Jurors in the Winnipeg murder trial of Mark Stobbe, who is accused of killing his wife in 2000, heard audio footage of Stobbe's statement to RCMP after she was found dead.

In the audio recording from Oct. 25, 2000, about five hours after Beverly Rowbotham was found beaten to death inside her car in Selkirk, Man., Stobbe told RCMP Sgt. Sheldon Peddle that he and Rowbotham had a "pretty good" marriage.


Beverly Rowbotham was found dead in her car at a gas station near Selkirk, Man. (CBC)

A recording of the 70-minute conversation was played Thursday for jurors in the second-degree murder trial of Stobbe, who was a high-ranking political adviser in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

"Was there any tension at all between you and Bev for any reason at all?" Peddle, who was a constable at the time, asked Stobbe as they sat in an RCMP cruiser outside the River Road home where Stobbe and Rowbotham lived with their two young sons.

"Not particularly," replied Stobbe. "Like the fact she got grumpy around menstruation period and you learn to expect it."

"Were you happy here?" Peddle asked.

"Oh yeah, I love it here. Or I did. Still will," Stobbe answered.

Seemed 'out of sorts'

Peddle testified on Thursday that Stobbe seemed "out of sorts" and "lost" as he gave the statement, but he did not seem overly emotional.


Mark Stobbe is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Beverly Rowbotham. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge. (CBC)

The Crown's theory is that Stobbe hit his wife 16 times with a hatchet behind the couple's sprawling rural property in St. Andrews, Man., dragged her to a sedan in the garage, drove her body 15 kilometres away, then bicycled back home and reported her missing hours later.

Stobbe, who was arrested eight years after his wife's death, has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge. His trial began Jan. 16 in Winnipeg and is expected to continue until the end of March.

Stobbe had served as a senior adviser to former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow before moving to Manitoba in June 2000 for a communications job with the recently elected NDP government of Gary Doer.

According to the RCMP recording, Stobbe told police his wife suddenly decided to go grocery shopping late at night because he was watching a baseball game on television.

Stobbe told Peddle he fell asleep with one of his two sons and woke up around 2:30 a.m. to discover his wife had not returned.

The following is a transcript, released by the court, of Stobbe's statement to RCMP. CBC News has redacted some personal details from the document, including phone numbers, specific addresses, the names of Stobbe and Rowbotham's children, and the name and address of Rowbotham's mother.

With files from The Canadian Press