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‘We want to keep her memory alive’: Domestic violence victims honoured with memorial bench


It's been eight years since an Eden Mills woman was killed by her husband who then took his own life.

On Thursday, Sue Nesbitt-McNally’s family and friends gathered in Acton to honour her and all other women who have been victims of domestic violence.

A memorial bench has been installed in Prospect Park as part of a project called Barb’s Benches, organized by the community.

“Our main goal is to keep Sue’s memory alive,” her sister Laura Nesbitt said.


First responders were called to a house fire on Lowrie Lane, just outside Guelph, on Nov. 20, 2015.

They found Sue Nesbitt-McNally and her husband Trevor McNally, a firefighter in Halton Hills, dead inside the couple's home.

Authorities investigate outside the home of Trevor and Susanne McNally after they were found dead by firefighters. (Allison Tanner / CTV Kitchener)

Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Fire Marshal investigated the fire but never publicly stated what killed the McNallys.

According to the Nesbitt family, a police report determined it was a murder-suicide, telling CTV News in 2017 that Sue died from a single stab wound to the heart while Trevor set the house on fire and died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Nobody knew there was anything wrong in their relationship,” Laura Nesbitt said Thursday. “We had no inkling that there were any kind of troubles until that tragic day.”

The family also explained that Trevor had been struggling with mental health issues and sought counselling with his wife.

“He would get better for a time, but then it always seemed like he would revert,” Sue's niece, Angela Nesbitt, said in 2017.

Susanne and Trevor McNally are shown in this photograph from Susanne McNally's Facebook page.

She also told CTV News that Sue had planned on leaving Trevor and told her aunt she couldn’t “help someone who doesn’t want to be helped.”

“Sue was the rock of our family,” said Laura Nesbitt on Thursday. “She held everybody together. It was a major, tragic loss for our family.”


Barb’s Benches have been paying tribute to domestic violence victims since 2015.

“By doing a bench like this, in honour of all women, I think is an amazing thing because there is a stigma behind domestic violence,” said Laura Nesbitt.

The bench is not just a memorial to victims but a symbol of resilience and hope.

“We hear a lot about stolen cars in Halton and we’re not hearing about the domestic violence as much. That just speaks volumes. So these families are just so touched,” said Laurie Hepburn, the executive director of Halton Women’s Place.

Family and friends of Sue Nesbitt-McNally, community leaders and members of the local women's shelter in front of a Prospect Park memorial bench in Acton on Nov. 9, 2023. (Chris Thomson/CTV Kitchener)

While eight years have passed since Sue’s death, her family is committed to ending the cycle of violence.

“This was the place she loved the most,” Laura Nesbitt explained. “To have a bench in Acton in honour of not just her but other women, I think she would be extremely proud.”

Halton Women’s Place said the bench will stand as a beacon of hope and a testament to the community’s strength.


A previous version of this story stated the bench was dedicated to Sue Nesbitt-McNally when it is meant to represent all women who have experienced domestic violence. The previous version also incorrectly stated Barb's Benches was a government-funded program. Top Stories

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