Woman charged in slaying outside Vancouver nightclub pleads guilty to manslaughter
Lauren Lindsay McLellan, 28, was fatally assaulted outside the Caprice nightclub on Aug. 11, 2016. (Facebook)
A young woman who was charged in connection with the fatal attack of another woman outside a downtown Vancouver nightclub last year has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
During a brief appearance in Vancouver Provincial Court Wednesday, Samantha Nadine Doolan, 30, entered her plea in relation to the Aug. 11 slaying of Lauren Lindsay McLellan, 28, near the Caprice Nightclub in the Granville entertainment district.
Doolan, who arrived at the courthouse pushing a baby stroller with a child in it, wept and was handed a box of tissue by her lawyer.
The plea came after a five-day preliminary hearing in June before provincial court Judge Frances Howard resulted in Doolan being committed for trial.
Crown counsel Geordie Proulx had called about 20 witnesses, including people who saw the attack and staff members at the club.
At Wednesday's court appearance, defence lawyer Gail Barnes told Provincial Court Judge Harbans Dhillon that she wanted a pre-sentence report prepared for her client that included a psychiatric component.
Barnes also asked that a report dealing with Doolan's Aboriginal background be prepared for the sentencing hearing. The judge ordered that the reports be prepared.
Burns McLellan, the victim’s father, and several other family members were in court Wednesday to witness the guilty plea.
“It was important for us to know that we were here at that moment, I guess, that she pleaded guilty,” the dad said outside court.
“This was a very big step for us because we really just haven't been able to — it just brings everything back.”
The dad said that it had been a “particularly” difficult time dealing with the death of his daughter.
“It’s been virtually impossible for us to understand it. So we’ve been doing our best to stay together.”
McLellan said he also wished to show respect for what Crown counsel had done in the case and to other people who had offered the family help, including friends who attended the preliminary hearing.
“All of the friends who gave up time to be at (the preliminary hearing), I can only thank them for everything they did.”
He said that he and his family intended to be back in court for the sentencing, which is expected to take place sometime in the fall.
Full details of the circumstances surrounding the offence are expected to be outlined during the sentencing hearing, expected to be before Judge Howard.
At the time of the slaying, Vancouver police said that the senseless death had resulted from a “minor” altercation between the strangers inside the Granville Street club.
People inside the club were asked to leave by staff members and once outside, Lauren was physically assaulted, causing her to fall to the ground. The attack continued until the accused was pulled off of Lauren by one of the club’s bouncers, said police.
The accused was arrested by police about 30 minutes after the attack as she was exiting a taxi near Gastown. Doolan was charged with one count of manslaughter in October.