New Brunswick

Richard Oland's mistress, Diana Sedlacek, testifies about final texts to slain lover

Richard Oland's longtime mistress Diana Sedlacek testified Tuesday about her increasingly desperate attempts to reach him on July 7, 2011 — the day his body was discovered.

Dennis Oland, who is on trial in his father's death, had described the affair as a 'family concern'

Diana Sedlacek, Richard Oland's mistress, testified Tuesday at Dennis Oland's second-degree murder trial in Saint John. (CBC)

Richard Oland's mistress, Diana Sedlacek, says she tried to reach him repeatedly on the evening of July 6, 2011, the night Saint John police believe he was bludgeoned to death.

Sedlacek was growing impatient after several text messages and calls to him went unanswered, she testified Tuesday at the murder trial of Dennis Oland, 47, who is accused of killing his father.

Sedlacek had been having a "romantic relationship" with the multi-millionaire for about eight years and she "absolutely" expected to hear back from him, she said.

At 11:12 p.m., she texted, "Pathetic!" And the following morning, when she still got no response, she texted again at 9:37 a.m., asking, "What the hell is going on with you?????????"

Richard Oland's bludgeoned body was discovered that morning, face down in a pool of blood in the office of his investment firm, Far End Corporation.
Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. (Canadian Yachting Association)

The 69-year-old prominent businessman, whose investments were worth about $36 million, had been killed "in a rage," according to the prosecution. He suffered 45 sharp and blunt force injuries to his head, neck and hands. No weapon was ever found.

Dennis Oland, who was the last known person to see his father alive during a meeting at his Canterbury Street office the night before, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and is standing trial before a judge and jury in the Court of Queen's Bench in Saint John.

The accused told police he was wearing a navy blazer when he visited his father around 5:30 p.m., but video surveillance of him earlier that day showed he was a wearing a brown sports jacket.

Police later seized a brown sports jacket with a dry cleaning tag still attached from his bedroom closet. The jacket had four areas of blood on it that matched his father's DNA profile, the court has heard.

Dennis Oland, 47, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the 2011 death of his father, prominent businessman Richard Oland. (CBC)
During the trial, which began on Sept. 16, the prosecution has suggested the accused's deteriorating financial situation may have been a possible motive, and that concern about the affair may have also been a factor.

The defence has previously suggested Richard Oland's extramarital affair with Sedlacek had started to sour in the months leading up to his bludgeoning death.

Sedlacek testified she was at home on Darlings Island on the night in question — at least a 30-minute drive away from the crime scene, according to Google Maps.

Her then-husband, Jiri Sedlacek, was also home that night, she told the packed courtroom, where sheriff's deputies had set up extra chairs to accommodate the unusually large crowd.

Sedlacek, who has since moved out of province, said her husband only became aware of her affair when police questioned him following Oland's death.

Husband says he didn't know about affair

Jiri Sedlacek, 87, testified he first learned of the affair about 15 months later, when his lawyer shared a media report about it with him.

He said he had met Oland around 2003 and had socialized with him and his wife, Connie, about eight to 10 times over the years.

Under direct examination by Crown prosecutor Patrick Wilbur, Sedlacek said he liked talking to Oland, describing him as well-travelled and interesting. 

"What, if anything did you have to do with the death of Richard Oland?" Wilbur asked.

Jiri Sedlacek, 87, testified that he only learned of his wife's affair in October 2012, about 15 months after Richard Oland was killed. (CBC)
"Nothing," replied Sedlacek, who retired in 1988 as director of corporate planning for Bata Shoes.

Defence lawyer Alan Gold argued it was hard to believe Sedlacek didn't know about the eight-year affair and suggested it was a good motive for murder.

Sedlacek admitted he "probably" would have been "very upset" if he had known his wife of 24 years was cheating on him, but insisted he didn't even suspect.

He was questioned twice by Saint John police and ruled out as a suspect.

But Gold pointed out they never asked to see his bank or phone records, or the GPS for his car.

'Texting, calling, praying'

Lead Crown prosecutor P.J. Veniot asked Diana Sedlacek about her relationship with the older Oland.

Sedlacek, who was a Saint John real estate agent, said it started shortly after they met. They would get together about three times a week, including "fairly frequently" at his uptown office.

"Often after church on Sunday," she said. "He was very interested in wanting to share his week with me, show me what he had done,… ask me questions about what he should do."

They also travelled together "many times," and were planning a trip to Portland, Maine, just before his death, she said.

They had been texting earlier on July 6, 2011, about possible travel dates, according to five pages of text messages submitted into evidence.

Several of the messages, which Sedlacek still has on her cellphone, ended with the affectionate sign-off: "Kisses."

I knew something horrible had happened. I didn't know what.- Diana Sedlacek, mistress

But by 6:44 p.m., she believed he had turned off his cellphone, which the court has heard was the only item that was missing from the crime scene and was never recovered.

"I have a lot of men who would [love] 2 b with me!!!!!" Sedlacek had texted from her Darlings Island home. "Answer the damn phone! I [will] call at your house."

The tone of her messages changed, however, when she still couldn't reach him later the next morning. She was "texting, calling, praying," she said.

After a hair appointment in uptown Saint John, she walked toward Oland's office and saw uniformed police officers outside. She texted again, asking why police were there.

"I'm trying to reach everyone," she said, including Oland's secretary Maureen Adamson and his business associate Robert McFadden. "What has happened PLEASE I [love] you. God be with you My Love - Praying praying."

Then she saw his car being towed away​. "I knew something horrible had happened. I didn't know what."

Sedlacek said it was later that day when she found out Oland was dead. She told the court she could not recall who told her.

'Fatal attraction type of person'

The court has previously heard several members of the Oland family were aware of the affair.

Dennis Oland had described it as a "family concern" and had asked his father's business associate to tell him that word of the affair was "getting out" and to "cool it."

During a voluntary police statement on July 7, when Oland was asked if he could think of anyone else who would "have an interest" in killing his father, his first response was, "Someone who wanted $20 out of a wallet to buy drugs? Um … this is reaching, a vindictive ex-girlfriend?"

"The only person that comes to mind is this supposed girlfriend," said Oland, describing Sedlacek as being known as a Dragon Lady and "fatal attraction type of person."

The defence surprised the court by choosing not to cross-examine Sedlacek on Tuesday afternoon.

The trial is on recess until Monday. Judge John Walsh reassured the jury it is running on schedule and should wrap up by Dec. 18.