Folker admits Shirran died after they fought

The trial for a man accused of murdering his former girlfriend took an unexpected turn on Wednesday, when lawyers for the defence made several admissions on behalf of their client.

Judge says situation a 'rare occurrence'

David Folker is accused of killing his former girlfriend Ann Marie Shirran in 2010. (CBC)

The trial for a man accused of murdering his former girlfriend took an unexpected turn on Wednesday, when lawyers for the defence made several stunning admissions on behalf of their client.

David Folker, 42, is charged with the second-degree murder of Ann Marie Shirran in July 2010. Folker, originally from Nova Scotia, is also charged with performing an indignity to a human body. 

Folker pleaded not guilty to the charges in May 2012. But on Wednesday afternoon, the second day of his trial, his lawyers admitted Shirran's death was the result of a fight between the couple on July 18, 2010 — the day Shirran went missing. 

The defence also said the jury will hear Folker concede that he put Shirran's body in his car and disposed of her remains near Cappahayden, on the Southern Shore. 

Defence lawyer Scott Hurley said the jury would also hear that the day after Shirran's death, Folker hid her belongings off Blackhead Road, and then lied to police about it.

The statements came after a 24-hour delay in the trial that was requested by the defence following the Crown's opening statements to the jury on Tuesday.

The Crown told the jury that the relationship was strained. They alleged Folker didn't want to lose the couple's one year-old-son, so he took matters into his own hands. 

Emotional testimony

Despite the revelations, the trial continued with emotional testimony from Shirran's mother, Diane Baggs, and friend Jennifer Dalley. 

Baggs cried as she told the court about the days leading up to her daughter's disappearance from her Kilbride home, and the painful months that followed. 

She said she first heard that her daughter was missing in a message left on her answering machine by Folker. Baggs said his behaviour after Shirran's disappearance was odd.

"He was dazed, just staring at me ... holding the baby in his arms," she said. 

She described her daughter as a vibrant person who loved her son unconditionally. 

Dalley corroborated Baggs' testimony, saying Shirran had told her that the relationship with Folker had ended. 

Dalley said that after Shirran's remains were found, Folker told her that the police would be arresting him for her murder.

"He said, 'If she had only listened things wouldn't have been so messy,' " Dalley recalled.

Rare occurrence

Judge Wayne Dymond says the defence's opening statement was a first for him. (Ariana Kelland/CBC)

Justice Wayne Dymond told the court he has never seen a defence team make admissions in their opening statements to the jury.

Dymond said it came as a surprise to everyone, including the Crown.

"At the end of the day you, the jury, still need to decide the guilt or innocence of Mr. Folker on the charges before him," Dymond said.

The trial was originally slated for two months, but the new information means there will be fewer witnesses and a shorter timeframe.

With files from Ariana Kelland