The trial of a Calgary man accused of killing his young daughter heard Wednesday that the girl’s mother saw bruises on her back in the week before her death.
Oluwatosin Oluwafemi, 44, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the December 2014 death of four-year-old Rebekah.
His wife and Rebekah’s mother, Olabusona Oluwafemi, testified that she saw bruises on the Rebekah’s upper back while giving her a morning shower, but couldn’t recall hearing the girl complain or asking what happened.
“I remember I took pictures,” she recalled.
When asked why, she replied: “Cause I don’t know what it is.”
She said the bruises were still there the morning Rebekah died, and described the child’s mood as “regular” and “normal.”
The mother described the girl’s personality generally as “friendly, jovial, playful, active,” and said she was a “social kid.”
The trial heard the father was looking after Rebekah on his own during the day because he had lost his job a few months earlier.
The mother testified that she and her husband would discipline their daughter, and that she would sometimes pull the girl’s ears, hit the child on the palm with a flip-flop, smack her or yell.
“It varied. It just depends,” she said.
When asked on what the punishment depended, she replied: “how mad I am.”
She told court she never saw her husband discipline Rebekah, but knew it was happening based on conversations and shouting she overheard.
The mother described getting a call from her husband at work around 3 p.m. the day her daughter died.
“I was hysterical,” she recalled.
“He said something was wrong with Rebekah. I just wanted to go home,” she said. “He just said she wasn’t feeling so well… I needed my boss to let me go home.”
She said she left work within about 10 minutes and it can take up to 35 minutes to get home in heavy traffic.
A family friend who was at the Oluwafemi home the day Rebekah died testified earlier Wednesday that she didn’t suspect abuse in the home and, as a nurse, she would have been obligated to report it if she did.
The trial also heard two intercepted phone calls in which the accused recounted what happened to his daughter. The conversations seemed to be with a work associate and a friend.
He said in both that the girl tripped on the stairs and fell, but he didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary.
“Jumpy, jumpy kind of girl,” he is heard saying in one police recording. “I try as much as possible to keep an eye on her.”
“It’s been real hell for me,” he said in another recording. “I have cried my eyes out.”
As the recordings were played, Oluwatosin Oluwafemi held his head in his hands and occasionally wiped his eyes.
The Crown said in its opening statement that the father was the only person who could have inflicted the fatal injuries to Rebekah’s spine.