Edmonton

'Considerable' force needed to fatally injure Cindy Gladue, jury told

A pathologist who performed more than 6,000 autopsies during his career testified he had never before seen a fatal blunt-force injury to the vagina like the one that killed Cindy Gladue.

Warning: Contents of this report include graphic and disturbing details

Drummer Lloyd Cardinal joins others outside the Edmonton courthouse Wednesday morning to honour Cindy Gladue. (Dave Bajer/CBC)

A pathologist who performed more than 6,000 autopsies during his career testified he had never before seen a fatal blunt-force injury to the vagina like the one that killed Cindy Gladue.

Former chief medical examiner Dr. Graeme Dowling performed the autopsy on Gladue in June 2011.

Crown prosecutor Lawrence Van Dyke asked Dowling, who is now retired, how much force it would have taken to cause the fatal injury. 

"Fairly considerable," Dowling said. "I am saying it is enough force to tear and disrupt these tissues through and through the wall of the vagina.

"This is not to me trivial. It is not minor. This is an injury that has resulted in death." 

During cross-examination, defence lawyer Dino Bottos asked: "A human fingernail on a hand, even if clipped and sharp and scratchy, would not cause a cut but could cause a blunt-force injury, correct?"

Dowling agreed the 11-centimetre injury to Gladue could have been caused by a hand.

Cindy Gladue in an undated photo posted on the Facebook site, In Loving Memory of Cindy Gladue. (In Loving Memory of Cindy Gladue/Facebook)

Bradley Barton is on trial for manslaughter in the death of Gladue, 36, whose body was found in an Edmonton hotel room in June 2011. 

She bled to death. Her naked body was found in the bathtub of Barton's hotel room.

The jury has been told that Gladue was last seen alive with Barton going into room 139 at the Yellowhead Inn.

At one point during cross-examination, the Crown escorted Gladue's family out of the courtroom before Bottos placed two photos of the victim laying dead in the bathtub on an overhead projector. 

An Edmonton police detective in charge of exhibits for the case testified Tuesday she found a long metal rod in one of the Yellowhead Inn dumpsters.

Dowling said he could not rule out the possibility that the rod could have been used to injure Gladue. There was no blood on the rod and the Crown told the jury that the rod was not a key piece of evidence. 

"There is no allegation by the Crown and there's no evidence this is associated in any way with the injury in question," Van Dyke said. 

Edmonton obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Erin Bader began to testify as another expert witness for the Crown late Wednesday afternoon.

Her testimony is expected to continue Thursday.

About the Author

Janice Johnston is an award-winning journalist in Edmonton who has covered the courts and crime for more than two decades. You can reach her at janice.johnston@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @cbcjanjohnston

now