Accused in Jagtar Gill murder trial asked friend to keep crime scene detail from police

A woman accused in the fatal stabbing of Jagtar Gill told an interior designer working at her house that she saw blood inside the Gill home on the day of the stabbing, then two days later told her not to share that information with police, an Ottawa court heard Monday.

Gurpreet Ronald mentioned blood in Gill home to friend, then later asked her not to tell police

Jagtar Gill, 43, was found dead in her home on Jan. 29, 2014. (Gill family)

A woman accused in the fatal stabbing of Jagtar Gill told a friend doing interior design work at her house that she saw blood inside the Gill home on the day of the stabbing, then two days later told her not to share that information with police, an Ottawa court heard Monday.

Gurpreet Ronald, 37, is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of Gill, 43, who was found bludgeoned and stabbed to death on the afternoon of Jan. 29, 2014 in her home on Brambling Way in the Ottawa community of Barrhaven.

Also facing a first-degree murder charge is Jagtar Gill's husband, 40-year-old Bhupinderpal Gill.

The Crown alleges Ronald and Bhupinderpal Gill were lovers and conspired to murder Gill's wife because they were involved in a long-term affair. 

The two are being tried together, but have each retained their own legal counsel.

On Monday afternoon the court heard from Rosa DeMarco, a public servant with a side business as an interior designer, who was working at Ronald's home on the day Gill's body was found.

Friend saw Ronald on day Gill found dead

DeMarco said she and Ronald were friends, and that Ronald had confided in her that she believed her husband was having an affair and that she planned to leave the marriage.

Bhupinderpal Gill, left, and Gurpreet Ronald have both been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jagtar Gill. (CBC)
DeMarco said she had also met Bhupinderpal Gill through Ronald and that after a few visits she noticed the two had feelings for each other. But she said Ronald never confirmed or denied that and described Gill as "an old family friend." 

DeMarco told Ontario Superior Court Justice Julianne Parfett and the 12-person jury that Ronald arrived home that afternoon at about 3:30 p.m. "out of sorts" and distracted.

She said Ronald said something about her husband and then broke down crying, saying "It's tough" and then "I'm tough and I'll deal with it." Then Ronald's children ran in screaming about police at the nearby Gill home, DeMarco said.

Ronald told DeMarco she had seen Bhupinderpal Gill earlier at grocery store buying cake and flowers, and then described going to the Gill home front door. Ronald said she saw police there, noticed the door ajar and said she saw blood in the home, DeMarco said.

Last week in court, a police officer at the scene testified Ronald had twice approached the front door of the house but was blocked from doing so.

DeMarco said Ronald was in a daze and seemed preoccupied.

Ronald asked DeMarco not to mention talk

DeMarco said two days later she went to see Ronald and Ronald seemed confused that she had told DeMarco about the blood.

She told the court Ronald asked her not to tell police about the conversation about seeing blood in the home.

DeMarco said she was emphatic in her response, saying "I can't do that."

DeMarco said Ronald spoke of how the police had interrogated her and that she thought her phone had been tapped. DeMarco said she felt uncomfortable having the conversation and wanted to leave the house.

Under cross-examination from James Harbic, Bhupinderpal Gill's lawyer, DeMarco clarified the exchange, saying Ronald had begun to ask "Well if they ask you about the blood, can you not…" and DeMarco responded, "Are you asking me not to say anything?"

She said Ronald nodded in agreement.

"I could tell from her body language," she said.

She said her "heart sank" when Ronald was arrested a few months later.

Ronald's blood found at Gill home

Earlier on Monday, the court heard that several blood samples taken from the home of Jagtar Gill were identified as belonging to Gurpreet Ronald.

Det. Ugo Garneau, a blood spatter expert with the Ottawa Police, testified Monday that there were more than 140 blood stains on the living room rug of the Gill home where Jagtar Gill's body was found.

Garneau collected 75 blood swabs from the Gill home to the Ontario Centre for Forensic Science but selected only a few for analysis.

The first round of swabs Garneau sent came back identifying that Gurpreet Ronald's blood was on seven out of ten of those samples, he said.

Her blood was found on the rug where Gill's body was found, and also in the second floor hallway, the master bedroom carpet, the door frame of a cupboard, the door of the master bedroom closet and the door of the master bedroom bathroom and on a mat in the bathroom, Garneau testified. Garneau said two of the stains appeared to have been wiped.

Attackers often sustain wounds in stabbings

He said when a weapon like a knife is used in an attack it is more than likely the attacker will sustain a wound as well.

Under cross examination by Harbic, the detective testified that no blood from his client was found in the family's home.

Michael Smith, lawyer for Gurpreet Ronald, asked Garneau if he could pinpoint when the blood stains from his client would have been made.

"I can't tell how long they would have been there," replied Garneau.