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Widower seeks class-action lawsuit against N.S. gunman’s estate

A widower whose wife was killed in April’s mass shooting in Nova Scotia is the plaintiff named in a proposed class-action lawsuit against the gunman’s estate.

The legal application was filed with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in Truro on Tuesday. It alleges the estate of denturist Gabriel Wortman is liable to the families of the victims who lost their lives or were injured due to his actions. A judge must approve the lawsuit before it can proceed to trial.

The representative plaintiff is Nicholas Beaton, whose pregnant wife Kristen was among those killed by Wortman as he rampaged through rural Nova Scotia dressed as an RCMP officer and driving a replica RCMP cruiser. He shot victims in houses and cars, and burned homes to the ground in several communities. Twenty two victims died in what is one of Canada’s worst mass shootings.

“I understand everyone, including the RCMP, were victims of this man’s rampage,” Beaton said in a news release sent out by Halifax firm Patterson Law late Thursday.

“I know this lawsuit won’t bring back any of those senselessly murdered; however, there must be accountability for this tragedy.”

“I know this lawsuit won’t bring back any of those senselessly murdered; however, there must be accountability for this tragedy.” – Widower Nicholas Beaton – (Tim Krochak/Reuters)

The court document includes an account of Beaton’s death.

“Wortman impersonated an RCMP officer to stop Kristen on the road as she travelled to work as a VON nurse,” the document reads. “Wortman shot and killed Kristen. She was pregnant at the time of her death with her and the Representative Plaintiff’s second child.”

The rampage began on the evening of April 18 and ended on the morning of April 19 when police shot and killed Wortman at a gas station in Enfield, about 40 minutes north of Halifax.

The class action is open to spouses, children and/or parents of those killed, those who were injured and those who suffered property damage.

The class action excludes the gunman’s girlfriend.

Robert H. Pineo of Patterson Law is representing Beaton in the class action.

He was not immediately available for an interview on Thursday night, but in a news release he said he hoped the class action would result in restitution for the families impacted.

“We understand that no amount of compensation will remove the heartache felt by the loved ones of those lost,” Pineo said in the statement. “However, we hope this class action will assist those individuals with some of the financial burden created by this tragedy.”

Nicolas Beaton is the only person so far named as part of the proposed class action.

Pineo said he hopes all individuals who have been affected will join and benefit from the lawsuit.

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