After listening to graphic and often disturbing evidence for four weeks, the jury in the Bradley Barton manslaughter trial has been given next week off.
Barton is accused of causing the death of Cindy Gladue in June 2011. Her naked body was found in a bathtub in Barton's hotel room. The 36-year-old died from blood loss caused by blunt force trauma to her vagina that resulted in an 11-centimetre injury.
During his four days on the witness stand this week, Barton admitted he had sex with Gladue on two nights at the Yellowhead Inn. He said he inserted his hand up to his knuckles on both nights.
The final defence witness was Dr. C. Paul Sinkhorn who testified by video from California.
He reviewed autopsy photos and the autopsy report before preparing his own 26-page report with his opinions.
Sinkhorn called the injury a laceration that was fairly linear with some jagged parts.
The obstetrician/gynecologist said he's treated three patients who had the same tears caused by sexual intercourse or a sex toy, along with many obstetrics patients who have suffered the same thing through childbirth.
"In my opinion, there was an overstretching of the vagina," Sinkhorn testified. "The wall was stretched beyond its limit. This is a burst type injury. When the vagina bursts, it tends to burst in this linear way."
The doctor said a hand could cause that type of burst injury and that fingernails could contribute to the bursting.
"A fingernail is sharp. It may have jagged edges," Sinkhorn said. "It may cause a small tear that could expand if the vagina is stretched. If the hand is moving in and out, the fingernail could act like a letter opener."
Sinkhorn said some factors could contribute to the condition or healthiness of the vaginal wall. He cited poor nutrition, smoking, childbirth and menopause as possible factors.
Gladue had given birth to three children. She was slender at 5'5" and 110 pounds, and was missing all of her upper teeth. Sinkhorn said that could be a sign of poor nutrition.
The defence entered a photo of Gladue with a cigarette in her mouth, and the jury has been told Barton shared cigarettes with her.
"Smoking very clearly injures tissues," Sinkhorn said.
Without medical records, the defence expert was unable to determine the strength of her vagina or vaginal wall.
Conscious for 30 minutes
An autopsy showed Gladue had four times the legal limit of alcohol in her blood at the time of death. Sinkhorn said alcohol can have a numbing effect on pain.
"I have seen this effect," Sinkhorn testified. "I have seen patients who have had substantial amounts of alcohol. In my clinical opinion, they do seem to have a higher pain tolerance from the alcohol alone."
Barton has told the jury that Gladue did not indicate she was hurt or injured. He also testified the only blood he noticed was on his fingers when he withdrew his hand from her vagina.
Sinkhorn said the hand could have relieved some of the pain at first because it was applying pressure to the wound. It also would have prevented the flow of blood at first.
Defence lawyer Dino Bottos asked how long Gladue might have remained conscious after suffering the injury.
"I would not be surprised if Ms. Gladue could have stayed conscious for half an hour," Sinkhorn testified. "In my opinion she would be conscious and able to walk."
Barton has testified that after he cleaned up, Gladue got up off the bed and went into the bathroom.
Bottos asked the doctor to explain the effects of blood loss.
"As they approach unconsciousness, it's very common they'll start to move wildly and thrash around," Sinkhorn said. "Typically they'll get tired out and become still, pass out and eventually die, unless they get medical attention and blood transfusion."
The jury has heard extensive evidence about the blood staining the walls above the bathtub and in the bathtub itself.
A police bloodstain expert determined the blood found in the bathtub indicated Gladue was repeatedly moving in the tub while she was bleeding.
The jury has been told to return to hear closing arguments on Tuesday, Feb. 16 after Family Day.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Stephen Hillier cautioned the jury to stay away from coverage of the trial.
"It would be very significant and would affect this trial," Hillier said. "I know it's high profile."