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Editor’s note: The following story contains disturbing details. 

A Taloyoak man with a history of violent acts against his spouse has been sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 13 years after he strangled his partner.

Justice Susan Cooper imposed the sentence on March 9.

“For the rest of his life he will live with the fact that he is responsible to the death of another human being; that he is the reason his children grew up without parents. This will never leave him,” Justice Susan Cooper stated of Abel Kingatook.
NNSL file photo

A jury had earlier found Abel Kingatook guilty in the second-degree murder of Erin Qayutinnuaq.

Kingatook and Qayutinnuaq, parents of two young children, had been together for close to 16 years. On June 6, 2018, Kingatook, who had been drinking alcohol, confessed to his mother that Qayutinnuaq “was gone,” that he had choked her to death.

“He said he did it because Erin (Qayutinnuaq) was being mean and rude about his mother and him,” the agreed facts of the case state. “He said that he tried to revive Erin for more than two hours but was unable to. He said that he gave Erin hickies on her neck in an attempt to cover up his fingerprints.”

Kingatook’s mother eventually alerted the local mental health nurse that she was concerned about Qayutinnuaq’s wellbeing. The mental health nurse contacted the RCMP, who later found Qayutinnuaq deceased in the living room of her home.

Kingatook’s criminal record included six prior convictions for violence against Qayutinnuaq, four of which involved choking her. At the time of her death, Kingatook was under court conditions to have no contact with her and to not drink alcohol.

“The conditions on his release were there to protect Erin,” Cooper stated.

An individual convicted of second-degree murder can apply for parole
after serving 10 years of his sentence, unless the court orders a lengthier period.

In this case, the Crown recommended 15 years before parole eligibility. The defence sought 12-15 years. Eight members of the jury thought Kingatook should serve 25 years in jail before he could apply for parole.

Cooper, noting that Kingatook expressed remorse for his actions, settled on 13 years until he can try to be granted a release from prison.

“For the rest of his life he will live with the fact that he is responsible to the death of
another human being; that he is the reason his children grew up without parents. This will never leave him,” the judge stated.

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Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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  1. Abel Kingatook murdered his partner of 16 years, Erin Qayutinnuaq for “being mean and rude about his mother and him.” He choked her to death and for that Kingatook was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 13 years.
    Kingatook had a history of violent acts targeting his wife. His criminal record included six prior convictions for violence against Qayutinnuaq, four of which involved choking her. At the time of her death, Kingatook was under court conditions to have no contact with her and to not drink alcohol. “The conditions on his release were there to protect Erin,” Justice Susan Cooper stated.
    Well that didn’t work out did it? A review of this case is necessary to identify where the system failed? Did Erin call the police? the shelter? social services? victim services? Did she have an EPO? was it a court order? What treatment did Kingatook receive while he was in jail 6 times??? I am hoping her family asks those questions!
    The Crown pursued a recommendation of 15 years before parole eligibility for Kingatook while the defence fought for 12-15 years. Wisely, a jury of his peers thought Kingatook should serve 25 years in jail before he could apply for parole. The latter makes the greatest sense.
    Regardless, Cooper ignored the community and settled on 13 years to apply for parole noting that Kingatook felt bad and would have to live with it the rest of his life. A naive statement at best… Erin’s children and her family has to live with her murder… the murderer not so much. Given my experience as a victims’ rights advocate, I can assure you Kingatook expressed court remorse each and every time he got caught attacking his wife… after all what criminal doesn’t get that a guilty plea buys you a deal!
    What the judge failed to understand is that Kingatook made a conscious decision to choke the life out of his wife because he felt justified in doing it. What else would you do with a person who is mean and rude to you?