Investigating officer testifies at trial in girl’s death three decades ago

Trial continues into girl's death decades ago

WINNIPEG — A retired Winnipeg police officer has testified under cross-examination that he and his colleagues were careful while investigating the murder of a 13-year-old girl back in 1985, but they didn’t wear masks or bodysuits.

Sgt. Ronald Allan was responding Tuesday to questioning from the defence at the retrial of Mark Grant, charged with second-degree murder in the death of Candace Derksen.

Grant’s lawyer, Saul Simmonds, asked Allan whether he could have inadvertently contaminated the crime scene by something as simple as coughing, sneezing, scratching his face or even talking.

Allan admitted that DNA protocols were not in place at the time.

Grant, who is now in his 50s, was charged in 2007 following DNA testing on twine used to bind the schoolgirl and was convicted in 2011 of second-degree murder.

But the conviction was overturned two years later when an Appeal Court ruled the trial judge erred in not allowing Grant’s defence to present evidence that pointed to another possible killer.

After Candace’s death and while Grant was in custody on another matter, a 12-year-old girl was found tied up by an unidentified person.

In his testimony Tuesday, Allan recalled Candace’s body was “frozen stiff” when he found it in a shed at an industrial yard more than three decades ago.

He said he and his partner tried to find fingerprints in the shed but were not successful. They put paper bags over the girl’s hands, feet and head and moved the body onto a gurney to be taken to the morgue.

The trial is being heard by a judge alone and is slated to last several weeks.



The Canadian Press

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