Lit candles and photographs are seen on display at a vigil for Calgary homicide victims Sara Baillie and her five-year-old daughter Taliyah Marsman, in Calgary, on July 17, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Man killed Calgary woman, daughter because girlfriend broke up with him: Crown

A trial began today for a man accused of killing a Calgary woman and her five-year-old daughter in July 2016.

A man accused in a double murder killed a woman who was trying to protect a close friend and then silenced the woman’s five-year-old daughter who was a witness, a Crown prosecutor suggested Monday.

Edward Downey, 48, is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Sara Baillie, who was 34, and her daughter Taliyah Marsman in July 2016.

In a quiet, hoarse voice, Downey pleaded not guilty Monday before a jury in a Calgary courtroom.

Prosecutor Carla MacPhail said in her opening statement that Baillie was close friends with Downey’s girlfriend, who can only be identified as A.B. because of a publication ban.

She told the jury Downey had struck his girlfriend in the face in front of Baillie. He also blamed Baillie for A.B.’s decision to break up with him and not work for him as an escort, she added.

MacPhail said the girlfriend was more than an intimate partner — she paid the bills and provided a home and a vehicle.

“You will be asked to consider what impact this had on Mr. Downey,” MacPhail told the jurors.

She described how loved ones became concerned when Baillie didn’t show up on July 11 for her shift as a waitress at the Chili’s Grill and Bar at the Calgary airport and Taliyah didn’t attend daycare.

Baillie’s aunt, Marilynne Hamilton, testified that concerned friends and family searched Baillie’s suburban basement suite later the same day.

She said Baillie’s purse was on the floor of her daughter’s room with her wallet still inside. Taliyah’s iPad was plugged in on the bed — unusual, as the child would rarely part with her prized device.

Baillie’s car wasn’t there. MacPhail told the trial it would be found later parked around the corner.

“Something’s not right,” Hamilton recalled thinking.

A friend who was also there called 911.

Read more: Preliminary court hearing for Calgary man in mother-daughter murder

Officers arrived and spoke to Hamilton and her husband in the living room. Just as they were finishing up, an officer took a final look around.

Hamilton said she heard a gasp from the other room.

“I was pleading for him to tell me what he saw and if it was Sara and Taliyah,” she testified, weeping.

“He just kept saying, ‘I don’t know.’”

Hamilton said she and her husband were told to stay where they were.

“We heard him on the radio. He called out different names,” she said. “He said, ‘I need everybody here now.’”

The jury heard Baillie’s body was found was found stuffed into a laundry hamper in her daughter’s closet, duct tape “wrapped around, around, around” her face and neck.

Taliyah was missing and an Amber Alert was issued.

The girl was discovered dead under a bush in a rural area east of Calgary three days later.

“She was almost six, old enough to identify her mother’s killer, especially if she knew him,” MacPhail said.

The cause of death for mother and daughter was deemed to be asphyxiation, the jury heard.

The courtroom’s public gallery was so packed with loved ones and media that an overflow courtroom with a video feed needed to be set up.

Hamilton testified she was close with Baillie and Taliyah and that they’d visit four or five times a week.

Baillie loved her family and friends, she said.

“She was the type of person who would have given the last dollar in her wallet to somebody else who needed it,” she said.

“She loved Taliyah. Taliyah was her life.”

When asked if Baillie was protective of Taliyah, Hamilton said she was. She was asked whether the same was true for her friends and family.

“Absolutely,” Hamilton replied.

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

Ellis Ross (left), BC Liberal party, celebrated with his wife, Tracey after being named the preliminary winner of the 2020 snap provincial election.
Ross presumptive Skeena winner in snap B.C. election

Election outcome will not be official until mail-in ballots are counted

Voting has officially closed throughout B.C. for the 2020 snap provincial election. (Clare Rayment)
Map of Skeena polling stations

Watch the updates on the map below as polling stations are counted throughout Skeena riding

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
Police situation leads to ‘hold and secure’ at North Okanagan school

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 outbreak forces closure of Kelowna school

The outbreak is the first within B.C.’s school system since classes resumed back in September

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

FILE – B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts owner, Senator David Braley speaks after the CFL announced Vancouver will host the 2014 Grey Cup championship football game during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday March 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Lions owner David Braley dead at 79

Braley had bought the CFL team prior to 1997 season

NDP Leader John Horgan speaks with the owner of a barber shop while campaigning in Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Campaigning was restricted by the coronavirus pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s B.C. majority came with historically low voter turnout

Barely half of eligible voters cast ballots in snap election

Most Read