A woman has opened up on why she fell in love with the man who murdered her father.
Margot Van Sluytman’s beloved dad Theodore was killed aged 40 in an armed robbery in March 1978.
For years, the 55-year-old, who lives in Toronto, Canada, struggled to cope with the loss, saying a part of her had died the day he was fatally shot.
But now, she has finally found redemption – by forgiving and striking up a close friendship with Glen Flett, the man who pulled the trigger.
Margot traced Glen after he attempted to anonymously donate money to her publishing house – but accidentally added his name.
The pair are Facebook pals, regularly talking and catching up with one another.
Margot said: “To me, forgiveness is not a thing to be given. It’s a process.
“Before I embarked on this path, half of me was a void and full of nothingness, whereas now I have a friendship with the man who killed my father and that has helped put meaning back into my life.
“I love Glen and he loves me. There’s a kinship. I’ve even told him that my dad would’ve liked him.”
Guyana-born Margot moved to Canada aged eight with her family as, ironically, her parents were keen to bring up their children in a safer environment.
For years, life ticked along as normal.
But then, on 27 March 1978 – Easter Monday – everything changed.
Theodore had taken the day off, but chose to pop into Hudson Bay, the men’s clothing store where he worked, to help his colleagues prepare for an upcoming sale.
“I still remember standing on the step outside our house asking to go with him,” said Margot, who was just 16 when her dad died.
“He told me to stay home and eat Easter chocolate, and promised he’d be back in a few hours. But that didn’t happen.”
Later that afternoon, two policemen arrived at the family home to break some heart-wrenching news – there had been an armed robbery at the store, and Theodore had been fatally shot.
Margot continued: “I remember turning round and seeing all dad’s washed clothes hanging on the drying rack behind me. I felt sick.
“I went to see my mum, who was sitting on the stairs sobbing. All she could say was, ‘Margot, Daddy dead.’ It was a nightmare. A complete living nightmare.”
The weeks that followed were a blur for Margot.
Struggling to keep living in the house she’d shared with her father, she moved out within three months of his death.
Meanwhile, with the case extensively covered by national media, the trio of perpetrators were soon caught.
Among them was John Glendon Flett, known as Glen – the man who’d shot Theodore in the heart who was sentenced to life in prison for his part in the murder.
Also sentenced was a getaway driver, who was given life, and a second shooter who’d hit Theodore in the back, and was given 15 years after testifying against the others.
In time, Margot found solace in poetry and writing, which she was eventually given an award for.
By this point, Flett was a free man, after serving 15 years of his sentence.
He was speaking at a conference about restorative justice, when an audience member asked if he’d ever tried to contact his own victim’s family.