Woman shot dead in Coquitlam, B.C., had a protection order against ex-husband
Women’s advocates in BC are calling for more police action to support victims of domestic violence following the death of a Coquitlam woman who issued a protection order against her ex-husband.
Stephanie Forster was shot and killed in Block 1400 of Lambert Way in Coquitlam late in the evening of December 8, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has confirmed.
Investigators believe her ex-husband Gianluigi Derossi was responsible for the murder, but he died of self-inflicted injuries in Surrey two days later.
Court records confirm that Forster had a restraining order against Derossi at the time of her death.
Angela Marie MacDougall, executive director of Battered Women’s Support Services, said Forster’s murder demonstrated a real danger to victims of intimate partner violence.
“I think we need to take protective orders really seriously and recognize that in this case they were nothing more than a piece of paper,” MacDougall told CBC.
She said lawyers have no information on the extent to which police enforced the order against Derossi, but women need to know that a protective order alone is not enough to protect them.
“The protective order only matters if the police enforce it,” she said.
A Mounties spokesman said they could not discuss details of the case because the circumstances surrounding Forster’s death are still being investigated.
“Coquitlam RCMP takes all protection orders seriously and complaints of violations of these orders are being investigated,” an RCMP spokesman wrote in an email.
The concerns come after a week of high-profile violence against women in Metro Vancouver. Forster was one of three Metro Vancouver women killed in just six days, and in each case a male family member was charged.
Navinder Gil is charged with second-degree murder at the stabbing of his wife Harpreet Kaur Gill in Surrey on December 7th. Anthony Del Rosario is facing the same charge of stabbing his aunt Dominga Santos in North Vancouver on December 13th.
Women need ‘a lot of evidence’
Forster was known as a filmmaker, musician and social entrepreneur.
Her ex-husband Derossi also used the pseudonym Reza Moeinian and was a convicted fraudster that gained public notoriety as a “love cheat” who has created false connections to steal thousands of dollars from his targets.
On Friday, two rallies drew attention to Forster’s murder. One was in front of Coquitlam’s RCMP branch and the second at the intersection of 100th Avenue and 152nd Street in Surrey, where Derossi was found dead.
A banner reading “She had a protective order; he killed her anyway”.
Samantha Grey, program director at the Surrey Women’s Centre, said her organization deals with many women seeking safety after leaving abusive partners.
“What we see a lot … is that women have to really fight, not just to get a protection order, but to enforce the protection orders that some women are being granted,” Gray said.
“Women have to provide a lot of evidence.”