De­mon-ob­sessed do­mes­tic tyrant drowned her step­daugh­ter, trial told

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

An evil, de­mon-ob­sessed re­li­gious fa­natic was the likely killer of her hor­rif­i­cally abused and starved teenaged step­daugh­ter whose body was found stuffed in a burn­ing suit­case two decades ago, a first-de­gree mur­der trial heard Tues­day.

In clos­ing ar­gu­ments, de­fence lawyer Jen­nifer Pen­man urged ju­rors to ac­quit the teen’s fa­ther of de­lib­er­ately killing Melonie Bid­der­s­ingh, 17, say­ing the ev­i­dence in­stead points to his wife as the cul­prit.

Ever­ton Bid­der­s­ingh, 60, has pleaded not guilty to the first-de­gree mur­der of his daugh­ter. His wife, Elaine Bid­der­s­ingh, faces her own trial this spring.

Pen­man por­trayed Elaine Bid­der­s­ingh as an evil do­mes­tic tyrant and in­dif­fer­ent mother with a Bible and de­mon ob­ses­sion. Court has heard that she hated her hus­band and step­daugh­ter, whom she be­lieved was pos­sessed by the devil and had brought a curse on the fam­ily.

“She has the most an­imus of any­one in the home to­ward Melonie,” Pen­man said. “Elaine took mat­ters into her own hands and drowned Melonie.”

The trial has pre­vi­ously heard the teen was con­fined for hours in a tiny closet in their Toronto apart­ment, had her head placed in a toi­let that was flushed, was chained to the fur­ni­ture, was de­nied food, and was kicked, punched and thrown against walls by her fa­ther. Court also heard that her step­mother smashed her head against the wall in an ef­fort to rid her of the devil.

Af­ter she died, the Crown al­leges Bid­der­s­ingh crammed his daugh­ter into a suit­case, drove her to a re­mote area north of Toronto and set her on fire.

The Bid­der­s­inghs were ar­rested in March 2012 af­ter a tip that fi­nally al­lowed them to iden­tify the vic­tim’s re­mains and lay charges.

The de­fence called no wit­nesses, so Pen­man’s clos­ing ad­dress was her op­por­tu­nity to lay out an al­ter­na­tive to the Crown’s view — that Ever­ton Bid­der­s­ingh killed his daugh­ter ei­ther by starv­ing or drown­ing her.

Ju­rors, Pen­man urged, should set aside their emo­tions about the ter­ri­ble things vis­ited upon the teen and fo­cus on the facts.

Pen­man said it may never be known ex­actly how the vic­tim died — ap­par­ently on Sept. 1. 1994 — but pointed to foren­sic ev­i­dence that she drowned, some­thing she urged ju­rors to ac­cept as fact. Her body also showed signs of se­vere mal­nour­ish­ment and nu­mer­ous heal­ing frac­tures.

The lawyer told ju­rors it would be “dan­ger­ous” to con­vict her client on con­flict­ing tes­ti­mony from his wife and his son, Cleon Bid­der­s­ingh, both of whom had rea­son to lie to pro­tect them­selves from crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion. Not even they al­leged Ever­ton Bid­der­s­ingh drowned his daugh­ter, Pen­man said.

Cleon Bid­der­s­ingh, by his own ad­mis­sion, did noth­ing to pro­tect his younger sis­ter, Pen­man said. He also lied about what had hap­pened to her the night she died be­cause he had been com­plicit in the on­go­ing abuse, the lawyer said.

All charges against him — re­lated to the abuse of his sis­ter and dis­posal of her body — were stayed in Jan­uary 2015, but he tes­ti­fied he be­lieved he could still be charged with mur­der, court heard.

Su­pe­rior Court Jus­tice Al O’Marra told ju­rors he would charge them to­day.

CP PHOTO

Vic­tim Melonie Bid­der­s­ingh is shown in a Toronto Po­lice Ser­vice hand­out photo. Clos­ing ar­gu­ments were de­liv­ered Tues­day at the trial of Ever­ton Bid­der­s­ingh, charged with the first de­gree mur­der of his daugh­ter, Melonie, whose body was found in a burn­ing suit­case 21 years ago.

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