British Columbia

Gabe Batstone testifies against ex-wife charged with murdering daughter

The father of eight-year-old Teagan Batstone testified against his ex-wife in a New Westminster courtroom on Monday. Lisa Batstone faces a second degree murder charge in the case.

Lisa Batstone is on trial for the 2nd degree murder of her daughter, Teagan Batstone

Gabe Batstone, left, speaks with Crown counsel Christopher McPherson outside the New Westminster courthouse on Monday. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Gabe Batstone kept his emotions in check throughout his testimony Monday in the second-degree murder trial of his ex-wife, Lisa Batstone.

The case revolves around the December 2014 death of Gabe Batstone's eight-year-old daughter, Teagan. The child was found dead in the trunk of her mother's car in Surrey.

Batstone said the hardest part of his testimony came when he was asked about the last time he saw Teagan alive.

It was two days before her death. Batstone was dropping her off at school late after a dentist appointment.

"I remember the steps down the hallway, holding her hand, of course — she always loved to hold hands — and seeing the door open and her hand, almost like a movie, her fingers pulling away as she walked and neither of you knowing, you'll never see each other again," he said outside the New Westminster courthouse.

"If you could do it again, I would have hugged and kissed her and smothered her, right? But having said that, it was the beautiful touching way that we always left each other," said Batstone.

"We didn't need to say a lot."

'Sometimes combative'

Batstone lives in Ottawa and throughout his testimony he described the fraught relationship he had with Lisa Batstone after their separation in 2008, when Teagan was two.

"Communication was challenging," he testified. "Sometimes acrimonious, sometimes combative."

Correspondence revolved around co-ordinating visits with their daughter, who mainly lived with her mother.

Batstone told the court that in the last few years he would get flurries of emails and text messages but would try to limit his responses to weekly emails on Sunday.

He said he tried to limit meetings to public areas.

Phone calls were avoided, because, he said, they couldn't be recorded and he wanted some kind of a record of all their interactions. 

The court heard about an incident in 2012 when Lisa Batstone was hospitalized after trying to take her own life.

In the weeks that followed, Gabe Batstone took Teagan back to Ottawa and tried to get temporary custody, but a judge ultimately decided to restore the original custody arrangement.

Lisa Batstone's lawyer, Tony Paisana, asked Gabe Batstone about trying to restrict his ex-wife's access to their daughter after the suicide attempt. 

Lisa Batstone and her daughter, Teagan, in a picture posted to Facebook in 2014. (Facebook)

At the time, Batstone answered that he and his current wife had applied to the court to order all visits be supervised 

"We wanted some oversight for her [Teagan's] safety," he told the court, adding that they didn't stop Teagan from having webcam calls with her mother.

Paisana asked Batstone if he thought his ex-wife was "spiralling" in the two months before Teagan's death.

"I felt like something was clearly different," he answered.

He said he hadn't set eyes on Lisa Batstone since his daughter's death.

Not once did he address his ex-wife, who was sitting in the prisoner's box with a pen and yellow legal pad.

"I didn't look at her," said Batstone outside the courthouse. "From my perspective, I don't have anything to do, say or even think about her. This is just about justice for Teagan."

The trial is expected to last several more weeks.


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About the Author

Rafferty Baker is CBC Vancouver's mobile journalist. Follow him @raffertybaker