Woman convicted in son’s strep death granted day parole after 8 months

A Calgary woman whose son died after she failed to take him to the doctor for a strep infection has been granted day parole.

Tamara Lovett, 49, was convicted of criminal negligence causing death early last year and was sentenced to three years in November.

“When asked who you held responsible for the death of your son, you emphatically stated that only you were to blame,” the Parole Board of Canada said in its June 14 decision.

“Speaking with the board about your son’s death was emotional for you. You stated that, prior to your son’s death, you were ‘not in the right mindset’ and you held views regarding conventional medical care that you have since realized were extreme and unsupportable.”

At her trial, court heard that Lovett gave her seven-year-old son, Ryan, dandelion tea and oil of oregano when he developed the infection that kept him bedridden in their Calgary home for 10 days in 2013. The trial heard that Ryan was dead well before his mother called 911 to say he had stopped breathing.

The parole board decision notes Lovett has been accepted into a community residential facility.

As a condition of her day parole, she cannot care for any children under 18, or any otherwise vulnerable person. She must also continue to attend psychological counselling to address her grief and loss, as well as her mental health.

The period of day parole is to last six months.

Pastor spoke on Lovett’s behalf

The board said it received several letters of support, including a confirmed letter of employment. It noted that Lovett has sources of support in the community.

A pastor also spoke on her behalf at the hearing.

“He indicated that when he first met with you, you were sad. You were dealing with grief and recovery as well as healthy boundaries. He provided that you are educated and a hard worker,” the board said.

“He admits you had trust and abandonment issues when your parents separated, but coming to jail opened your eyes…. He advised that you have come to terms with the loss of your son and he believes you have the tools and fortitude to go forward.”

Too early for full parole, board says

Lovett told the board she was on a “spiritual journey,” was working with a psychologist and was re-establishing bonds with her surviving son and other close relatives.

The board said there were no issues while Lovett was out on bail, while she was in a minimum-security prison or during 30 escorted temporary absences.

But granting full parole would be premature, it said.

“While the board recognizes the progress you have made, the board notes that your changes are recent, as is your accountability.” 

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