Crockwells trying to rebuild

Rosie Mullaley
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Family still dealing with house damage caused during standoff

Leo Crockwell’s trial is in full swing in St. John’s, but the status of the family’s Bay Bulls house where things unfolded is still in limbo.

Bill Crockwell said he’s run into several roadblocks in his efforts to recover the cost of the damage caused during his brother’s eight-day standoff with the RCMP in December 2010.

“It’s been very frustrating,” Bill Crockwell told The Telegram Monday.

The incident with police nearly destroyed the green and white two-storey home on St. John’s Road, where Leo had been staying with his mother and sister.

In their attempts to lure Leo out of the house, officers smashed windows, fired tear gas inside, tossed smoke and noise grenades in the house, used a battering ram at the door and pumped 60,000 gallons of water through an upstairs window. The walls were also said to have been damaged by gunshots fired by Leo Crockwell.

Through it all, he managed to escape through a side window in the house, which was being watched by a slew of RCMP officers.

Leo was arrested by Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officers Dec. 11, 2010, at a house on Petty Harbour Road, more than

20 kilometres away from Bay Bulls.

He’s been behind bars since then.

The 57-year-old has pleaded not guilty to eight charges — assault and assault with a weapon on his sister and uttering threats against her, along with mischief by interfering with the lawful use of property, discharging a firearm, possessing a firearm without a licence, careless use of a firearm and reckless use of a firearm.

As Bill continues to deal with his brother’s incarceration and trial, he’s also trying to get things sorted out with the house. He wants it to be repaired for his elderly mother, who has been staying with him since the incident.

But it’s been a slow process.

“It’s taken a lot of time and, at times, you look at it and wonder just what you’re dealing with,” Bill said. “It’s not even sensible.”

His family did receive insurance money, but he said it was nowhere near what the value of the house and contents were actually worth.

“They had their own idea (of what the house and contents were worth) and I had mine,” Bill said.

“They did a generic list of everything in the house, but it doesn’t take into consideration the quality of things.

“Plus, I pointed out about 25 things missing on their list, including the fridge. Apparently, this was the only house in Newfoundland without a fridge,” he added sarcastically.

“They just never addressed it when I brought it up.”

For instance, he said, there was a piano in the house, which the insurance company didn’t value very highly. Bill said he had it assessed and presented the assessed figure to the company, “but they completely ignored it.”

There were also dozens of knitted socks, crafted by his mother. He said the insurance company valued them all at just $5.

“You can’t even buy the wool for that,” he said. “These are Newfoundland-made wool socks.”

Crockwell even bagged the socks and took them to a popular local Newfoundland craft shop and had them appraised. He said he submitted that figure to the insurance company, but again, he said he was ignored — “just like I came up with that number out of the blue.”

“They give you a figure and say to you, ‘Here’s what the value is. Have a nice day.’ … It’s their way or no way,” Bill said.

“I’m not saying we were rich, but most people have some half-decent things in their homes and when something happens, you’d like to get back what they were worth.

“I don’t think people realize just what you have to go through with insurance until it’s too late.

“At this point, there’s not much more I can do about it.”

However, he hasn’t completely given up on the idea of getting back what he feels the family deserves.

Bill said he does plan to look into the RCMP’s responsibility for the damage.

“I haven’t gone to them yet. I admit I’ve been slack about it,” he said.

“But I will do that soon and see where it goes. It’s our only recourse right now. I don’t know what the answer is going to be.”

An independent review of the RCMP actions in the standoff was released last year, but the Halifax Regional Police service, which conducted the review, would not release the final report to the public.

When contacted by The Telegram Monday, RCMP communications officer Sgt. Marc Coulombe replied, “The matter is before the courts and as such we will not comment on this.

“There is a process in which the Crockwells can follow through legal channels. This may have already been explained to them.”

Meanwhile, Bill continues to support his brother during the trial and has been in the courtroom throughout most of the proceedings. He likely won’t return when it resumes today, though, since he’s been informed he could end up having to testify.

“It all wears you down and it catches up to you after a while,” he said.

“But all this has to be done.”

Twitter: @TelyCourt

Organizations: RCMP, Bay Bulls house, Halifax Regional Police

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Petty Harbour Road, Bay Bulls.He

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Recent comments

  • Sean
    April 25, 2012 - 20:28

    @ Jerome, I did not say the RCMP did not make mistakes. Given that Mr Crockwell escaped the home, I expect there was a lapse somewhere. And I expect them to find out where it was and not make the mistake again. I am saying that complaining about house damages when you are dealing with an armed person is a little much. Broken glass, tear gas, sonic grenades, a battering ram...all seem in order. I am not sure why the water... @ Carol Anne; I am not reducing this to "just a broken window". I recognize that there was other damage. The article also included such things as I note above. The issue is what did you reasonably expect the RCMP to do with an armed individual? If Mr Crockwell had shot somebody after leaving the house, would you then be saying the RCMP did not do enough? By the way, the article also references knitted socks as a contentious issue. Having dealt with insurance companies during a flood in my house, I have some experience with their valuation on items. But when the writer puts this in the article, it leaves the impression that the contentious issues are not of a major nature.

  • sally
    April 24, 2012 - 21:19

    After reading all the different opinions,i still have to say bottom line,he is not a mentally stable person.

  • flyinbrianpowell
    April 24, 2012 - 20:50

    he should be forced to pay for all the tax dollars spent in the standoff, then forced to pay for all the extra training required for all the officers involved in the standoff so it never happens again that they lose at hide and seek.

  • Nicole
    April 24, 2012 - 14:37

    So this is all about "The Crockwell House and Insurance Money"?? Ok, so he is not healthy...he shouldn't of been selfish either. If he cared about his Monther/Sister...she should of turned over in an hour! Leo should take responiability for what he did. He cost us tax payers $$$. And I admit the RCMP/RNC should of handled it better but again no one is perfect and you learn from your mistakes.

  • Islandgirl
    April 24, 2012 - 10:52

    To WELL - - seriously? If you think you no longer have any rights here in Canada , why don't you go to Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, etc. and see how many rights you have over there. Be grateful to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for you to live in a democratic country. As for your statement that the RCMP and the RNC "do what they like", of course, they are not perfect .... but ARE YOU? Maybe the next time that an officer has to go tell a parent that their child has been killed by a drunk driver, perhaps you can go do that for these officers who have to deal with more difficult situations in a week than you do in a lifetime! Get the chip off your shoulder and do something productive with your time.

  • prufock
    April 24, 2012 - 09:33

    Once again, insurance companies making a business out of screwing over their customers.

  • Bay Nurse
    April 24, 2012 - 09:00

    This was a mentally sick man being handled by RCMP who came from all over Canada and who didn't know how to handle the situation. They also earned great salaries while spending many nights in hotels in St. John's being paid with our tax dollars and destroying the family home of the Crockwells. We should all have access to this inquiry.

  • Jerome
    April 24, 2012 - 08:28

    "....but please remember the RCMP focus was on the man with the gun, ...." Really? Their focus? RCMP from this province and other Atlantic provinces, including the Emergency Response Team "surrounded" the home and a week later and a half million dollars, Mr. Crockwell walked away. If that's the result of the focus we should come to expect from out national police force, then someone needs to re-focus. If we ever get to see the report of the Halifax Regional Police service, it will make for some interesting reading.

  • Just The Facts
    April 24, 2012 - 08:13

    Whoa! Back up the bus, Gus! Shouldn't Leo Crockwell bear some responsibility for the ultimate condition of his elderly mother's home? Did he not realize that his actions and obstinacy escalated the situation and forced the hand of the police authorities? If Leo Crockwell gave one tiny hoot about the welfare of others (his mother, brother and sister) he would have surrendered in the first hour. His selfishness...his ego....precipitated all this damage. If he can finally comes to grips with that reality, maybe it will wipe that smirk off his face.

  • Sean
    April 24, 2012 - 07:47

    So, when dealing with an armed person held up in a house, the RCMP should do what? Give him cookies and milk until he feels like coming out? Not maintain a 24 hour vigil to protect the community? If Mr Leo Crockwell had gone and shot someone the comments here would be different. I respect that Mr Bill Crockwell is having issues with his insurance company, and they may be justified, but please remember the RCMP focus was on the man with the gun, and not making sure a window was not broken.

    • carol ann rogers
      April 25, 2012 - 08:09

      Sean: "RCMP focus was on the man with the gun, and not making sure a window was not broken" The damage consisted of much more that a broken window, you are simplfying this to the riduclous. Iam not debating the RNC/RCMP responce only your simplification of a destroyed house. Mrs. Crockwell and her family deserve better.

  • Island Lady
    April 24, 2012 - 07:29

    Bill Crockwell is a good man ..... and this got to be hard on him and his family living thru this ordeal... The insurance company should be responsible and my advise to Bill is not to let them of the hook and keep after them (Insurance company's always make it hard and squeeze you dry until you give up) and yes go after the RCMP as well because a great injustice has been done to the Crockwell home that day (the wrong people where giving wrong instructions and much overtime was given to the RCMP during that stand off and they got their money .... someone did a great injustice to that home in destroying it ... it was like something out of violent movie.... hang in there Bill and do not give up ....

  • well
    April 24, 2012 - 07:09

    It shouldnt have anything to do with insurance money . For once the RCmp should be held respnsable for what they did to that house. However that wont happen because if anyone noticed , if you live in Canada ,you no longer have any rights anyway. The RCMP do what they like as well as the RNC