EDMONTON — The mother of two young girls who were killed by her former boyfriend says she still has nightmares from that day.
The 31-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the children, pleaded guilty last month to two counts of second-degree murder, aggravated assault and breach of probation.
One of the children was three and the other was just over six-months old when they were stabbed to death and their mother was assaulted at an Edmonton apartment in December 2018.
The man's sentencing hearing began Thursday with a victim impact statement.
The mother said that she has been torn up physically and emotionally since it happened.
"I have trouble sleeping," she said in the statement, which was read by a Crown prosecutor.
"I am afraid to go to sleep at night. I have nightmares about him. I have nightmares about him chasing me. I have nightmares about me and my girls.
"Now that the girls are gone, I don't exist."
An agreed statement of facts entered into the court record in January said the mother and the boyfriend had been living together for about a month at the time of the attack.
"For periods during their relationship, both (the mother) and the accused struggled with addictions," said the statement. It added that the mother had been sober for a time prior to the man moving into the home.
The statement said she asked the man to take care of her daughters while she attended a parenting assessment with Child and Family Services.
GRAPHIC WARNING: The following details may disturb some readers.
"It was during this time, while (the mother) was away, that the accused killed (the girls)," it said. "The accused admits that he stabbed each of the girls multiple times, causing their deaths."
The man admitted to putting the children in separate black garbage bags, tying them up and putting them in a bedroom closet. He then used various household items to cover up the bags, the statement said.
When the mother returned home, she saw that the man had blood on his face and there was blood on a blanket.
She "did not see her daughters."
The statement said she demanded he tell her where they were and punched him. The accused then struck her with a large metal bar.
She told police he had an "evil look in his eyes" and was smiling when he attacked her. She felt that he was trying to kill her, said the statement.
The mother said she tried to escape, but he continued to strike her.
"At one point, she was able to grab the bar away from the accused," said the statement. "He then began to punch her with his fists."
She then moved closer to a door and ran out of the building.
"The accused chased (her) as she ran outside," said the statement. "(She) fell to the ground. The accused approached her with the bar. (She) kicked the accused as he came close to her, causing him to drop the bar."
She then ran off as the man yelled: "you win, you win."
Some witnesses found the woman and helped her until an ambulance arrived. When it did, the statement said paramedics had a difficult time getting her into the ambulance because she was worried about her children.
Officers couldn't find them in the apartment on an initial search. They did a second search later that night and located the bags in the closet. Both girls were declared dead at the scene, said the statement.
The man automatically gets a life sentence for murder. The Crown said it is putting forward a joint recommendation with the defence that he not be eligible to apply for parole for 17 years.
Prosecutors said the sentence must send a strong message.
"The harm involved the death of two young children and the brutal assault of the accused's intimate partner," Danielle Green said Thursday.
"The accused committed these offences while on probation as a result of an assault he had previously committed on the same complainant."
The hearing is to continue Friday with submissions from the defence.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2021.
Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press