Amanda Antle was holding her baby-Roy Freake’s son-and she felt him press two steak knives against her neck.
Freake broke into the back of Antle’s house. When the police entered the house, he and Antel were in her bedroom. At this moment, Freake caught her.
The police officer instructed him to put down the knife. He didn’t.
Antle saw them fire taser twice. She said the knife was always moving. Then she heard a “pop”.
In the early morning of June 11, 37-year-old Roy Freake was killed in a police intervention in Grand Falls-Windsor, a small town in central Newfoundland. Antle said that after two Taser discharges failed to incapacitate him, a police officer shot and killed Freake.
Antle said that Freake apparently came to the house under the influence of cocaine and could not control his impulse.
“He said,’Unless I’m in a damn body bag, I won’t leave here,” Antel recalled.
Antel did not blame the police for shooting. Instead, she blamed years of struggles with the justice system, health care facilities, and law enforcement, which have not helped Freake overcome serious mental health and addiction problems.
“No matter where he goes, no matter what he does, no matter who he talks to, no matter who I talk to him and argue with, from the beginning it seemed like this was a failed business,” Antel said.
“And it just keeps accumulating, accumulating, until it reaches this point. Now a person’s life has been lost because he doesn’t get the help he needs from our system.”
“They basically throw gas on the fire”
Antle has endured this failure for years, so when she heard the sound of glass breaking at home that Friday morning, she knew that Freake had broken in. When he started threatening her, she knew he was not—at that moment—the man she loved.
“I know he’s not mental… I don’t know Roy. I know he’s just alienated, he’s broken. Not him. It’s a shell.”
Just 12 hours ago, Freake was also detained by the police.
On Wednesday, after he violated court conditions and tracked Antel, angrily asking to see their children and his belongings, he was taken away by police at nearby Bishop Falls.
Antel said she knew he was in a bad situation. The police officer later told her that he initially complied with their orders, but his behavior deteriorated during his detention. She said the RCMP compared him to “a caged animal that kicks a door.”
The RCMP will not comment on the incident, and in fact did not confirm Freake’s identity.
At 1:30 pm on Thursday, he was taken before a judge in the Provincial Court of Grand Falls-Windsor and released on bail. Roy’s father, Lorne Freake, signed the release document on Fogo Island because he could not reach the court.
According to Antle and his father, Roy Freake was released alone. His truck was towed away—he had no keys, not even his cigarettes—he could not reach the farewell ferry terminal from 140 kilometers, and then cross to Fogo Island, where his parents lived. His phone has only 40% battery left.
By then, it had been more than 24 hours since Freake had the opportunity to take the medicine.
“You won’t do this to dogs”
His father said that as part of the court order, Freake was not even allowed to enter Windsor, Great Falls unless he had a legal or medical appointment.
Freake called his father. This will be one of the last time Lorne Freake hears his son’s voice.
“Oh boy, I tell you, he really exploded,” Lorne Flack said. “‘I am here, I don’t have a truck, and I don’t have a car,’ wait.”
In a series of phone calls that night, Freake asked his father for advice. But Lorne Freake on Fogo Island was unable to pick him up after the ferry was suspended.
Lorne Freake claimed that his son was released even before the bail documents were signed. When he realized his son’s plight, Lorne Freake yelled at the court staff.
“I said, you wouldn’t do this to a dog… You just throw him out, he has no possibility.”
Lorne Freake said that the actions of the judicial system that night caused his son to fail. “By putting him on the street, they basically added fuel to the fire.”
After discovering that Freake had been released and his truck had been towed away, Antle wanted him to walk to her home in Grand Falls-Windsor. This is what he did.
After Roy was shot, Antel’s boyfriend Matt Morris tried to comfort her. But when the paramedic started CPR, she went directly to the bathroom and vomited.
One step forward, one step backward
Antle said Freake wanted to be better and made huge personal sacrifices to try to overcome his cocaine addiction-including shutting himself in a room for several weeks after detox treatment to counter his impulse.
“He said,’If I leave this bed, I will use it,'” she said. “He said,’You don’t understand how bad it is now, how bad I want to go.’ He said,’I stay here. It’s safer here.'”
Antel said that at the end of the six-week struggle, the Humberwood Treatment Center in Brook Point told him that he should continue his life.
But Freake does not have a family doctor, Antle said, so he will go to the hospital to get his medicine.
According to Lorne Freake, Roy was once assessed as having the cognitive function of a 17-year-old child. His father said that when he was good, he was a hardworking man-Antel called him a good father.
But there are always struggles.
“Roy has a crazy idea, a few weeks later [sober], He is fine-when he is not.He’s not good,” Lorne Flake said. “I always tell him, I say,’You don’t need [these drugs]. That’s not you. ‘”
“He said,’I do.’ I said,’No, Roy, you don’t.'”
The Western Health Service, which runs the Humberwood Center, said it could not comment on any individual cases.
Some of Freake’s struggles are reflected in his criminal record, which dates back to 2010. His last conviction was in December 2020. He was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for assault.
“Prison is like a joke, did you know? One day, the next day,” his father said. “I think the last time he did it, it was about three months. It was nothing to him. It was nothing.”
Lorne Freake said the RCMP detachment learned of this extensive history when he released his son alone to Windsor, Great Falls on Thursday night.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police will not comment on the family’s criticism of how Roy Freake was released on Thursday afternoon, on the grounds that the Newfoundland and Labrador Severe Incident Response Team (SIRT-NL) following the June 11 shooting An ongoing investigation initiated.
SIRT-NL Director Michael King said in a statement that his agency conducts investigations in accordance with criminal standards, but “does not include evaluating and/or revising police agency policies.”
Freake’s funeral was held on Fogo Island a week after his death. Antle departed from Grand Falls-Windsor to attend.
His parents plan to bury him next to his brother Paul in the United Church Cemetery near the Bald Islands. They believe this is the first time that the two brothers have been buried side by side in that cemetery.
He is hell. He wanted to die that night.-Amanda Antel
Paul Freake died suddenly on April 25 in the Drayton Valley in Alta. He is 28 years old.
“I’m like a headless chicken wandering around,” Lorne Freake said. “I don’t know, it’s hard to describe.”
He is stuck in a loop of not knowing what will happen if he refuses to sign Roy Freake’s bail document. Will the police pick him up again so that he can have a place to stay that night?
At the same time, Antel said that the moment of the night was imprinted in her mind: the sound of the paramedic’s defibrillator. The paramedics asked the officials for the time to announce the time of death. Antel stepped over the body of his ex-boyfriend and walked down the stairs.
The first call she made was to Roy’s parents, so they could hear her news.
“All I did was cry and say,’Look, I’m sorry we couldn’t persuade him to stop.’ But I said,’You know, he was bound by hell. He wanted to die that night.'”
In the days after Freake’s death, Antle has been agitating for change. She wanted to talk to politicians to make sure that his death was not in vain.
“I was angry for a few days because I knew it was preventable, and I knew he could have been helped if it was provided properly,” she said.
“Then all I can do for a few days is cry.”