B.C. Supreme Court judge tells Paris Laroche on final day of her first degree murder trial that he will think “long and hard” about his verdict

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A Nanaimo woman who allegedly killed and dismembered her boyfriend because he threatened to kill her didn’t show signs of being a battered partner  acting in self defence, the Crown prosecutor said in closing remarks on the last day of her murder trial.

On the 19th and final day of her trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, Paris Laroche, 28, sat in the prisoner’s docket two metres behind prosecutor Nick Barber as he completed statement why she should be convicted of charges of first degree murder and interfering with human remains. The charges relate to the March 2020 killing of her ex, Sidney Mantee, 32.

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The trial heard how the 5-foot-5 woman hit Mantee, who was a head taller and about 100 lbs. heavier, in the head with a hammer while he was sleeping. She kept his body in the apartment and over six months dismembered his remains using a sledge hammer and other tools and utensils, including household knives and a saw, before disposing of the body parts in city parks in Nanaimo and in the Pacific Ocean.

Barber at one point put on blue latex gloves and dramatically showed a large claw hammer and sledgehammer, saying Laroche used them in the crimes and which was to make the point about her intention and ability.

“These are significant items,” he told Justice Robin Baird. “This is not a weak and vulnerable woman.”

He noted Laroche told two undercover police officers that she used the sledge hammer to remove parts while the body was in the bathtub, which was revealed after the officers befriended her on the pretext of wanting revenge against Mantee for abusing their fictitious sister and daughter.

Laroche’s lawyer, Glen Orris, earlier told the trial that Mantee assaulted Laroche and had left fist-sized holes in the wall and damaged the bathtub tiles.

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But Barber said it was just as likely the tiles were damaged by Laroche, whom he called a “strong-willed and physically strong woman.”

Barber also said Laroche’s behaviour didn’t suggest she was afraid to leave Mantee because of his threats and had no other option except to kill him to save herself. For example, she didn’t write about the abuse in her journal the night before the killing, he said.

She wrote on the day before the March 5 killing that she was going to go to the ocean with her crystals, light an “abundance candle” and utter an intention while she wrote about wanting to end her relationship.

“If you were in an abusive relationship, wouldn’t you write something much harsher?” asked Barber.

Orris in his closing statements on Thursday said Laroche was under constant threat of death for her family, friends, her cats and for herself because of Mantee’s threats and her belief he would carry them out. And he referenced cases of women who were acquitted under the battered spouse defence.

Orris said the fact that Laroche killed the heavier and larger Mantee and then had to deal with the body and to purchase tools to dismember it shows she didn’t really think out her plan to kill him.

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He said the charge of manslaughter would be more appropriate than first degree murder, which requires proven premeditation and carries an automatic life sentence without eligibility for parole.

Barber on Friday said court heard no examples of when, where or how Laroche was abused by Mantee, and her journal entries after the killing included how she has to clean behind the heat registers and get rid of the mattress while meticulously laying out what she’s doing with the body parts.

There was evidence there was abuse in the relationship “but it’s not so extensive that it’s lawful justification for what she did,” Barber said.

Baird addressed Laroche directly at the end of the trial and told her he had lots of evidence to go through and he couldn’t say how long it would take to deliver his verdict.

“I’m going to think about this long and hard, OK?” he said.

The next appearance will be June 26 to set a date for sentencing.

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