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Court hears mother charged in Calgary neglect case 'inseparable' from son

Last Updated Dec 6, 2016 at 1:40 pm MST

CALGARY – The father of a Calgary woman on trial after her son died of a strep infection wiped away tears Tuesday as he testified that his daughter and grandson were inseparable.

Don Lovett, a communications consultant, was one of a number of character witnesses called by the defence at Tamara Lovett’s trial.

“She was my daughter. I love her. We saw each other fairly regularly,” the father said Tuesday.

“Tamara and Ryan were a unit. He loved his mother. He wanted to be with his mother. They were inseparable. It was a very respectful, loving relationship.”

Tamara Lovett, 47, is on trial for failing to provide her seven-year-old son with the necessaries of life and criminal negligence causing his death.

Ryan Alexander Lovett died in March 2013 after getting a strep infection that kept him bedridden for 10 days.

Alberta’s acting chief medical examiner testified the boy’s body was full of group A streptococcus, which caused most of his major organs to deteriorate and fail.

Court has heard Tamara Lovett treated Ryan with dandelion tea and oil of oregano instead of taking him to hospital.

Don Lovett said he never had any reason to worry about his grandson’s safety.

“He was healthy … in my estimation well cared for and healthy. I didn’t witness any ill health.”

He said he wasn’t aware how ill his grandson had been and relied on information from the boy’s mother.

Paul Hughes, who said he met Tamara Lovett in university, said he remained friends with her and their two boys were close. He said she was a terrific parent.

“I was somewhat envious of Tamara’s capacity as a mother to interact with children. I only ever saw her being a loving and caring mother to her child,” he said.

“What kind of mother was Tamara? Well always around, within close proximity. I wouldn’t describe her as a helicopter parent per se, but she was pretty close. Always keeping an eye on him.”

Outside court, Hughes said he felt he needed to testify on his friend’s behalf.

“I was really disturbed by some of the things that I heard people say about her as a mother and I knew completely differently. She’s a loving mother and was a loving mother and a parent’s worst nightmare happened to her,” Hughes said.

“Her community has rallied around her. We love her. She’s got her own life sentence. No one’s suffered more than her. She’s already suffered. She’s gone to hell and back.”

Closing arguments in the case are to be heard Friday.

Justice Kristine Eidsvik said she would reserve her decision and come back with a verdict in the new year.

She also addressed Lovett.

“I’m sorry for your loss — one way or another,” she said in reference to the upcoming verdict.

“It’s very sad.”

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter