Dad’s ‘reign of terror’ killed daughter, jury hears
TORONTO — A father’s “reign of terror’’ reduced his daughter from a happy, healthy child to a starved, emotionally broken teen, ultimately killing her, a Crown prosecutor told a Toronto court Monday as he urged the jury to find the man guilty of first-degree murder. Everton Biddersingh has pleaded not guilty in the death of 17-yearold Melonie, whose charred body was found in a burning suitcase 21 years ago. “His reign of terror over Melonie ultimately resulted in her death,’’ Crown prosecutor Mary Humphrey said in closing arguments. “But for his actions or his omissions, Melonie would have been alive today. She would have been 38 years old.’’ The case has taken two decades to get to trial because police weren’t able to identify Melonie’s remains until they received a tip that eventually led to the arrest of Biddersingh and his wife in March 2012. The trial has heard that Melonie came to Canada from Jamaica with two brothers in 1991, when she was 13, to live with her father and stepmother. Jurors have heard that the girl — who hoped to one day become a nurse — was not sent to school and suffered brutal beatings, food deprivation and gut-wrenching abuse at the hands of her father. Melonie was treated like a slave, Humphrey said, and was “withering away’’ before her father’s eyes but he did not stop mistreating her.