Mother of accused infant killer testifies in Vancouver
The B.C. Coroners Service and police investigate after a baby was found dead in between two homes in Vancouver, April 2, 2009. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
A Vancouver woman charged with murder in relation to the deaths of her two babies appeared in court for the first day of her trial Monday.
Sarah Jee Wah Leung was 24 when she was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in 2010.
The court heard how Leung’s father found her first child in a plastic bag at their family home on Charles Street on April 2, 2009, a day after the infant’s birth.
The body of a second baby, born in March 2010, might never be recovered from a landfill gravesite, according to police, who added no one knew she was pregnant.
Leung, who arrived at court in a grey hoodie and black jacket, sat silently as her mother testified. Earlier she was released on a $200,000 bail under conditions that included not having sex.
Leung’s mother cannot be named because of a court-ordered ban, but she described — through a translator — a family where both parents worked seven days a week.
She rarely spoke with her daughter outside of dinnertime, with the exception of Christmas, when Leung’s mother would have time off from her landscaping business to be with her daughter, the court heard.
She recalled a time when her daughter was heartbroken after a break-up with the man who fathered the deceased children, but otherwise she rarely brought boys home.
In the year leading up to the birth of the first child, the mother didn’t notice any physical changes in her daughter, the court heard.
“I didn’t notice anything,” she said. “She has always been so quiet, went to work and then come back — nothing special.”
Most days her daughter was also away — working as an assistant or front-desk receptionist at a Vancouver physiotherapy office — and she never really questioned where she would go on weekends when she wasn’t at home.
“Because she’s such a big girl I trusted her a lot. I wanted her to learn to make her own decisions as to what to do.”
The trial is scheduled for about a month.