The former girlfriend of accused double murderer Edward Downey testified at his trial Tuesday that Sara Baillie was afraid for her.
Downey has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the deaths of Sara and her five-year-old daughter Taliyah Marsman.
His ex’s identity is protected by a court-imposed publication ban and can only be referred to by the initials “AB.”
She was also Sara’s best friend.
AB testified Tuesday, from behind a screen so she didn’t have to see Downey.
It’s the Crown’s theory that Downey killed Sara because she was trying to get AB to break up with him and was helping her stay away from work as an escort.
AB said just days before Sara was killed, she received text messages from Downey that said he didn’t like her.
In the text exchange Downey called Sara a “disrespectful pot.”
AB said things with her and Downey started going downhill after he hit her in front of Sara.
“She was afraid for me,” she said.
The hit resulted in a black eye for AB.
Sara had been her best friend for several years, and made it clear she was concerned.
AB and Sara met through Taliyah’s daycare where AB worked, and they quickly became friends who confided everything in each other.
“We were together all the time, hung out together… did everything together,” she said.
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Sara’s body was found in her northwest Calgary basement suite on July 11, 2016. The Crown said she was stuffed into a laundry hamper and hidden in Taliyah’s closet.
An Alberta-wide Amber Alert was activated for Sara’s missing daughter.
Court heard a Calgary police analyst used cellphone tower pings to map the accused’s movements, and that led officers to find Taliyah’s body three days later just outside the city limits.
AB said Downey knew Sara and Taliyah, and had gone with her to their Panorama home on at least one occasion. She testified she had known Downey since she was 13 or 14 years old. He was more than twice her age, 29 or 30 at that time.
She testified he had always alluded that they would end up together.
“When I was a little bit smaller he just discussed that we were going to be together,” she said.
They became involved in an intimate relationship and moved in together in approximately 2014.
AB said she paid all the bills, including the mortgage. She also made payments on her Dodge Charger, that she said he drove daily.
AB described Downey as unemployed, but said he pimped out an ex-girlfriend.
She told court he had also tried to get her to prostitute herself out.
“Towards the end, money had been tight, and he wasn’t making any money at all so he asked me to do it,” AB said.
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She testified she gave it a try, advertising herself as an escort on the backpages, then meeting up with one man in Edmonton, but it wasn’t for her.
“I couldn’t do it,” she said.
AB said an on-again-off-again boyfriend of Sara’s had tried to get Sara to escort as well. But she explained that relationship ended when Sara said she was not willing to “work” (prostitute).
Text messages from Downey to AB made it clear he didn’t like Sara’s influence on her life.
“She is bad,” Crown prosecutor Carla MacPhail read in court, saying it was a text from Downey to AB about Sara.
The trial is scheduled for three weeks.
The jury is made up of five men and seven women.