Calgary murder suspect Robert Leeming testifies he had nothing to do with toddler’s death

Click to play video: 'Accused Calgary murderer testifies he didn’t kill 22-month-old toddler' Accused Calgary murderer testifies he didn’t kill 22-month-old toddler
WATCH: Hard to hear testimony Wednesday, as an accused murderer took the stand in his own defence. Robert Leeming told court about the day Jasmine Lovett and Aliyah Sanderson died. Jill Croteau reports he admitted to killing his girlfriend, but pleaded not guilty in the death of the 22-month-old – Oct 27, 2021

A Calgary man who has admitted to killing his girlfriend has testified he had nothing to do with the death of her 22-month-old daughter.

Robert Leeming broke down, sobbing, several times when he took the stand at his trial on a second-degree murder charge in the death of Aliyah Sanderson in 2019.

Read more: Undercover officer says Calgary murder suspect Robert Leeming led them to site where mother, daughter were buried

He has already entered a guilty plea in the second-degree murder of the girl’s mother, Jasmine Lovett.

Leeming, 36, testified that he and Lovett moved in together in October 2018, and he had a romantic relationship with her until January 2019. He said they remained friendly and he helped take care of Aliyah — including taking and picking her up from daycare and sometimes putting her to bed.

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“I loved her. She was a wonderful kid,” Leeming said Wednesday. “It was great. I treated her as my own. I enjoyed being there for her.”

His lawyer, Balfour Der, asked: “Did you have a reason to kill Aliyah?”

“No,” Leeming replied.

“Did you kill her?”

“No,” said Leeming.

Leeming said he picked Aliyah up from daycare on April 16, 2019, and got her a snack at home while Lovett went to job interviews. He said he saw Aliyah start to climb a set of stairs.

Read more: Calgary medical examiner testifies ‘very unlikely’ Aliyah Sanderson died in accidental fall

“I heard a thump, and I saw her lying on the ground. She seemed all right. I picked her up and dusted her off.”

Leeming said Aliyah seemed normal when she was put to bed. Lovett came home and checked on her. He and Lovett had dinner and watched TV.

When he went upstairs to check on the little girl 45 minutes later, he said, something was wrong.

“I picked her up and found she was limp and unresponsive,” Leeming said.

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He said he called Lovett upstairs, and she was also unable to revive the girl.

Read more: Leeming trial hears how accused murderer led undercover officers to bodies of Calgary mother, daughter

Leeming said he then went downstairs to get his phone and was confronted by Lovett.

“We were in the kitchen and were both crying and shouting at each other. She stood up to me and pointed at me and asked if I had done anything to Aliyah,” Leeming said through tears.

“I freaked out. I snapped and hit her with a hammer on the head. I remember hitting her twice.”

Leeming said he stood there for a while but didn’t hit her again.

“She was dying, and I wanted it to stop. I went to the garage and picked up a .22 and shot her in the head,” Leeming said. “It was the only thing I thought could be quick.”

Leeming said he wrapped the bodies of his girlfriend and her daughter in blue and black blankets and put a roll of paper towels near Lovett’s head “to stop the blood.”

Lovett and the child were reported missing after they didn’t show up for a family dinner.

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Their bodies were later found buried in a shallow grave in a remote area west of Calgary.

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