A videotaped police statement that became a key piece of evidence earlier this year in the Sydney second-degree murder trial of Thomas Ted Barrett has been released by the court to CBC News.
The statement is by Sheryl Flynn of Sydney Mines, who told Cape Breton Regional Police Staff Sgt. Phillip Ross that Barrett confessed to her he had strangled to death 21-year-old Brett Elizabeth MacKinnon of Glace Bay in 2006.
Flynn died a year after speaking with police, but Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Robin Gogan ruled the statement admissible in court, even though the witness could not be cross-examined.
The court released the video to the media on Wednesday. The judge will issue her verdict in the Barrett trial on March 21.
'I was in shock'
In her police statement, Flynn told Ross that she had known Barrett for several years and they used to get together for coffee. She said it was during one of those chats that Barrett confessed.
"Out of the blue," she said, "he confided he committed murder … he told me, 'I don't know why but I get an adrenalin rush. I strangled her.'"
Flynn told Ross: "I was in shock. I just listened while he talked, because of his temper. I didn't want to be another Brett."
Flynn made the two-and-a half-hour statement in November 2012. She told the police officer the conversation with Barrett took place in 2009.
Ross is heard on the video asking if Flynn ever told anyone about the conversation and the woman begins to cry. She said police needed to get Barrett for what he had done.
"He's a very dangerous man," she said, "He's very sick, very, very sick."
Flynn died of an accidental drug overdose about a year after making the statement to police.
Both Crown and defence lawyers said the video was their biggest challenge of the trial. In the Crown's case, it was critical to get the "beyond the grave" statement admitted, while the defence wanted it excluded from evidence.
Gogan allowed a redacted statement, saying Flynn was able to recount details in a clear, concise and sequential manner without any obvious difficulty, and she appeared to have no motive to lie.
MacKinnon was last seen in 2006; her remains were found three years later in a wooded area.