Summary:

Paragraph 9 reads: "Later in the day, Denbesten -- who was taking prescription medication for depression - ground up his pills and put them in a cup of coffee that he got his wife to drink. He told her it would make her feel better."

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Fearing kids not his, man tried to poison wife

PAUL LEGALL 

CAYUGA (Jun 15, 2006)

A Dunnville man got an additional 20 months in jail after admitting he had tried to poison his wife with orange juice laced with antifreeze , coffee spiked with prescription drugs and a dose of rat poison. The victim survived but never wants to see him again.

After pleading guilty to administering a noxious sentence, Leo Denbesten, 45, was also placed on three years probation and ordered to keep away from her and her family.

In outlining the case in Ontario court yesterday, Assistant Crown Attorney Shane Hickingbottom said Denbesten was angry at his wife, Karen, because he suspected she was lying to him about the paternity of her children.

After 12 years of marriage, he thought he couldn't trust her any more and decided to end the relationship.

While his wife was asleep early Oct. 2, 2005, he went outside and obtained some antifreeze from a vehicle.

After mixing it in a glass with orange juice, he woke up his wife, handed her the glass and urged her to drink it.

Still groggy, she took one sip and gagged.

"She said it was disgusting and wasn't going to drink it," Hickingbottom told Justice J. A. Colvin.

Later in the day, Denbesten -- who was taking prescription medication for depression - ground up his pills and put them in a cup of coffee that he got his wife to drink. He told her it would make her feel better.

But the medication hadn't fully dissolved and some granules had settled at the bottom of the cup. After she finished drinking the coffee, he got her to ingest the residual grounds too.

Later in the day, he went to a store in Dunnville and bought a substance used to eliminate rats and mice.

The rat poison contained a blood-thinner called warfarin, which is sometimes prescribed to humans to prevent blood clots and for irregular heart beats -- but always under the direction of a doctor.

When he met his wife again a short time later, Denbesten tried to persuade her to ingest the rat poison. He said it would make her feel better. She refused to take the stuff.

She eventually got sick from the previous concoctions she had unwittingly ingested and ended up at the Dunnville hospital. The OPP were notified after it was learned she had been poisoned. She didn't suffer any long-term physical effects.

In her victim impact statement yesterday, Karen Denbesten told the judge she's afraid her husband will come after her when he gets out of jail.

When he tried to poison her, he was already on bail for a previous incident during which he allegedly assaulted her.

"I feel he'll stop at nothing to get rid of me," she said.

Defence lawyer Paul Osier said his client suffers from a mental condition and was going through hard times when he tried to poison his wife.

In sentencing him to 20 months in jail, Justice Colvin said he took into account the eight months Denbesten had spent in pretrial custody. Denbesten was also prohibited from owning firearms, ammunition or explosives for 10 years, ordered to provide a sample for the DNA data bank and to undergoing treatment for his mental condition.

"I hope you conquer your monsters and come back to the world," Colvin told Denbesten.