Ottawa

Accused killer's blood found in victim's Barrhaven home, expert tells court

Blood belonging to a woman accused in the 2014 murder of her lover's wife was found at the scene of the killing, a forensic analyst told an Ottawa court Thursday.

Gurpreet Ronald, Bhupinderpal Gill charged with murder in 2014 Barrhaven killing

Jagtar Gill's badly beaten body was found on Jan. 29, 2014, in her family's suburban Barrhaven home. (Submitted by Jagtar Gill's family)

Blood belonging to a woman accused in the murder of her lover's wife was found at the scene of the killing, a forensic analyst told an Ottawa court Thursday.

Staff Sgt. Ugo Garneau testified that he was called in to examine bloodstains in the Barrhaven home where Jagtar Gill's body was found in January 2014.

Hundreds of bloodstains, some as small as a millimetre, were found in the main-floor living room area, including on the couch, the hardwood floor and the underside of a table, he said.

Samples were taken for DNA analysis, and while several were linked to Gill, at least one sample taken from the living room rug was linked to Gurpreet Ronald, he said.

Ronald and Gill's husband, Bhupinderpal Gill, have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

This is the second time they are being tried in connection with the killing. A new trial was ordered after Ontario's Court of Appeal found the judge who oversaw the first one failed to properly instruct the jury.

Jagtar Gill's body was found by her husband, their eldest daughter and a cousin on Jan. 29, 2014 — the day of the couple's wedding anniversary.

She was badly beaten, her throat and wrist slashed, in the family's home in the neighbourhood of Barrhaven.

The Crown alleges Ronald and Bhupinderpal Gill worked together to carry out the killing. Prosecutors argue Bhupinderpal Gill was tasked with isolating his wife that day by taking their daughter out of their house on
errands, allowing Ronald to come in and kill his spouse.

Bhupinderpal Gill and Gurpreet Ronald have both been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jagtar Gill. They are being tried for a second time after the Ontario Court of Appeal threw out their previous conviction. (CBC)

Initially believed to be suicide

Several first responders called to the scene that day have testified they initially believed the death to be a suicide.

Sgt. Ian Matyas, who was a constable at the time, said Thursday he went up to the second floor of the home to search for a possible suicide note when he spotted bloodstains.

There was one on the mat in the ensuite bathroom, one on the bathroom door and another on the door to the walk-in closet, he said.

"I found the blood concerning because there wasn't very much of it," which didn't fit the nature of Jagtar Gill's injuries, he said.

"I didn't understand how, given the state of her wrist, there could have been that small amount of blood."

The officer said he later noticed a bloodstain on the snow in front of the home as well.

Posed as 'concerned neighbour': detective

Another officer testified Thursday that she encountered Ronald outside the Gill home that afternoon.

Det. Tena Gallichon said the woman, whose identity was unknown at the time, asked if something had happened.

Gallichon said she asked the woman if she was a relative and the woman replied that she lived nearby.

The officer told the court she informed the woman that Gill had died, then consoled her when she appeared distraught.

"She was just a concerned neighbour," she said, noting the woman offered to take care of Gill's children while police were at the home.

Gallichon testified that she considered the encounter "insignificant" at the time but later recognized the woman in a news article as one of the accused in Gill's death.

A paramedic who was called to the scene testified Wednesday that a woman she believes to be Ronald approached her outside the home.

The trial is taking place in an Ottawa courthouse but is also accessible through videoconference.

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