DUNCAN, October 15, 2004 ( – A witness for the Crown has testified in the Evelyn Martens trial that she felt disconnected from the suicide of Monique Charest at her apartment in Duncan BC on Jan. 7, 2002. Brenda Hurn told the jury she felt the experience was “surreal.” She said, “I was there and then part of the time I was kind of far away. It was kind of a strange feeling. Surreal. There, but not there.”  Hurn, 82, testified that she was in the 64 year old Charest’s apartment when the woman was committing suicide. She said she removed her cat from the room because it appeared the animal knew Charest was going to die.

Hurn said that she and Martens have been friends for over a decade and both belonged to the Right to Die Society of Canada. She said that she and Martens made the trip from Victoria to Duncan knowing they were going to visit a woman who intended to commit suicide. Hurn said she made the visit “to consummate my belief in what the (Right to Die) society was doing.”  Hurn said that Charest’s suffering was emotional as much as physical. She suffered from the memories of an abusive childhood and leaving the convent where she had been a nun. Hurn told the jury that Charest told her she was happy the two women had come to help her end her life because she retained some ‘religious convictions’ against suicide and wanted her death to appear natural.  Dr. Philip Kerswell, Charest’s physician, testified that she had no terminal condition but had indigestion, back pain and thyroid problems. Thyroid problems can cause symptoms of depression.  Ph


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