Cindy Gladue is shown in a photo presented as a court exhibit in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta

Confused and shocked: Defence says accused killer woke to find woman’s body in tub

EDMONTON — A defence lawyer wants a jury to imagine the shock and fear a man would have felt the morning he walked into the bathroom of his Edmonton hotel room to find a woman’s bloody body in the tub.

Bradley Barton, 52, of Mississauga, Ont., has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in the death of Cindy Gladue, a 36-year-old Metis and Cree mother, at the Yellowhead Inn in June 2011.

Lawyer Dino Bottos, in his closing arguments Wednesday, told jurors they must determine whether Gladue consented to a sexual activity that caused a fatal woundin her vagina.

They also need to decide whether Barton knowingly injured her, he said.

“We understand that she was loved and would have loved, and her death was tragic and painful,” Bottos said.

“All I’m asking you is please don’t let that poison you against my client.”

Medical experts have testified that Gladue bled to death and had four times the legal limit of alcohol in her system when her body was found.

This is the second trial for Barton in relation to Gladue’s death. His first trial in 2015 sparked rallies and calls for justice for Indigenous women. The case ended up before the Supreme Court of Canada, which ordered in 2019 that Barton be retried.

Barton is the only person who can say what happened in the hotel room when Gladue died, Bottos told the jurors.

GRAPHIC WARNING: The following details may disturb some readers.

Bottos reminded them that Barton testified he was working as a moving truck driver when he met Gladue outside the hotel and paid her $60 for sex. He said he inserted his fingers into her vagina and she enjoyed herself.

The next day, Barton said he invited her back to the hotel and they drank at the hotel lounge. Later in the room, he said, he performed the same sex act on her but went further.

Barton told the trial that when he noticed Gladue was bleeding from what he believed was her period, he no longer wanted sex and refused to pay her. He said she went to the bathroom and he fell asleep, and he woke the next day to find her body in the tub.

The jury heard from a doctor that excessive force caused an 11-centimetre tear in Galdue’s vaginal wall and broke significant blood vessels.

Crown prosecutor Julie Snowdon has argued that Barton forced his knuckles into Gladue while she was passed out and violently sexually assaulted. She also suggested Barton picked up the bleeding woman with a comforter, carried her to the bathroom and dumped her in the tub.

Bottos told the jury that Barton did not know Gladue was bleeding profusely that night.

“Mr. Barton told you when he testified Ms. Gladue was, although drunk, not incapacitated. She was fully consenting to the activity on Night 2.”

Bottos said that after Gladue’s body was found, Barton told many lies to police, his colleagues, his family and hotel workers about how he knew her. But he was in shock.

“When he wakes up at 7:20 in the morning and sees blood smeared all over the bathroom wall, the bathtub, faucet, side wall other locations, including on the floor, imagine how terrifying and how confusing that would be,” Bottos said.

“Did you imagine just for that moment — freeze frame — what kind of fear and confusion and terror would be overcoming him?”

Bottos said Barton also feared losing everything, including his job and his wife, if he people learned he had paid Gladue for sex.

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