A judge has found an Edmonton woman guilty of manslaughter in the death of her five-year-old daughter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

A judge has found an Edmonton woman guilty of manslaughter in the death of her five-year-old daughter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of 5-year-old girl

The woman was charged and pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and assault with weapons, including a belt and a spatula

An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in the death of her five-year-old daughter, who showed up in hospital with brain injuries experts said were often seen in car crash victims.

The woman, who is in her 30s, was charged and pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, failure to provide the necessaries of life and assault with weapons, including a belt and a spatula.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Avril Inglis said there was not enough evidence to convict her beyond a reasonable doubt on those charges.

Inglis said the manslaughter conviction was more fitting because evidence showed the girl’s severe brain injuries were caused by an assault and the only person in the home capable of inflicting them was her mother.

“The assault was forceful enough to cause a devastating brain injury, the type that is often seen in motor-vehicle crashes,” Inglis said.

“Such an intense assault upon a child’s head obviously put (the girl) at risk of bodily harm, which a reasonable person in (her mother’s) circumstances would realize.”

The judge-alone trial heard that the mother called 911 on Oct. 13, 2015, to report that one of her three children was breathing but wouldn’t wake up.

An ambulance arrived at an apartment in northwest Edmonton and took the girl to hospital, where she died four days later.

Late last year, a pathologist testified that the girl’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

Dr. Mitchell Weinberg said the girl arrived at hospital with hemorrhages that were widespread in her brain. He described them as recent injuries. She also had a damaged kidney, a cut under her upper lip and bruises on her cheeks, on the back of her head, near her ear and on her elbows.

Inglis noted during her oral decision that all expert medical witnesses had varying opinions on when the girl suffered the fatal brain injury, but they all agreed they were not the result of an accident such as falling from bed, a chair or down the stairs.

Investigators’ interviews with the girl’s brother and sister, who were ages four and 10 at the time of her death, were played in court. The older sister also testified.

Inglis said the Crown’s evidence for assault with a weapon depended on the older sister’s interviews and testimony.

“(The sister) did not provide any evidence of assault until she was led to it by the interview,” Inglis said. “Her in-court testimony added nothing to this recorded statement.”

The judge said the girl was most likely sleeping when her younger sister was assaulted.

During the trial, the Crown argued the mother’s delay in calling police for her daughter’s injury proves that she failed to provide the necessaries of life.

Inglis disagreed, arguing that the woman called her father after her daughter was showing signs of injury and it was not clear how severe her symptoms were leading up to the 911 call.

“That conduct may be consistent with an inexperienced mother not knowing what to do and panicking,” Inglis said.

She noted that the woman did not try to hide evidence once police arrived and she might have been afraid to involve emergency services because of “the lengthy involvement of government agencies with her children.”

Inglis said the Crown also failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the woman intended to kill or seriously harm her child.

“(The woman’s) intent at the time she committed this assault on (her daughter) is unclear, but that is irrelevant to the general intent on the offence of manslaughter.”

The woman’s sentencing is expected to take place in the fall.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Edmonton murder

Just Posted

President of the Tahltan Central Government, Chad Norman Day, surveys Tahltan territory by helicopter in this July 2019 handout photo. The Tahltan Nation and the British Columbia government have struck what officials say is a historic agreement for shared decision-making for the nation’s territory in northwestern B.C., a hot spot for mineral exploration. Day says the deal shows they are “getting closer and closer to a true nation-to-nation relationship.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Tahltan Central Government
Tahltan Nation, B.C. government sign agreement for shared decision-making

Deal commits the province and the northwest B.C. nation to developing a land-use plan

Hours of practice each day on the part of dancer Braya Kluss keeps her at a high performance level, someting reflected in the competitions she has won. (Submitted Photo)
Remote Tahltan community faces uncertainty with no ‘real’ timeline on Telegraph Creek Road

Provincial transportation ministry says the timeline for road repairs is ‘weather dependent’

Shown is a T-6 Harvard flown by Bud Granley, who has performed at the Vanderhoof Airshow “more times than any other performer,” said Anne Stevens. (Anne Stevens - Vanderhoof International Airshow Society)
Vanderhoof International Airshow a no-go for 2021

Airport open day planned for September

Five rehabilitated grizzly bears were released this month into the Bella Coola area. The Northern Lights Wildlife Society will also be delivering 36 black bears to areas across the province where they were previously found. “They’re ready to go and they’re already trying to get out,” says Angelika Langen. “We feel good when we can make that possible and they don’t have to stay behind fences for the rest of their lives.” (Northern Lights Wildlife Society Facebook photo)
The train station in Smithers pulls into view in a 1959 video of a train trip from Vernon to Prince Rupert. (Screen shot)
VIDEO: Rare footage of Smithers in 1959 featured in train tour video

8mm film converted to video shows Vernon to Prince Rupert by train and Rupert to Vancouver by ship

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read