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As trial closes, defence says abuse led B.C. woman to kill ex with hammer

Counsel for Paris Jayanne Laroche, 28, Crown begin summations in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver
Summations began Thursday, April 18, in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver for the trial of Paris Jayanne Laroche, 28, charged with murder and interfering with a dead body. (News Bulletin file photo)

Warning: Contains graphic details of a murder and may not be suitable for all readers.

The fate of a Nanaimo woman accused of murdering and cutting up her ex-boyfriend and disposing of the body will soon be in the hands of a B.C. Supreme Court judge.

Paris Jayanne Laroche, 28, was arrested in March 2022 after an investigation into Sidney Joseph Mantee’s disappearance. Nick Barber and Sabrina Avery, co-Crown counsel, and Glen Orris and Robyn Young, defence, presented closing arguments to justice Robin Baird Thursday, April 18, in Vancouver.

Crown contends Laroche was abused by Mantee and she killed him by striking his head with a hammer while he slept and slashing his throat with a knife.

Laroche subsequently dismembered his body and kept the parts in her refrigerator, disposing of them at areas and waterways across Nanaimo over a span of six months. Barber said she treated Mantee’s body like a deer. Police officers, posing as relatives of a person Mantee abused, were able to elicit a confession from her in an undercover operation.

Defence didn’t deny Laroche killed Mantee, but argued that their client’s actions were spurred when Mantee abused her cat. Pets can be of comfort to abused partners, and when Mantee strangled Laroche’s cat, it was the last straw, said Orris. She didn’t commit a culpable homicide, but rather manslaughter as a result of self-defence, Orris continued.

Mantee is said to have choked Laroche till she was unconscious and Orris said she wore long sleeves to conceal bruises.

Orris cited testimony from Amy Fitzgerald, a professor and undergraduate chairperson of the department of sociology and criminology at the University of Windsor, who testified that Laroche could have developed battered spouse syndrome. Although he didn’t have a criminal record, Mantee told Laroche he had gang affiliations and had killed people, adding to Laroche’s fear.

Barber said the fact Laroche continued living in the apartment, with Mantee’s remains in the fridge, dismembering over months and that she continued to live her life, not exhibiting post-traumatic stress disorder, is concerning.

Stating there was no indication of pre-planning based on what she did after the fact is wrong, said Barber. He pointed to the fact Laroche got a bucket to assist with draining the body, adding that the body disposal followed a well-contrived process. It included waiting till the body stiffened after death and moving it to the bathtub.

It wasn’t done in a frenzy, said Barber, and was fairly mechanical.

Barber told Baird to be cautious when considering Fitzgerald’s evidence, as the facts do not relate to the case. Her work is based on people from women’s shelters, not Indigenous people and not people in the case’s situation.

The trial began in Jan. 22 in Vancouver, as suitable facilities to house Laroche could not be found in Nanaimo.

Barber is expected to finish his summation on Friday, April 19.

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Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

I joined Black Press in 2010 and cover education, court and RDN. I am a Ma Murray and CCNA award winner.
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