An Ottawa police officer says a woman accused in a brutal murder showed up at the scene of the crime, presenting herself as a concerned neighbour.
Det. Tena Gallichon, who was a constable at the time of the January 2014 incident, testified today that a woman approached her outside the home where Jagtar Gill’s body was found and asked if something had happened.
Gallichon said she asked the woman if she was a relative and the woman replied that she lived nearby.
The officer told the court she informed the woman that Gill had died, then consoled her when she appeared distraught.
Gallichon testified that she considered the encounter “insignificant” at the time but later recognized the woman in a news article as one of the accused in Gill’s death.
Gurpreet Ronald and Gill’s husband, Bhupinderpal Gill, have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in connection with the death.
Jagtar Gill’s body was found by her husband, their eldest daughter, and a cousin on Jan. 29, 2014 — the day of the couple’s wedding anniversary.
She was badly beaten, her throat and wrist slashed, in the family’s home in the suburban neighbourhood of Barrhaven.
The Crown alleges Ronald and Bhupinderpal Gill worked together to carry out the killing.
Prosecutors argue Bhupinderpal Gill was tasked with isolating his wife that day by taking their daughter out of their house on errands, allowing Ronald to come in and kill his spouse.
A paramedic who was called to the scene testified Wednesday that a woman she believes to be Ronald approached her outside the home and asked if something had happened.
Gallichon, who arrived after paramedics and firefighters, said Ronald at one point walked towards the home as if she was trying to go in, but the officer blocked her path.
The officer said she also spoke to Bhupinderpal Gill that day and questioned him about his wife’s mental health because she believed the death was a suicide.
She recalled him saying his wife was not depressed and had no history of mental illness, and that nothing had seemed out of the ordinary earlier that day. He also noted his wife had undergone a hernia surgery the previous day and had recently been laid off, Gallichon told the court.
Bhupinderpal Gill’s answers to her questions were at times unclear, but she thought nothing of it because “he was upset, he’d just lost his wife,” she said.
She noted he had blood stains on his knees that she believed came from kneeling next to his wife’s body after finding it.
The trial is taking place in an Ottawa courthouse but is also accessible through videoconference.
This is the second time Ronald and Bhupinderpal Gill are being tried in connection with the killing. A new trial was ordered after Ontario’s Court of Appeal found the judge who oversaw the first one failed to properly instruct the jury.
Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press