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

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross has been named critic for Environment and Climate Change Strategy for the BC Liberals. (Black Press file photo)
Skeena MLA Ellis Ross named critic for Environment and Climate Change Strategy

Previously, Ross was the critic for LNG, Resource Opportunities, and Responsible Development

Red sky in morning: an early-morning sunrise on May 16, 2020, captured just north of Kitimat. (Eric Roy photo)
Clare’s Corner: Hello, darkness, my old friend

Why does the after-work darkness affect you so much more as an adult than as a child?

(Corrado Colombo photo)
Corrado Colombo, with his wife, Lucy. Colombo is from Italy, but met Kitimat born-and-raised Lucy on one of his annual fishing trips to Kitimat in the early 2000s.
In Our Valley: Corrado Colombo

Corrado Colombo never expected that an annual fishing trip to Kitimat would change his life

A bus shelter in White Rock is emblazoned with an ad from B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Black Press Media files)
VIDEO: ‘Am I racist?’ campaign asks British Columbians to confront their unconscious biases

Signs asking British Columbians to think about racial injustice have been put up across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Fatty Legs co-author responds to Abbotsford class assignment on residential schools

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Harbour seals rest on log booms at Flavelle Mill in Port Hardy. With recent announcements the mill will be getting rid of the log booms, Dr. David Rosen sees an opportunity to study how the disappearance of this highly-frequented refuge for the seals will alter their behaviour in Burrard Inlet. (Photo supplied by David Rosen)
What the heck is going on with marine mamals in Vancouver waterways?

UBC researcher asks why they’re returning, and what role we’re playing

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)
Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond speaks to a reporter in Vancouver on November 13, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
No evidence that B.C. ER staff played blood alcohol level game, but Indigenous racism ‘widespread’

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond releases findings of independent investigation

Most Read