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

Comox Strathcona Waste Management expects to go to tender this summer for the regional organics compost facility in Campbell River. File photo/Black Press
Comox Strathcona compost site should go to tender this summer

The regional organics facility is on target to open for the fall of 2022

WestJet in flight. Black Press file photo
Two COVID exposures on WestJet flight into Comox

The BC Centre for Disease Control has posted advisories for two separate… Continue reading

Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Busy day for Campbell River fire crews

Three incidents in rapid succession keep crews on their toes

New electric buses are coming to school districts. (Submitted photo)
New electric school buses will drive North Island forward

Travel on electric school buses is smoother, quieter, and healthier than traditional diesel buses

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Most Read