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‘Rebekah was lifeless’: Trial begins for Calgary father accused of killing four-year-old daughter

Trial begins for Calgary father accused in second-degree murder of young daughter
WATCH: A murder trial got underway in Calgary on Monday for a man charged in the death of his four-year-old daughter in 2014. Silvana Benolich has the details.

CALGARY — The prosecution at the trial of a man charged in his four-year-old daughter’s death argued Monday that he was the only person who could have inflicted the severe injuries that damaged her spine and neck.

In her opening statement in a Calgary courtroom, Crown lawyer Melissa Bond said Oluwatosin Oluwafemi, 44, was home alone with his daughter, Olive Rebekah, when she was fatally injured.

“The accused was Rebekah’s sole caregiver between the time Rebekah’s mom left for work on the morning of Dec. 19, [2014], until she returned home,” Bond said.

“The Crown’s position is the accused had sole opportunity to inflict the blunt force trauma and the neck injury to Rebekah that caused her death.”

READ MORE: Trial delayed for Calgary man charged in death of four year old daughter

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Oluwafemi is on trial for second-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty.

Bond said an autopsy found multiple areas of bruising to the girl’s head, abdomen, neck and back. She said the “non-accidental injuries” resulted in the four-year-old’s death.

“In the hour before her death, Rebekah sustained a critical, non-accidental injury at the C2, C3 level of her cerebral spine and that cerebral spine injury, without extraordinary medical intervention, was fatal,” she said.

Bond said the girl’s mother received a call from the accused mid-afternoon and she rushed home from work to find her husband performing CPR.

“Rebekah was lifeless. A family friend… arrived at the family home within minutes. She too observed Rebekah’s lifeless body.”

Bond said paramedics arrived at the home 20 minutes later and found the girl “unconscious, not breathing. She was in cardiac arrest.”

Olive Rebekah Oluwafemi
Olive Rebekah Oluwafemi. Calgary Police Service handout

Court heard 15 seconds of the 911 call from the girl’s frantic mother in which she told the dispatcher “my daughter’s fainted” and asked for an ambulance to the home in southeast Calgary.

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Paramedic Gerrit Pinnell said he observed a woman doing a good job providing CPR when he arrived, but he found the girl’s mouth and airway were filled with vomit. The airway was cleared but the patient was in poor shape, he told court.

“The little girl was in a pulseless state and she was not breathing,” he testified. “A very life-threatening condition — dire is the most severe that you can be.”

Pinnell said he tried to find out what had led to the girl’s condition and asked the woman who had been doing the CPR what had happened.

“I went to get her attention to ask what had happened and how long she had been down. I wasn’t getting any response,” he said.

“I said can you tell me what happened? No response.”

READ MORE: Calgary father charged with murder in death of four-year-old daughter

Pinnell said he was trying to identify what had happened so he could come up with a possible treatment for the child.

The girl was pronounced dead in hospital.

Oluwafemi was arrested in Ontario a year after his daughter died. He had moved to the community of Keswick to be closer to his family.

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He is originally from Nigeria and was working as a mining engineer for NorWest Corp. until October 2014 when he was laid off. He was unemployed as of Dec. 19, 2014, the day the girl died.