A Calgary man charged with killing his then-girlfriend’s three-year-old daughter in 2017, confessed to undercover police officers "in great detail" about the murder, according to prosecutors.
Justin Paul Bennett, 27, entered a not guilty plea to his second-degree murder charge in connection with the death of Ivy Wick at the start of his trial in a Calgary courtroom Monday morning.
Ivy died from injuries determined to be the result of blunt force trauma in October 2017, eight days after the injured girl arrived in hospital.
Bennett was in a relationship with Ivy's mother Helen Wordsworth at the time of the girl's death, but is not Ivy’s biological father. He was arrested and charged following an investigation that lasted roughly a year.
In his opening address, prosecutor Tom Spark gave an overview of the Crown’s case and evidence that will be presented during the trial.
Undated photograph of Justin Paul Bennett, the man accused of second-degree murder in the death of three-year-old Ivy Wick (Facebook)
According to Spark, Ivy’s mother was getting ready to go to work at her home in the northeasst neighbourhood of Pineridge on the morning of Sept. 27, 2017. Ivy was misbehaving so her mother put her in a corner for a timeout. Bennett, who was unemployed, was playing a video game when Ivy allegedly threw a tantrum and began to scream and cry.
"Mr. Bennett stopped playing his video game. He came from the living room and attacked Ivy, inflicting the injuries that caused her death," said Spark, adding that Ivy's mother heard her scream. "(Her mother) came out of the bathroom and saw Mr. Bennett holding the unconscious Ivy in his arms. Ivy never regained consciousness. She died the following week."
Spark says Bennett told doctors and officers that Ivy had tripped and fell to the ground, but her injuries were found to inconsistent with his account.
The trial is, according to Spark, set to include evidence of an undercover operation. Testimony about the undercover sting is being heard under a voir-dire and a judge will determine if the evidence is admissible.
According to the Crown, undercover officers befriended Bennett during nearly 100 separate encounters and offered him the opportunity to join members of a fictitious criminal organization that had resources to help its members escape responsibility for their crimes.
Spark says Bennett was convinced the group had access to a corrupt medical examiner that would prepare a fake autopsy report that would clear Bennett, if he told the truth of what happened.
"Bennett told the officer in great detail how he had killed Ivy."
The trial, presided by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Blair Nixon, is scheduled to last 14 days. Bennett is being represented by defence lawyer Allan Fay.