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Inquest takes emotional toll on Leighton's parents

The jury could return with a decision as early as Wednesday afternoon at the inquest into the death of Eric Leighton.

Until they do it's a waiting game for everyone involved including lawyers for the ministries of education and labour, the Ottawa Catholic School Board and the Ottawa English Catholic Teachers Association; the coroner's counsel; and Leighton's family.

For Leighton's parents this lenghty process has taken an immense emotional toll both through seven days of evidence and the nearly three years they waited for the inquest to get underway.

They've sat through all of the days of evidence but one, a day they spent at home resting and gathering strength together.

Some of the toughest days included the time Scott Day, Leighton's former teacher took the stand, and the evidence given about steps the school board had already taken to make shop class safer in high schools.

Pat Leighton says one of the hardest things for him is knowing that if those rules and processes were in place before May 26, 2011 his son would still be alive.

"It's very difficult to hear that and, yes he would have been. If Eric had of come to me and wanted to buy a brand new barrel I would have gave him the money. It's a no brainer. Put these rules in place and there's no risk," he said.

Many of those improvements have been included in a list of changes coroner's counsel wants to see the jury recommend be implemented provincewide.

Leighton was using a hot grinding tool to cut into a used oil drum when it exploded. Engineers say it was an aerosol Kleen-Flo spray used to clean the barrel that provided the fuel for the explosion.

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