Lit candles and photographs are seen on display at a vigil for Calgary homicide victims Sara Baillie and her five-year-old daughter Taliyah Marsman, in Calgary, on July 17, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Man killed Calgary woman, daughter because girlfriend broke up with him: Crown

A trial began today for a man accused of killing a Calgary woman and her five-year-old daughter in July 2016.

A man accused in a double murder killed a woman who was trying to protect a close friend and then silenced the woman’s five-year-old daughter who was a witness, a Crown prosecutor suggested Monday.

Edward Downey, 48, is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Sara Baillie, who was 34, and her daughter Taliyah Marsman in July 2016.

In a quiet, hoarse voice, Downey pleaded not guilty Monday before a jury in a Calgary courtroom.

Prosecutor Carla MacPhail said in her opening statement that Baillie was close friends with Downey’s girlfriend, who can only be identified as A.B. because of a publication ban.

She told the jury Downey had struck his girlfriend in the face in front of Baillie. He also blamed Baillie for A.B.’s decision to break up with him and not work for him as an escort, she added.

MacPhail said the girlfriend was more than an intimate partner — she paid the bills and provided a home and a vehicle.

“You will be asked to consider what impact this had on Mr. Downey,” MacPhail told the jurors.

She described how loved ones became concerned when Baillie didn’t show up on July 11 for her shift as a waitress at the Chili’s Grill and Bar at the Calgary airport and Taliyah didn’t attend daycare.

Baillie’s aunt, Marilynne Hamilton, testified that concerned friends and family searched Baillie’s suburban basement suite later the same day.

She said Baillie’s purse was on the floor of her daughter’s room with her wallet still inside. Taliyah’s iPad was plugged in on the bed — unusual, as the child would rarely part with her prized device.

Baillie’s car wasn’t there. MacPhail told the trial it would be found later parked around the corner.

“Something’s not right,” Hamilton recalled thinking.

A friend who was also there called 911.

Read more: Preliminary court hearing for Calgary man in mother-daughter murder

Officers arrived and spoke to Hamilton and her husband in the living room. Just as they were finishing up, an officer took a final look around.

Hamilton said she heard a gasp from the other room.

“I was pleading for him to tell me what he saw and if it was Sara and Taliyah,” she testified, weeping.

“He just kept saying, ‘I don’t know.’”

Hamilton said she and her husband were told to stay where they were.

“We heard him on the radio. He called out different names,” she said. “He said, ‘I need everybody here now.’”

The jury heard Baillie’s body was found was found stuffed into a laundry hamper in her daughter’s closet, duct tape “wrapped around, around, around” her face and neck.

Taliyah was missing and an Amber Alert was issued.

The girl was discovered dead under a bush in a rural area east of Calgary three days later.

“She was almost six, old enough to identify her mother’s killer, especially if she knew him,” MacPhail said.

The cause of death for mother and daughter was deemed to be asphyxiation, the jury heard.

The courtroom’s public gallery was so packed with loved ones and media that an overflow courtroom with a video feed needed to be set up.

Hamilton testified she was close with Baillie and Taliyah and that they’d visit four or five times a week.

Baillie loved her family and friends, she said.

“She was the type of person who would have given the last dollar in her wallet to somebody else who needed it,” she said.

“She loved Taliyah. Taliyah was her life.”

When asked if Baillie was protective of Taliyah, Hamilton said she was. She was asked whether the same was true for her friends and family.

“Absolutely,” Hamilton replied.

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Family Day at the Mission Leisure Centre

Families participating in events including floor hockey, bouncy castle, skating, swimming and more

VIDEO: Bear Hide Campaign March goes through downtown Mission

Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal men stand up against violence towards women and children

Homicide team investigating after body found in Abbotsford

Resident finds deceased person on Keeping Road on Sumas Mountain

Over a dozen birds found mysteriously dead on Abbotsford road

Ministry of Agriculture notified of the strange occurrence on No. 4 Road

‘Distraction’ jewelry thieves in Abbotsford are getting violent, police say

Two elderly women were attacked and had items stolen by a woman

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

VIDEO: Giants win 10th straight on home ice in Langley

Family Day was about spending time with the fans and dazzling them with a 3-2 victory over Seattle

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

Most Read