Caitlan Coleman’s mother told an Ottawa courtroom today she hardly recognized her daughter when she and her then-husband Joshua Boyle returned from captivity in Afghanistan in 2017.

“She was totally changed to my mind,” Lynda Coleman testified at Boyle’s sexual assault trial. “She was very non-expressive. Her voice was changed.”

Boyle, Coleman’s estranged husband, faces 19 charges, including assault with a weapon, sexual assault and forcible confinement against her. The 35-year-old has pleaded not guilty to charges for actions allegedly committed after he and Coleman were freed following nearly six years in captivity, during which time their three children were born.

After the couple’s release in October 2017, they settled in Ottawa.

Caitlan Coleman was subsequently hospitalized; her mother said she travelled from the U.S. to Ottawa to be at her bedside. Even after she recovered, Lynda testified, Caitlin — or Katie, as she called her — was not herself.

“She seemed like a robot or an automaton,” Lynda said under Crown questioning.

She testified that Boyle was controlling and expected her daughter to take care of the house and the children. Boyle was also cold and arrogant, she said.

“Josh never showed any affection,” Lynda said. “He never showed any respect. He didn’t help with the children or with household chores.”

The defence will cross-examine Lynda Coleman later today.

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