Lisa Batstone (inset) is on trial for the death of her daughter, Teagan, whose body was found in the back of a vehicle in South Surrey nearly four years ago. (File photos)

Letters shed light on state of mind of B.C. mom accused of daughter’s murder

Trial of South Surrey mother Lisa Batstone begins in BC Supreme Court

Prosecutors in the murder trial of Lisa Batstone say that whether the South Surrey mother had intent to kill her daughter on Dec. 10, 2014 is the issue for the court to decide – and evidence will prove that was the case.

“Ms. Batstone made a decision to kill her daughter,” Crown co-counsel Fatemeh Nejatali told the court during opening statements Tuesday morning in BC Supreme Court in New Westminster. “Lisa Batstone killed Teagan during the early hours of Dec. 10 by suffocating her with a plastic bag.”

Batstone is charged with second-degree murder in connection with her eight-year-old daughter’s death.

Nejatali told the court that 21 witnesses will be called in the case, including RCMP, a toxicologist and Teagan’s father, Gabe.

Evidence shared is to include details of a gap in electronic activity including emails and texts by Batstone in the early hours of Dec. 10, 2014 – a gap Crown asserts is the time during which Teagan was killed.

The court is to also hear about four letters police found during a search of Batstone’s home later that day. One, Nejatali told the court, included the line “I can’t believe I took my daughter’s life.” Another, found on top of a garbage can under the kitchen sink, states, “I’m so sorry.”

The letters offer “a window into (Batstone’s) state of mind,” Nejatali said.

The trial start followed several days of voir-dire evidence that was heard last month to determine if statements made by the accused to witnesses after eight-year-old Teagan’s body was found would be admissible in trial – which Justice Catherine Murray ultimately ruled would be the case.

READ MORE: Child’s body found in car trunk in South Surrey, woman arrested

READ MORE: Psych assessment ordered for South Surrey mother charged with murder

READ MORE: Judge OK’s evidence against South Surrey mother charged with killing her daughter

During the voir dire, the court heard from witnesses including Const. Elizabeth Cucheran, the officer who arrested Batstone after she was found curled up with her daughter’s body in the trunk of a car in a cul-de-sac just south of Crescent Road shortly after noon on Dec. 10, 2014.

Teagan had been a student at Rosemary Heights Elementary.

Cucheran told the court that Batstone, after being told at the Crescent Road scene that she was “under arrest for impaired driving,” told the officer, “I murdered her.”

Medical professionals who interacted with Batstone at Peace Arch Hospital following her arrest were also among witnesses who gave evidence during the voir dire.

Dr. Douglas Maskall, a PAH psychiatrist, recounted what he had been told of how Teagan died; and how Batstone had said she “just wanted (Teagan) to be with Jesus.”

Maskall also told the court that Batstone had said she killed her daughter to “protect” the youngster from her father – who the court heard Batstone had an “acrimonious” relationship with – and because she didn’t want Teagan to “have her (mother’s) brain.”

Batstone had struggled with mental health since her teens, Maskall said. She told him at PAH following Teagan’s death that she had asked for psychiatric help months before. Batstone had been scheduled to see a psychiatrist in January 2015, Maskall noted.

Social worker Jennifer Culbert shared with the court Batstone’s description to her of how she had suffocated her daughter then tried to kill herself.

Batstone also said that she killed Teagan “to spite” her ex-husband, Culbert said.

Tuesday, Nejatali told the court that Teagan’s relationship with her father was not what Lisa Batstone had portrayed. (Family members last month told Peace Arch News that the father and daughter had a loving relationship.)

The father, after flying out from Ottawa to spend time with his daughter that week, had dropped her off at school on Tuesday, Dec. 9.

“She was killed in the early morning hours of Wednesday,” Nejatali said, noting the court would hear that Batstone called her daughter’s school that same morning to say she was sick, and cancelled an appointment the pair had at a local physiotherapy clinic, again citing illness.

Testimony from Sgt. Heather Burwell, who attended Batstone’s home Dec. 12, 2014 to assist in a search warrant, photographing and documenting the scene, was to continue Tuesday afternoon.

Batstone was ordered in January 2015 to stand trial on a charge of second-degree murder, after a court-ordered “fitness assessment” deemed her fit for the proceedings. However, there were multiple delays over the years that followed.

The trial is scheduled until Dec. 7.

 

Lisa Batstone (inset) is on trial for the death of her daughter, Teagan, whose body was found in the back of a vehicle in South Surrey nearly four years ago. (File photos)

File photo Lisa Batstone with daughter Teagan.

Just Posted

State of local financial crisis declared in Fort St. James

The District will have a job fair on July 31 to help workers find transitioning jobs

Regional real estate sales down so far in 2019

Real estate sales in the northwest and Bulkley-Nechako regions of British Columbia… Continue reading

Update: Severe thunderstorm watch upgraded to warning for Cariboo North including Quesnel

Potential for strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain in the afternoon

Northern B.C.’s Ridley coal terminal sold, Canada divests, First Nations to own portion

Ten per cent of shares transferred to the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation

Vanderhoof Clippers are working towards getting a booth rebuilt at the Arena

Terry Lazaruk, president of the club said they haven’t been able to host sanctioned meets due to the lack of a proper timing booth

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Two toddler siblings found drowned on First Nation in Alberta

The siblings were found drowned on their family’s property, according to RCMP

Most Read