Family says fights, violence were routine prior to Hillsborough homicide

·4 min read
Calvin Andrew Lewis has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Tina Tingley-McAleer in Hillsborough in May 2020. (Maeve McFadden/CBC - image credit)
Calvin Andrew Lewis has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Tina Tingley-McAleer in Hillsborough in May 2020. (Maeve McFadden/CBC - image credit)

The first three Crown witnesses testified that Calvin Lewis was repeatedly threatening and violent toward his partner Tina Tingley-McAleer prior to her 2020 death.

"She would call and say something was going on in the house, and she was scared for her life," Samantha Sanford, Tingley-McAleer's daughter, testified.

Lewis is charged in connection with the death of his partner, Tingley-McAleer, on May 2, 2020, in their Hillsborough home south of Moncton.

Lewis has already admitted killing the 43-year-old. The trial is expected to focus on whether he had an intent to kill her. First-degree murder is one that's planned and deliberate.

At the start of the trial, defence lawyer Nathan Gorham said Lewis was prepared to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter. That's a crime involving a death that wasn't planned.

Crown prosecutors refused to accept the plea and the trial started with Sanford's testimony.

Submitted/Jeanne Duff
Submitted/Jeanne Duff

Sanford called her mother an amazing person. They talked regularly, and after Tingley-McAleer moved in with Lewis she started getting calls about fights, threats and violence. Sometimes, in an effort to defuse a situation, her mother would call so her daughter could hear the fights, Sanford testified.

She recounted hearing about a fire at her mother's home in Riverview in September 2019 and trying to reach her by phone, not knowing if she had been inside.

When she reached her mother, she testified, Tingley-McAleer told her there had been an argument before the fire, and she had fled. Sanford testified her mother said Lewis was threatening to stab and kill her.

Tingley-McAleer's sister Laura Tingley was the second witness..

"Toward the end of it, it was almost a daily occurrence that they were fighting," Tingley said. "She could be sitting there on her phone, and he would snap and start yelling and fighting."

A few weeks before her sister's death, Tingley said Tingley-McAleer called her around 2:30 a.m.

"[She said ] he had her by her neck that night, that they were fighting," Tingley said. She went to their home, now in Hillsborough, and sat in a vehicle with the two of them. Tingley testified that while she was there, Lewis threatened her sister but said "'but I love her.'"

He was very abusive toward her. - Shane Brady

An agreed statement of facts entered as an exhibit says Lewis and Tingley-McAleer were in a relationship for about two years before her death.

On the day of her death, Tingley-McAleer was at her home on Main Street in Hillsborough with Lewis and his adult son, Shane Brady.

Brady was the third witness called to testify Wednesday, saying he had never been close to his father and moved into the home at Tingley-McAleer's suggestion after he had been homeless.

Brady said she had wanted to make the relationship with Lewis work, but it wasn't happening.

"He was very abusive toward her," he testified.

On the day she died, Brady woke up around 10 a.m. and saw Tingley-McAleer awake on a living-room couch in a good mood. He went to the bathroom, crossed paths with Lewis in a hallway, and they said good morning to each other.

According to the agreed facts, while in the bathroom, Brady heard "Help! Help! Help! Help me someone Shane, Daniel, help me, help me, help me."

Daniel is the name of one of her children.

Brady initially brushed off what he heard.

"I thought it was just another argument, nothing major," he testified, echoing earlier testimony about regular fights between the two in the six or so months he lived with them.

When he walked back toward the bedroom he saw Tingley-McAleer was lying back on the couch covered in blood. Lewis was standing over her with a knife in his right hand. Brady fled the home and ran to a neighbour's house to get them to call 911.

Lewis told 911 he killed Tingley-McAleer

At 10:16 a.m., Lewis called 911 himself, immediately telling the operator he had killed Tingley-McAleer. The operator asked if he meant to do so, and Lewis responded that he did, according to a transcript of the call.

According to the agreed statement of facts, an autopsy concluded she was killed by multiple stab wounds to her chest. The autopsy found Tingley-McAleer had 32 wounds, including to her heart and lungs.

The knife found in a van driven by Lewis after he left the scene had blood on it. Testing matched it to Tingley-McAleer's DNA, the agreed facts state.

Some of Wednesday's testimony is expected to be subject of legal arguments later in the trial.

Lewis, wearing an orange sweater, has sat in the prisoner's box quietly listening to the testimony, occasionally looking straight down at the floor.

While the case originally was set to be heard by a jury, last month Lewis chose to have the case tried by only a judge. The trial has been scheduled for four weeks, though it's unclear if it will still take that long since it no longer involves a jury.

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