'A proven liar:' Crown says man accused of killing woman told lies to cover tracks

·4 min read

EDMONTON — Lawyers have told a jury that a man lied numerous times after finding a woman's body in the bathtub of his Edmonton hotel room, because he either wanted to cover up the sexual assault that killed her or he was in shock.

Bradley Barton, 52, of Mississauga, Ont., has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in the death of Cindy Gladue, a 36-year-old Metis and Cree mother, at the Yellowhead Inn in June 2011.

Medical experts have testified that Gladue bled to death and had four times the legal limit of alcohol in her system when her body was found.

The jury is to begin deliberations Thursday.

Crown prosecutor Lawrence Van Dyke said in his closing argument Wednesday that jurors must determine whether Gladue consented to a sexual activity that caused a fatal wound in her vagina.

They also need to decide whether Barton knowingly injured her, he said.

Barton lied to at least eight people after he said he woke to find Gladue dead, including his wife, colleagues and police, Van Dyke said.

"People tell lies because they feel the results from telling the lie are better for them than the potential consequences of revealing the truth," he said.

"There is a calculation that takes place, a cost-benefit analysis. The truth makes them look bad so they choose to lie. The same holds true for Mr. Barton's lies after Ms. Gladue’s death."

This is the second trial for Barton in relation to her death. His first trial in 2015 sparked rallies and calls for justice for Indigenous women. The case ended up before the Supreme Court of Canada, which ordered in 2019 that Barton be retried.

GRAPHIC WARNING: The following details may disturb some readers.

Defence lawyer Dino Bottos reminded the jury that Barton testified he was working as a moving truck driver when he met Gladue outside the hotel and paid her $60 for sex. Barton said he inserted his fingers into her vagina and she enjoyed herself.

The next day, Barton said he invited Gladue back to the hotel and they drank at the hotel lounge. Later in the room, he said, he performed the same sex act on her but went further.

Barton told the trial that when he noticed Gladue was bleeding from what he believed was her period, he no longer wanted sex and refused to pay her. He said she went to the bathroom and he fell asleep, and he woke the next day to find her bloody body in the tub.

The jury heard from a doctor that excessive force caused an 11-centimetre tear in Galdue's vaginal wall and broke significant blood vessels.

Van Dyke said three medical experts testified she would have been bleeding profusely immediately after the tear.

Crown prosecutor Julie Snowdon previously suggested to the jury that Barton violently forced his knuckles into Gladue while she was passed out. She also alleged Barton picked up the bleeding woman with a comforter, carried her to the bathroom and dumped her in the tub.

"It defies logic that Mr. Barton could have been unaware that Ms. Gladue was seriously injured and in medical distress," Van Dyke said.

"He asked you to accept that, for some reason, Ms. Gladue just walked to the bathroom, without leaving a trail of blood, and then just randomly climbed into the bathtub, never thinking to call for help.

"The testimony he gave during this trial reveals … the concoctions of a proven liar."

Bottos said Barton did not know Gladue was bleeding profusely because only one lamp lit the hotel room.

He said that after Gladue's body was found, Barton lied because he was in shock and feared losing everything, including his job and his wife, if people learned he had paid Gladue for sex.

"When he wakes up at 7:20 in the morning and sees blood smeared all over the bathroom wall, the bathtub, faucet, side wall other locations, including on the floor, imagine how terrifying and how confusing that would be," Bottos said.

"Did you imagine just for that moment — freeze frame — what kind of fear and confusion and terror would be overcoming him?"

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2020.

Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press