Gabe Batstone, left, stands in front of the courthouse Monday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Father testifies at B.C. trial for ex-wife accused in 8-year-old daughter’s death

Teagan Batstone, 8, found dead in 2014

The father of eight-year-old Teagan Batstone – who was found dead in South Surrey on Dec. 10, 2014 shortly before her mother Lisa Batstone was arrested for murder – said what he misses most about his daughter is holding her hand.

Gabe Batstone made the comment to media outside B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster Monday, moments after he testified at his ex-wife’s second-degree murder trial.

Lisa, wearing black trousers and a light blue button-up shirt, sat motionless throughout the three-hour testimony, but looked back at her supporters several times to share a smile and wave.

Throughout the testimony, Gabe and Lisa didn’t make eye contact. Seated in the prisoner’s box, Lisa had a computer monitor taped to the desk in front of her, obstructing her view of Gabe. She would turn her head away when Gabe entered and exited the courtroom.

Defence counsel and prosecutors took turns examining Gabe, and heard about the loving relationship he shared with his daughter, the falling out of his and Lisa’s relationship and the sometimes “combative” and “acrimonious” communication and custody battle that followed.

The father testified that the last time he saw his daughter was on the morning of Dec. 8. Gabe, who lives and works in Ottawa, was in Vancouver for an unexpected trip and had requested a visit with his daughter.

Gabe walked Teagan to her classroom at Rosemary Heights Elementary after a dentist appointment.

“I remember the steps down the hallway, holding her hand, of course – she always loved to hold hands – and seeing the door open and her hand, almost like a movie, her fingers pulling away as she walked and neither of you knowing, you’ll never see each other again,” he told CBC News outside of the courthouse.

“If you could do it again, I would have hugged and kissed her and smothered her, right? But having said that, it was the beautiful touching way that we always left each other.”

The court heard that Gabe received a message from Lisa soon after, which said that “it seems you rather I just disappear.”

A message of that nature, Gabe told the court, “didn’t seem out of the ordinary.”

Gabe said he received an email at 4:11 a.m. from Lisa on Dec. 10, 2014 saying that Teagan has the flu and that she wouldn’t be going to school.

Teagan’s body was found later that day in the back of a vehicle in the 13900-block of 35A Avenue.

SEE ALSO: Mother accused in daughter’s death said ‘I murdered her,’ officer tells court

SEE ALSO: ‘I just wanted her to be with Jesus’: Court hears South Surrey gir’s final moments

SEE ALSO: South Surrey church members ‘praying for acused mother… for the whole process’

Gabe and Lisa separated in 2008, and divorced two years later. Gabe told the court that communication was a challenge between the two parents, and that they enlisted the help of Vancouver-based family counsellor Michael Elterman.

Gabe said Elterman was “pivotal” in creating a strategy for meaningful communication.

The strategy, Gabe told the court, was that he and Lisa would exchange emails once a week to discuss plans and child care.

The counsellor was helpful to “reduce the tone, or perhaps fever,” of the communication, he said.

However, Gabe told the court he was receiving texts, phone calls and emails from Lisa throughout the week at such a rate that “it would have been impossible” to respond to them all.

He told the court that his routine was to compile Lisa’s messages and respond accordingly in an email on Sundays. He avoided phone calls, he told the court, because they weren’t recorded but he would sometimes answer or call back to see if there was an emergency.

Those answered phone calls, Gabe told the court, would “often” end with him hanging up on Lisa or vice versa.

The defence questioned Gabe on the type of language he used with Lisa, particularly after she tried to kill herself in 2012.

Defence counsel Tony Paisana asked if Gabe told Lisa that she “abandoned” Teagan by trying to commit suicide. He also asked Gabe if he ever mocked Lisa’s intelligence.

Gabe said he couldn’t recall either.

“I think she took opportunities to make my life more difficult,” Gabe told the court.

In the months leading to Teagan’s death, Gabe told the court he noticed a change in Lisa’s tone. Paisana suggested Lisa was “spiralling.”

“I thought something was clearly different,” Gabe responded.

The trial was initially booked until Dec. 7, but is now expected to continue for several more weeks.

Just Posted

Northbound lanes re-open along Malahat after small rockslide near Goldstream

Drivers asked to use caution, clean-up crews have finished on-site

Nearly 80 incredible artists, one extraordinary Vancouver Island tree

Bateman gallery’s OneTree 2019 honours the life of a single, tree salvaged from the Chemainus Valley

Flyers hockey program inducted into Sports Wall of Fame

Junior B teams attracted huge crowds in the early days of Fuller Lake Arena

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district starting from scratch on testing water for lead

Health Canada changed acceptable levels to 0.005 mg/L in March, prompting re-testing at schools

49th Parallel invests in their employees leadership potential

49th has sponsored 22 employees to go through the Leadership Vancouver Island program

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

Fisherman missing near Lake Cowichan’s Shaw Creek

Family is asking for everyone and anyone to keep their eyes open,… Continue reading

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Most Read