'I didn't want her to sleep on the street': Good Samaritan gave Laura Babcock a place to stay, trial hears

The ups and downs of Laura Babcock's life, and the final days before her disappearance in the summer of 2012, are again scrutinized as the trial into her alleged murder continues in Ontario Superior Court in Toronto.

Dellen Millard and former best friend Mark Smich have pleaded not guilty to 1st-degree murder

The trial for two men accused of killing Laura Babcock, a University of Toronto graduate, is now in its second week. (Toronto Police Service/Canadian Press)

It was midnight in late June 2012 when Jessica Trevors was smoking a cigarette on her front porch in the east end of Toronto.

She saw a cab pull up and a young woman with a pile of luggage and tiny white dog got out. The pair settled on a park bench.

Trevors, a 29-year-old pastry chef, said she watched the girl from her porch for about 15 minutes, before deciding to cross the street and introduce herself. The young woman, who turned out to be Laura Babcock, said she had nowhere to go.

"I didn't want her to sleep on the street," Trevors testified today at the Ontario Supreme Court trial into Babcock's murder.

Babcock was 23 years old when she vanished; her body has never been recovered. Prosecutors allege the two men accused of killing Babcock used an animal incinerator to dispose of her body.

Dellen Millard, 32, of Toronto, and co-accused Mark Smich, 30, of Oakville, Ont., have both pleaded not guilty.

Trevors told jury members that Babcock said she'd only come in and charge her phone. She'd call a friend to pick her up because she didn't want to impose.

A tall, scruffy-looking man showed up a few hours later. Trevors said she instantly didn't like him.

"I was uncomfortable with the way he was talking to her," she said.

"He told her to 'get her f---king shit and get in the car.'"

The Crown paused to clarify for the jury that the man who came to pick Babcock up that night was neither of the two accused, Millard nor Smich, sitting a few feet away in the courtroom.

Pastry chef Jessica Trevors, 29, reached over and patted Laura Babcock's parents on the shoulders, after she finished her testimony at their daughter's murder trial. (Chris Dunseith/CBC )

Trevors said Babcock changed her mind about going with the man, and decided to stay with her. She wound up staying for four days.

The first morning, Trevors said she woke up to a clean apartment. Babcock, she said, stayed up all night dusting and doing dishes.

"She said she wanted to show me she was thankful."

The two became friends, hanging out and going to restaurants and bars nearby.

Nowhere to go

Trevors said Babcock was open with her about working as an escort, something court has heard about from a number of witnesses.

But when one of Trevors' friends came over, and Babcock mentioned escorting and suggested Trevors should join in, the friend politely said she thought it was time for Babcock to move on.

Babcock wasn't happy.

"She stomped around a lot," Trevors testified.

Eventually they agreed Trevors would drive Babcock home, to the home of her parents in Etobicoke.

"I felt comfortable taking her there, because that's where I would want to go," she testified.

It was June 30, 2012, when they pulled up outside of Babcock's childhood home — Trevors, Babcock, and her constant companion, Lacey, a Maltese.

Trevors said Babcock seemed happy and the two exchanged numbers and hugs.

They'd talk again later the same day.

Trevors let Babcock know she forgot Lacey's food and water dishes, and a pair of sunglasses at her apartment. Babcock promised she'd pick them up.

She never did.

Dellen Millard, 32, is acting as his own lawyer at the Laura Babcock murder trial. Co-accused Mark Smich has a lawyer. (Toronto Police Service)

A suitcase and her dog

Earlier Tuesday, a Toronto area man who also spent time with Babcock in June 2012 told the court he worried she didn't have a permanent home.

"I was concerned for her, I just wanted her to get settled," Bradley Dean testified.

Dean is the third man to testify that knew Babcock through her work as an escort.

He only knew her as Elle.

Their first meeting was at his downtown Toronto apartment. He told jury members they hung out for an hour and talked.

He said Babcock was "actually quite articulate, intelligent, a conversationalist. She was fun."

At their second meeting, a week later, Babcock arrived with a suitcase. She said she didn't have anywhere to stay.

"I was hoping to help her. It wasn't appropriate for her to stay at my place, but I didn't want her to stay on the street," he said.

Dean, as well as the other men who knew Babcock through escorting, testified they did not sleep with her, but they did pay her. A film and television producer last week told the jury he let Babcock stay at his home for two weeks, while a doctor offered to help her pay for an apartment — though that never materialized. He, and everyone else, stopped hearing from Babcock in early July.

'Are you being truthful?'

Millard, who is acting as his own lawyer, repeatedly tried to point out what he suggested were inconsistencies between Dean's testimony and what he told police.

"Are you being truthful?" Millard asked again and again.

In one of his statements to police, Dean told detectives he had a drink with Babcock at a Toronto bar on July 10, 2012. He later said it was a misunderstanding.

"I'm single and dating. I've met a number of girls there," he said.

But Millard continued to press him, alleging Dean changed his story to protect himself.

During opening statements, the prosecution told the jury Babcock was likely killed by Millard and Smich, at Millard's home on July 3.

"This trial is pretty serious business," Millard said to Dean, sparking an audible scoff from the packed courtroom.

"Do you want to change any of your evidence?"

Dean said he did not.

Jessica Trevors as she faces cross-examination by co-accused Dellen Millard, who's acting as his own lawyer. Also shown is Justice Michael Code. He called Trevors a Good Samaritan and said the Babcock family must appreciate what she did. (Sketch by Pam Davies)

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About the Author

Shannon Martin

Reporter, CBC Toronto

Shannon is an award-winning reporter with CBC Toronto. She was part of the core team that launched "No Fixed Address", a hugely popular series on millenials renting and buying in Toronto. In 2016, Shannon hosted a special live broadcast on-air and on Facebook simultaneously from Toronto Pride, which won top honours in the Digital category at the RTDNA awards. Contact Shannon: shannon.martin@cbc.ca or find her on Instagram at @ShannonMartinTV.