Katy Hutchison continues to search for lessons from her husbands beating death
The Powerpoint images of Bob McIntosh, the athlete, lawyer, husband and father flash up on the screen in front of 350 students at Rockridge Middle School in West Vancouver. McIntosh is riding his bike, running, standing in his tuxedo with his new bride Katy, clowning with friends, and holding his newborn twins, Emma and Sam.
While Katy Hutchison explains The Story of Bob, the only sound that can be heard in the gym is the faint rustling of notebooks as students scribble salient facts for an assignment. Even those faint sounds stop, and a few gasps can be heard, as the next image appears. This time McIntosh is lying dead on the medical examiners gurney at the morgue in Squamish, the victim of a fatal beating at a house party shortly before midnight on New Years Eve in 1997.
Hutchison explains the code of silence lasted five years in Squamish, before an undercover police operation resulted in a guilty plea by Ryan Aldridge. The young man kicked McIntosh in the head four or five times after he had been punched unconscious by another partygoer, Ryan McMillan, who later pleaded guilty to assault.
She tells the students the toughest part of that tragic night was returning home from the morgue and looking in on her sleeping children, knowing she would have to tell them in the morning their father was dead.
"It was a revelation looking into the faces of my children," she said.
"I immediately knew I was going to have to find a way to get through this."
Hutchison, since remarried, is still getting through it, and along the way has astounded many people.
After Aldridge was arrested, she met with him privately, and encouraged him to confess so that she, her children, his family and friends, and the community would not have to go through a lengthy and devastating trial. A few hours later, Aldridge did just that.
Near the end of the trial in North Vancouver, Hutchison explained that she wanted to take her husbands story into schools to help students understand some of the issues surrounding youth violence, and the choices they have to make. She has met with Aldridge, who is serving a five-year sentence in Matsqui Prison in the Fraser Valley.
"We met for five hours and I showed him my presentation," said Hutchison. "It was an emotional meeting, and he has agreed to do this with me. It will be a much more powerful story with him involved, telling students how he came to this point in his life."