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'Time to move on': Reaction as Udo Haan found not criminally responsible for wife’s death, house explosion

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A Kitchener man, who was charged with killing his wife and then blowing up their home in 2018, has been found not criminally responsible.

Udo Haan admitted he committed the offenses, but the judge found he was suffering from delusions at the time.

Haan’s home on Sprucedale Crescent exploded on Aug. 22, 2018.

His wife Edra Haan was found dead in the couple’s backyard.

It was later determined that she had been killed before the blast.

Her husband Udo was charged with first-degree murder and three arson-related counts.

On Thursday a judge ruled he was not criminally responsible.

Edra Haan’s brother was relieved to see the matter dealt with in court after waiting four-and-a-half years.

“It is closure that it’s over,” said Al Pinheiro. “It’s not really what we were looking for, I guess. But at the end of the day it was the proper call.”

In an agreed statement of facts, court heard that Udo Haan was increasingly paranoid in the time leading up to the explosion. He thought he was being followed and that he was going to be tortured and killed.

Haan also thought his wife was having an affair or somehow involved in organized crime.

The couple, who had been married for 40 years, were in the process of separating.

In the early morning of Aug. 22, Udo Haan strangled Edra and then opened a drop line that allowed the hole to fill with natural gas causing it to explode shortly after 8 a.m.

The Sprucedale Crescent home was destroyed, two neighbouring houses had to be demolished and other homes in the area were also damaged.

The aftermath of the explosion at Sprucedale Crescent. The house was completely destroyed, and the adjacent homes also caught fire. (WRPS / Twitter)

“He admits he did the act but he’s not responsible because of a pervasive, overwhelming mental disorder which drove the commission of this incident and was overwhelming in his mind,” said Steve Gehl, Udo Haan’s lawyer.

A psychiatrist who assessed Haan told the court he was tortured by his beliefs at the time, and in her opinion, he would not have committed the offence had be not been in a highly psychotic state.

Another psychiatrist who took the stand for the defense agreed with that assessment.

In closing submissions both the Crown and the defense said they believed the judge should find Udo Haan not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder.

The judge agreed.

The matter will now become the jurisdiction of the Ontario Review Board.

“He will remain in custody at whatever detention centre until he is transferred to a hospital where he will be appearing before the review board, where they will decide where he goes,” explained Gehl.

“Now it’s time to move on,” said Pinheiro. “This is behind us now and the future is ahead of us.”

Edra Haan’s family is reflecting on all she brought to their lives.

“She had a laugh that just brought everybody together, and a smile,” said Pinheiro. “She was always willing to help everybody, and that’s what we take away from this.”

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