Calgary medical examiner testifies ‘very unlikely’ Aliyah Sanderson died in accidental fall

A forensic pathologist says it’s unlikely a toddler, discovered buried together with her mom west of Calgary greater than two years in the past, died on account of an unintended fall.

Deputy medical expert Dr. Akmal Coetzee-Khan returned to the witness stand Wednesday on the trial of Robert Leeming.

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Leeming, a 36-year-old British citizen, has pleaded responsible to second-degree homicide within the loss of life of his girlfriend, Jasmine Lovett, however not responsible to second-degree homicide within the loss of life of 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson.

Lovett and her daughter had been reported lacking in April 2019. The subsequent month, police discovered their our bodies in a shallow grave at a day-use space in Kananaskis Nation, west of Calgary.

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Leeming instructed police on the time that he and Lovett had been in a relationship after assembly on-line in 2018. She and her daughter moved in with him a month later.

Coetzee-Khan testified earlier on the trial that Sanderson died of blunt power accidents to her head whereas Lovett suffered three cranium fractures and was shot within the head.

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On Tuesday, the physician was requested if the kid’s head and face accidents might be defined by a fall.

“It’s not inconceivable to have blunt power traumatic accidents from a single fall. It will be impossible,” stated Coetzee-Khan.

He famous that if the woman had fallen ahead, there ought to have been accidents to her arms. If she had fallen backward, there ought to have been accidents to her buttocks.

“On Aliyah, we don’t see any of these varieties of accidents… so it doesn’t look like there was a fall the place her legs and arms had been concerned within the course of.”

Throughout cross-examination, Leeming’s lawyer, Balfour Der, recommended Sanderson’s accidents may have been defined by a easy fall down some stairs.

“Might a tumble down stairs — plural, not only a single fall — trigger these mind accidents and abrasions that you just noticed?” Der requested.

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“Sure, it may trigger the top accidents if we’re solely speaking about that… not taking into consideration the remainder of the physique,” Coetzee-Khan replied.

“If we’re speaking a few tumble down the steps, one would count on to see bruising or abrasions in opposition to the identical floor to your legs and arms.”

Mom and daughter, Jasmine Lovett and Aliyah Sanderson had been reported lacking on April 23, 2019.

Calgary Police Service

Coetzee-Khan stated he dominated Sanderson’s loss of life a murder for 3 causes: her accidents, the place her physique was discovered and since no person known as 911 to get her assist.

Der stated there might be an “harmless rationalization” as to why somebody wouldn’t name 911. He added there are loads of unanswered questions within the woman’s loss of life.

“You can not inform this court docket how these accidents to Aliyah Sanderson had been brought on. You’ll be able to’t eradicate a fall versus being thrown in opposition to a wall, for instance?” Der stated.

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“I can’t eradicate them,” stated Coetzee-Khan.

“I didn’t assume so. Thanks, physician,” Der stated.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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