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

William Griffin arrested in Houston homicide

RCMP have now arrested William Griffin, the man wanted in connection to… Continue reading

B.C. First Nation Chief Ed John faces historic sex charges

John served as minister for children and families under then-premier Ujjah Dosanjh

RCMP traffic stop leads to recovery of stolen Peterson Contracting service truck

Welder found in the back of a different vehicle by RCMP

Acwalscta students take on Spirit North bike race

Spirit North is an athletics program that aims to engage First Nations youth in sports

BCTF rejects mediator’s recommendations for settlement

Negotiations between B.C. teachers and the province will continue

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Most Read