Mother tells B.C. murder trial she regrets leaving her daughter home alone

VANCOUVER — The mother of a 13-year-old girl killed six years ago told a British Columbia Supreme Court jury she regrets allowing the girl to stay home alone the day she went missing.

Ibrahim Ali has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of the teen, whose body was found in Burnaby's Central Park early on July 19, 2017, just hours after her mother reported her missing.

The Chinese mother said through an interpreter that had she known there were "bad guys" living nearby, she would have forced the girl to come with her to visit a friend's farm in Langley the previous afternoon.

The woman, who can't be named because of a publication ban protecting the identity of her daughter, previously testified that she made the girl lunch and invited her to go to the farm, but the teen decided to stay behind.

The mother told the court during cross-examination that she felt the girl had grown up and she respected her enough to stay home alone until she returned.

The girl's mother told the trial earlier that she and her daughter had an agreement that she would not go into Central Park after dark, but under cross-examination on Tuesday she said they did not discuss the promise on the day she died.

"I also very much regret that I did not cause her to go with me, so much so that I lost her," the mother told the jury through the interpreter on Tuesday.

She said she did not remember checking her daughter's wallet for money on the day she died.

Crown attorney Isobel Keeley said in an opening statement in April that the court would hear evidence showing the murder was random, but DNA results would prove that Ali sexually assaulted the girl.

She said the evidence would show the girl was passing through the neighbourhood park when she was dragged off a pathway into the forest by Ali, sexually assaulted and strangled.

The defence has not yet told the jury its theory of events.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 5, 2023.

The Canadian Press