Horne murder trial hears death details

Jennifer Horne's family left the courtroom Thursday before a medical examiner revealed details of how the 20-year-old Nova Scotia woman died.

This story contains disturbing details

Jennifer Horne's body was discovered on Dec. 31, 2007.

Jennifer Horne's family left the courtroom Thursday before a medical examiner revealed the details of how the 20-year-old Nova Scotia woman died.

Dr. Matthew Bowes, Nova Scotia's chief medical examiner, testified at the first-degree murder trial of Desmond Maguire, 39, about the state of Horne's body when he received it on Jan. 1, 2008.

In a calm and quiet voice, Bowes told a Nova Scotia Supreme Court jury in Halifax that Horne's head was so tightly wrapped in duct tape that only her neck and the top of her head were visible. He said her hands and feet were also bound.

Bowes told the court there were three layers of tape: the first covered Horne's mouth and eyes, the middle one had holes cut for her nose and ears, and the third sealed off all of her airways.

He added that there had been hemorrhaging in her eyes and other areas that supported his conclusion that Horne ultimately suffocated.

Bowes said he found numerous bruises and stab wounds all over Horne's body. He said the worst injuries were to her vagina.

"This young lady had quite a number of injuries," Bowes testified. "The number of bruises were so numerous they blend together."

Horne, from Cole Harbour, was reported missing on Dec. 30, 2007. Her body was discovered the next day in a Dartmouth apartment.

Desmond Maguire, seen here at a previous court appearance, is charged with first-degree murder. (CBC)

Jury shown video

On Thursday afternoon, the Crown played videotapes of police interviews with Maguire at Halifax Regional Police headquarters. The first video was recorded on Dec. 31, 2007, when Maguire voluntarily went to police headquarters as officers searched for the missing woman.

"I'm scared … You're probably going to arrest me in 10 seconds," Maguire tells the officers.

"Jennifer's at my place. She's in the closet. She's not alive."

During the interviews, Maguire said he and Horne had gone out for a drink at the now-defunct Thirsty Duck pub after Horne got off work.

He said they left the bar after about an hour and that he had too much to drink, making his recollection of what happened after that difficult.

Maguire told police that when he went out to get something from his car the next day, he found Horne's body in the trunk.

Halifax police Const. Tony Blencowe repeatedly asked Maguire how Horne's body got there and how she died?

Maguire wept and said he didn't know.

"I really, really don't remember," he said, as several of Horne's family members wiped away tears as they watched the lengthy video statement.

During the interview, Maguire told officers his girlfriend, Ashley Haley, 22, was not involved.

Blencowe testified on Thursday that Maguire was arrested about 50 minutes after the start of the interview.

The videotape showed police officers reading Maguire his rights and charging him. Then officers left the interrogation room.

While alone in the room, Maguire is seen sobbing and cursing at himself. At one point he said, "I could say sorry, I apologize, but they're not going to accept that."

He eventually started humming and muttering to himself.

Relatives testified Wednesday

In his opening statement Wednesday, Crown prosecutor Robert Morrison said Horne went out on a date with Maguire, who was a co-worker, on Dec. 29, 2007.

Several of Horne's relatives told the court Wednesday how they began to search for her when she didn't show up for work the next day.

Kevin Horne testified that it was unusual for his daughter to be late for work and he sensed immediately that "something was wrong."

Maguire and his girlfriend were arrested on Jan. 1, 2008.

Haley pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree murder. She faces a mandatory life sentence with no eligibility of parole for 25 years.

With files from The Canadian Press