Calgary

Calgary mother suffered violent death, jurors hear as autopsy results detailed at Downey murder trial

It was another day of horrific evidence for the families of a five-year-old girl and her mother as the medical examiner detailed the injuries the two suffered.

WARNING: This story contains disturbing and graphic details

Sara Baillie, left, was found dead in the home she was renting in Panorama Hills. The body of her five-year-old daughter, Taliyah Leigh Marsman, was found three days later. (Facebook)

It was another day of horrific evidence for families of a five-year-old girl and her mother as the medical examiner detailed injuries the two suffered at the trial for the man accused of their murders.

Dr. Bamidele Adeagbo testified on day six of Edward Downey's first-degree murder trial. Downey is accused of killing Sara Baillie, 34, and her daughter Taliyah Marsman, 5. 

Adeagbo had finished telling jurors about Baillie's injuries and had just begun testifying about Marsman's autopsy results when court broke for the day. 

Several family members had to leave the courtroom as Adeagbo began talking about the condition Marsman​ was found in when her body was discovered outside, three days after she was believed to have been killed. 

The child had insects on and around her face. Her skin had darkened having been left out in the July sun. 

Baillie's body was found stuffed into a laundry hamper in her daughter's bedroom closet on July 11, 2016. Marsman​ was found in a stand of bushes just east of the city three days later.

It is the Crown's theory that Marsman​ was murdered because she witnessed her mother's slaying, or at least recognized the killer who was inside their home.

Broken bone in Baillie's neck

Adeagbo told prosecutor Carla MacPhail that Baillie had been strangled and died of asphyxiation: "death at the hands of someone else," he said.

The single mother had been so violently choked her killer had broken a bone in her neck. She was also smothered. 

If Baillie was alive when she was stuffed into the laundry hamper, her position would have killed her by restricting her breathing, said Adeagbo.

When Baillie's body was discovered, her face, neck and wrists were wrapped in duct tape. Adeagbo said there were five layers around her head covering her mouth.

Jurors have already heard two of Downey's fingerprints were found on duct tape wrapped around Baillie's head.

Bruises, contusions and scrapes covered the victim's face including on the tip of her nose, the medical examiner said. 

Edward Downey, 48, has been in custody since his arrest. His jury trial is set to last until December 14, 2018. (CBC)

Three other injuries were of note to the doctor. 

Adeagbo said Baillie had internal bleeding and damage to her upper abdomen which happened before other blunt force injuries to her back near her shoulder blades.

Baillie had also been hit so hard in the face, a hole had been left in her left cheek.

Downey's defence lawyers Gavin Wolch and Meryl Friedland have not yet had a chance to cross-examine Adeagbo. 

Last week, Downey's girlfriend at the time of the killings testified that by July 10, 2016 — the day before Baillie's body was discovered — her relationship with Downey had deteriorated. 

Marsman's autopsy results Tuesday

The former girlfriend, who can only be identified as AB, said he had hit her in the face and she had refused to begin working for him as a prostitute.

AB and Baillie were best friends.

In her opening statement to jurors, prosecutor Carla MacPhail ​suggested Downey may have blamed Baillie for AB trying to leave him and refusing to work for him as an escort.

Evidence from Downey's cell phone will show it was in the area of Baillie's home the day she was killed and then later that day in the rural area where Marsman's body was found, according to MacPhail.

Adeagbo will continue testifying about Taliyah's autopsy results on Tuesday.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Beth Hughes is presiding over the trial.

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary.