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Calgary man who murdered girlfriend and toddler sentenced to life in prison, no parole for 22 years

Robert Leeming, left, was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Calgary mother Jasmine Lovett, right, and her toddler, Aliyah Sanderson. (Julie Debeljak/CBC, Lovett family - image credit)
Robert Leeming, left, was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Calgary mother Jasmine Lovett, right, and her toddler, Aliyah Sanderson. (Julie Debeljak/CBC, Lovett family - image credit)

The man who murdered a Calgary mother and her toddler daughter and then buried their bodies in shallow graves west of the city has been handed a life sentence with no chance of parole for 22 years.

Robert Leeming, 37, was convicted earlier this year of two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Jasmine Lovett and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson in April 2019.

The mother and daughter were found dead in Kananaskis Country in May 2019, weeks after they'd gone missing.

Justice Keith Yamauchi delivered his decision Thursday afternoon.

Leeming cheating on Lovett

Leeming and Lovett had been in a relationship for about a year at the time of the murders. Lovett and her daughter lived with Leeming in his Cranston townhouse.

But Leeming had begun seeing another woman.

He would eventually tell undercover officers Lovett wanted to marry him.

As police began investigating the disappearance of the mother and daughter, Leeming became a suspect.

Five hours into that investigation, Leeming took the undercover officers to the bodies he'd hidden in Kananaskis.

"Someone tried to expose who I am and it ended badly," Leeming told the officers.

Lovett attacked with hammer, rifle

In his testimony, Leeming admitted to striking Lovett a number of times with a hammer before coming back with a rifle and shooting her in the head.

He suggested he attacked her because she'd discovered Aliyah was dead and accused him of being involved.

The day of the killings, Leeming was taking care of Aliyah. He'd picked her up from daycare and brought her back to the townhouse.

Leeming testified in his own defence at trial, claiming Aliyah died that day after accidentally falling down stairs.

But the judge rejected Leeming's version of events.

The medical examiner testified that Aliyah had suffered three distinct head injures.

The blows to the head would have caused the toddler to lose consciousness, suffer seizures and would have left her "gasping for air," said the judge as he summarized the medical evidence.