27, Matthew Villeneuve has been classified as a dangerous offender and will be incarcerated for an indefinite period which will be reviewed by the parole board in seven years and every two years thereafter. Photo by Jason Rancon /Postmedia files

The mental patient has been chased more than once by police in a stolen car, including a high-speed chase.

He got his first apartment when he was 18, with funding from child protection authorities. But it didn’t work out because he couldn’t manage his finances or get along with the other tenants, and the landlord wanted him out. Then he lived with another vulnerable person in a co-op, but was kicked out for breaking the rules.

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He stole more cars and ended up in jail.

A year later, on May 24, 2016, after Matthew had been in jail for over a year, child welfare authorities sent him a letter saying they were letting him adrift and discontinued all services and financing at the age of 21.

The same system that had made him a ward of the state at age 10 no longer helped the troubled young man.

Matthew’s crimes continued even in prison. He was convicted in 2017 of inciting sexual touching during a phone call with a 14-year-old girl and threatening the teenager’s boyfriend.

Even when Matthew was released on parole, he found it impossible to find a halfway house that would take him.

Turns out he would never do a halfway house because the day he was released from prison, he was arrested for the crimes he committed behind bars, on the phone.

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Matthew’s file weighs like heavy luggage. Thousands of hopeless pages, steeped in sordid acts against a backdrop of child abuse and abandonment.

Four assaults, two uttering threats, one possession of a weapon, invitation to sexual touching, seven break and enters with intent to commit an indictable offense or with the indictable offense of theft, five thefts under 5,000 $ or possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000, seven possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 (motor vehicles) or theft of a motor vehicle, three dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, two robberies while in pursuit of a peace officer, five driving while prohibited and fifteen failing to comply with a court order, recognizance or recognizance, and finally an attempted murder in a school girl’s bathroom Ottawa Secondary.

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After his arrest for the stabbing in the girls’ bathroom, he told police:

“It didn’t go the way I wanted it to. I was going to kill her. Straight up, I was going to kill her. Why? Because in my head yesterday I was full throttle.”

His high-speed police chase came after he stole a group home employee’s car. Police found him in a Walmart parking lot later that day on August 27, 2011. When officers tried to talk to him, he fled. He drove through a bunch of stop signs and a red light at speeds just over 150 km/h in an 80.

The chase lasted approximately seven minutes over 14 kilometers and ended with Matthew crashing and fleeing to be captured.

He assaulted and robbed people who tried to help him, and medical evaluations reveal that his crimes are directly linked to his abandonment as a child.

Matthew is now 27 and will be in jail longer than some killers. The judge ruled he was a dangerous offender who should be jailed for fear of future violent crimes.

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