A White Rock woman who killed her eight-year-old daughter has been jailed without possibility of parole for 15 years.
Justice Catherine Murray in March found Lisa Deanne Batstone guilty of the December 2014 murder of daughter Teagan by suffocating her with a plastic bag while asleep.
“Ms. Batstone killed her child for completely selfish reasons. She wanted to kill herself and did not want her ex-husband to have Teagan,” Murray said.
The court heard the mother had been drinking and had a mental disorder but the court found those issues did not raise reasonable doubt about her intend to kill Teagan.
Murray called the breach of trust of a parent killing a dependant child abhorrent.
“That a parent could kill her own child rocks the foundation of societal values,” the judge said. “When it is for a selfish reason as it was here, it is all the more shocking.”
Much of the case hinged around the broken relationship between the accused and husband Gabe Batstone who married in 2003 with Teagan born in June 2008. The couple divorced two years later.
Communications between the couple were strained, Gabe preferring things in writing unless it was an emergency involving Teagan.
The court heard White Rock Baptist Church had been a source of support for Lisa but after a falling out with a member, she was asked to leave several groups, which left her feeling betrayed and afraid she would lose custody of Teagan if Gabe found out.
On the final day of Teagan’s life, Lisa called Gabe early
“Gabe testified that he did as he always did – he called her back and asked if it was an emergency. When he learned that it was not, he ended the call, most likely by hanging up,” Murray said.
Lisa dropped her off at daycare and then called in sick to her rehabilitation program. Later, she and Teagan had a living room campout.
“Sometime during the night the accused smothered her daughter to death,” the judge said.
She then sat on the couch near her daughter’s body, drank some wine and wrote a letter casting blame for the murder on her ex-husband. She also placed blame on church members.
Lisa then wrote notes that she placed around her townhouse that said “You win Gabe” and “You broke me.”
Lisa then tried suffocating herself by putting two plastic grocery bags over her head and wrapping them with duct tape.
She looked at Facebook pages of Gabe’s wife Stephanie and her family and Googled the best ways to kill yourself. These plans were thwarted when a church member, concerned after reading some of Lisa’s emails, showed up at her home to check on her. When Batstone did not answer her door, the woman called police.
Lisa then put Teagan’s body in the trunk of her car and left her home. She had a large kitchen knife with her and planned to commit suicide after dropping the dog at a sitter’s. She was planning to drop the dog at the dog sitter then go somewhere to commit suicide.
But, after her car went off the road, she went to a nearby house and said to the resident, “I need you to call 911. My car is off the road. My baby is dead.”
Emergency personnel found Lisa in the trunk of her car cradling Teagan’s body. She told everyone Gabe was a psychopath, that he had destroyed her, that she wanted to die and that she had killed Teagan to protect her from Gabe.
“By all accounts Ms. Batstone was a doting mother,” Murray said. “The evidence shows, however, that Ms. Batstone projected her issues and problems onto Teagan. Nonetheless, her love for Teagan is not in doubt. Neither is her devastation over what she did to her.”
But, Murray said, “I am satisfied that this was not an impulsive act.”
“The act of smothering Teagan required conscious forethought and deliberate action,” the judge said.
“In killing her daughter Ms. Batstone made several decisions and took several actions which were systematic, focussed, purposeful and goal-directed.”
“Teagan was the innocent pawn in her mother’s revenge of her father,” Murray said. “Ms. Batstone wanted to die, but she did not want Gabe to get Teagan. The only way to make sure that did not happen was to kill her too.”