Gabe Batstone, left, stands in front of the courthouse Monday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Gabe Batstone, left, stands in front of the courthouse Monday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Father testifies at B.C. trial for ex-wife accused in 8-year-old daughter’s death

Teagan Batstone, 8, found dead in 2014

The father of eight-year-old Teagan Batstone – who was found dead in South Surrey on Dec. 10, 2014 shortly before her mother Lisa Batstone was arrested for murder – said what he misses most about his daughter is holding her hand.

Gabe Batstone made the comment to media outside B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster Monday, moments after he testified at his ex-wife’s second-degree murder trial.

Lisa, wearing black trousers and a light blue button-up shirt, sat motionless throughout the three-hour testimony, but looked back at her supporters several times to share a smile and wave.

Throughout the testimony, Gabe and Lisa didn’t make eye contact. Seated in the prisoner’s box, Lisa had a computer monitor taped to the desk in front of her, obstructing her view of Gabe. She would turn her head away when Gabe entered and exited the courtroom.

Defence counsel and prosecutors took turns examining Gabe, and heard about the loving relationship he shared with his daughter, the falling out of his and Lisa’s relationship and the sometimes “combative” and “acrimonious” communication and custody battle that followed.

The father testified that the last time he saw his daughter was on the morning of Dec. 8. Gabe, who lives and works in Ottawa, was in Vancouver for an unexpected trip and had requested a visit with his daughter.

Gabe walked Teagan to her classroom at Rosemary Heights Elementary after a dentist appointment.

“I remember the steps down the hallway, holding her hand, of course – she always loved to hold hands – and seeing the door open and her hand, almost like a movie, her fingers pulling away as she walked and neither of you knowing, you’ll never see each other again,” he told CBC News outside of the courthouse.

“If you could do it again, I would have hugged and kissed her and smothered her, right? But having said that, it was the beautiful touching way that we always left each other.”

The court heard that Gabe received a message from Lisa soon after, which said that “it seems you rather I just disappear.”

A message of that nature, Gabe told the court, “didn’t seem out of the ordinary.”

Gabe said he received an email at 4:11 a.m. from Lisa on Dec. 10, 2014 saying that Teagan has the flu and that she wouldn’t be going to school.

Teagan’s body was found later that day in the back of a vehicle in the 13900-block of 35A Avenue.

SEE ALSO: Mother accused in daughter’s death said ‘I murdered her,’ officer tells court

SEE ALSO: ‘I just wanted her to be with Jesus’: Court hears South Surrey gir’s final moments

SEE ALSO: South Surrey church members ‘praying for acused mother… for the whole process’

Gabe and Lisa separated in 2008, and divorced two years later. Gabe told the court that communication was a challenge between the two parents, and that they enlisted the help of Vancouver-based family counsellor Michael Elterman.

Gabe said Elterman was “pivotal” in creating a strategy for meaningful communication.

The strategy, Gabe told the court, was that he and Lisa would exchange emails once a week to discuss plans and child care.

The counsellor was helpful to “reduce the tone, or perhaps fever,” of the communication, he said.

However, Gabe told the court he was receiving texts, phone calls and emails from Lisa throughout the week at such a rate that “it would have been impossible” to respond to them all.

He told the court that his routine was to compile Lisa’s messages and respond accordingly in an email on Sundays. He avoided phone calls, he told the court, because they weren’t recorded but he would sometimes answer or call back to see if there was an emergency.

Those answered phone calls, Gabe told the court, would “often” end with him hanging up on Lisa or vice versa.

The defence questioned Gabe on the type of language he used with Lisa, particularly after she tried to kill herself in 2012.

Defence counsel Tony Paisana asked if Gabe told Lisa that she “abandoned” Teagan by trying to commit suicide. He also asked Gabe if he ever mocked Lisa’s intelligence.

Gabe said he couldn’t recall either.

“I think she took opportunities to make my life more difficult,” Gabe told the court.

In the months leading to Teagan’s death, Gabe told the court he noticed a change in Lisa’s tone. Paisana suggested Lisa was “spiralling.”

“I thought something was clearly different,” Gabe responded.

The trial was initially booked until Dec. 7, but is now expected to continue for several more weeks.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Betty Dubé with her daughters, campaigned for Maple Ridge mayor and was elected in 1974. (Maple Ridge Museum)
LOOKING BACK: Women involved in Maple Ridge politics for decades

A look at local women in public office as the U.S. inaugurates its first female vice president

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Jan. 24

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Prep teacher Ola Cholewa shows local environmentalist Jack Emberly posters that students from the Fish Ladder Awareness Team made to promote a fish ladder along the Alouette River. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)
New club in fight for fish ladder in Maple Ridge

The Environmental School club creating awareness about the need for a fish ladder on the Alouette

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Most Read