‘Rebekah was lifeless:’ Calgary murder trial hears girl suffered spinal injuries

CALGARY — Prosecutors say a four-year-old girl who died more than five years ago suffered multiple severe injuries that damaged her spine and neck.

In her opening statement in a Calgary court Monday, Crown lawyer Melissa Bond said Oluwatosin Oluwafemi, 44, was the only other person in the home when his daughter, Olive Rebekah, was fatally injured.

“The accused was Rebekah’s sole caregiver between the time Rebekah’s mom left for work on the morning of Dec. 19, (2014), until she returned home,” said Bond.

“The Crown’s position is the accused had sole opportunity to inflict the blunt force trauma and the neck injury to Rebekah that caused her death.”

Oluwafemi is on trial for second-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty.

Bond said the girl’s mother received a call from the accused mid-afternoon and she rushed home from work to find her husband performing CPR.

“Rebekah was lifeless. A family friend … arrived at the family home within minutes. She too observed Rebekah’s lifeless body.”

Bond said paramedics arrived at the home 20 minutes later and found the girl “unconscious, not breathing. She was in cardiac arrest.”

The girl was pronounced dead in hospital.

Bond said an autopsy found multiple areas of bruising to the girl’s head, abdomen, neck and back. She said the “non-accidental injuries” resulted in the four-year-old’s death.

“In the hour before her death, Rebekah sustained a critical, non-accidental injury at the C2, C3 level of her cerebral spine and that cerebral spine injury, without extraordinary medical intervention, was fatal,” she said.

Oluwafemi was arrested in Ontario a year after his daughter died. He had moved to the community of Keswick to be closer to his family after his daughter’s death.

He is originally from Nigeria and was working as a mining engineer for NorWest Corp. until October 2014 when he was laid off. He was unemployed as of Dec. 19, 2014, the day the girl died.

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