'You let her die:' Crown argues woman found dead in tub too drunk for consensual sex

·3 min read

EDMONTON — A Crown prosecutor has accused a man of forcing violent sex on a woman who was too drunk to consent and of letting her bleed to death in the bathtub of his hotel room.

Bradley Barton repeatedly took sips of water as prosecutor Julie Snowdon challenged him on the witness stand Thursday during his manslaughter trial.

The 52-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., has pleaded not guilty to killing Cindy Gladue, a 36-year-old Métis and Cree mother, at Edmonton's Yellowhead Inn in June 2011.

Jurors have already heard from medical experts that Gladue suffered from a severe and fatal wound to her vagina and that she had four times the legal limit of alcohol in her system when she bled to death.

Snowdon challenged Barton during his fourth day of testimony on whether he asked Gladue for consent to perform a sexual act on her.

"Mr. Barton, were you being careful to not hurt or offend and careful to not exceed the bounds of consent for the entire evening that you (were) with Ms. Gladue?" Snowdon asked.

"I would say yes, I was," Barton responded.

Snowdon suggested Barton didn't ask Gladue what she wanted to do when he invited her to his hotel room. She also said Gladue was too intoxicated to consent.

"That's incorrect," Barton said.

This is the second trial for Barton in relation to Gladue's 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. The high court ordered in 2019 that Barton be retried.

Barton previously told the jury that he was working as a long-distance truck driver when he checked into the hotel. He said he paid Gladue $60 to have sex with him one night and invited her back the next night. He said they had drinks in the hotel lounge before going to his room.

GRAPHIC WARNING: The following details may disturb some readers.

Barton testified he and Gladue may have had another drink in the room, then she started giving him oral sex.

She was "halfway passed out" — but not drunk — he said, when he put all five of his fingers into her vagina, up to his knuckles, and began thrusting.

Barton testified he noticed blood on his fingers, told Gladue he was no longer interested in having sex and refused to pay her.

"You violently sexually assaulted her and, when you did that, you injured her and she started bleeding," Snowdon said.

"That's incorrect," Barton replied.

The prosecutor suggested Barton carried Gladue into the bathroom in a comforter, because there was very little blood found on the floor.

"You carried her over to the bathroom, and you dumped her in the bathtub," Snowdon said.

"No, I did not," Barton responded.

"You let her die. You could not call the police at that point because you didn't want them to know what you had done," Snowdon said.

"That's incorrect," Barton replied.

Barton told court that Gladue went to the bathroom and he fell asleep. He said he woke the next morning to find her dead.

He said he met a colleague and told him that he'd found the woman's body. The colleague told Barton to call police. Barton said he lied to hotel staff about forgetting papers so he could get back into his room, where he called 911.

The trial is scheduled to continue until the beginning of March.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2021.

Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press