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Protestors march against the acquittal of Bradley Barton in the death of Cindy Gladue in Edmonton on April 2, 2015.

AMBER BRACKEN/The Globe and Mail

A medical examiner told an Edmonton jury Tuesday that he has never seen such a severe injury as the one inflicted on Cindy Gladue, a woman found dead in a hotel bathtub.

Graeme Dowling, a former chief medical examiner of Alberta, testified over a video conference call on the second day of the manslaughter trial of Bradley Barton.

The 52-year-old long-haul truck driver from Ontario is accused of killing Ms. Gladue, a 36-year-old Métis and Cree mother, at the Yellowhead Inn in June, 2011.

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

GRAPHIC WARNING: The following details may disturb some readers.

Dr. Dowling testified that out of about 6,000 autopsies he has performed, he had not before seen the type of injury that Ms. Gladue suffered to the right side of her vaginal wall.

He said it was caused by blunt force trauma.

“I want to emphasize to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury that the force to me would be considerable,” Dr. Dowling said. “A blunt object produced the defect, not just in the vagina wall, but through and through.”

The wound stretched 11 centimetres, Dr. Dowling said. He added that Ms. Gladue also had cuts and scrapes all over her body.

At one point during the doctor’s testimony, Ms. Gladue’s mother, Donna McLeod, put her face in her hands. Another woman later helped her walk out of the courtroom.

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Dr. Dowling is to take the witness stand again on Wednesday.

On Monday, Crown prosecutor Julie Snowdon said in her opening statement that Ms. Gladue died from blood loss owing to a catastrophic wound.

Ms. Snowdon said Mr. Barton and Ms. Gladue had been drinking together the night before her body was found and security footage will show the two went to Mr. Barton’s room.

A police officer also testified there was blood nearly everywhere in the bathroom, and Ms. Gladue’s body was located in the tub.

Detective Nancy Ho with the Edmonton police testified Tuesday that officers searched through the hotel’s garbage and discovered a metal rod with a face towel, and the towel appeared to have blood spots.

However, defence lawyer Dino Bottos pointed out that Det. Ho didn’t make a note of the blood-stained towel in her report.

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Det. Ho said police also found a note that had “Brad,” along with the room number 139 and a phone number with an Ontario area code.

The trial is to last about seven weeks.

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