West Kelowna  

Trial begins for West Kelowna man who allegedly beat his mother and left her for dead

Son on trial for savage attack

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West Kelowna’s Kevin Lee Barrett pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and aggravated assault on Monday in relation to a brutal attack that prosecutors allege left his mother for dead at the bottom of an embankment.

A couple found 79-year-old Eleanor Holmes on the side of a road near Hidden Creek Forest Service Road on April 29, 2019 at about 8:30 p.m., suffering from extensive injuries.

“Rest in peace, you fucking bitch” was the last thing Barrett said to his mother Holmes before he dumped her down a forested embankment, said Crown counsel Patricia O’Neil during her opening statements of Barrett's trial Monday morning.

Before the attack, Holmes was living in a one bedroom suite in the Westview Village Trailer Park.

“Mr. Barrett had arrived at her residence several months earlier looking for a place to stay and was still staying there at the time of the alleged offences. While Mr. Barrett was staying with Ms. Holmes, he was prone to fluctuations of mood and would become angry and yell at Ms. Holmes,” said O’Neil.

O’Neil says the Crown will prove during the trial that Barrett started screaming at Holmes on April 28, 2019, which prompted her to call police. After an officer attended the incident, Barrett left the residence on foot.

The next morning, Holmes woke up to find Barrett had returned to her home. Barrett had asked her to take him to run an errand as he didn’t have a drivers license, something he did on a regular basis.

After returning from the errand, O’Neil says Barrett became violent when his mother refused to let him drive.

“He grabbed her and pulled her over to the passengers side of the vehicle. He began to strike her repeatedly with his fists and with various objects that were inside the vehicle, including a crescent wrench,” she said, adding he also ripped out chunks of her hair, bit her hand, and tried to gouge out her eyes, twisted her leg and threw her dentures out of the vehicle.

“As Mr. Barrett assaulted Ms. Holmes inside the vehicle, he swore at her and called her by derogatory names. Whenever Ms. Holmes tried to scream, Mr. Barrett would strike her or would try to strangle her with a seatbelt or smother her with a blanket,” explained O’Neil.

The Crown's opening statements are not evidence, but provides an outline of the case the prosecutor will set out to prove.

The Crown's first witness, Kip Bateman, took the stand after O’Neil's opening. He testified that he noticed a pair of dentures on the ground as he was walking his dog through the mobile home park.

Bateman said he thought the dentures belonged to the man who appeared to be rummaging through the vehicle. Thinking the man had lost his dentures, he went over to tell him.

Bateman testified that he then noticed the man had blood on his hands and forearms.

"He was commenting on how nice my dog looked and something about needing to take his grandmother to the hospital. But then something was telling me just to get away from there, so that’s what we did," Bateman testified.

After the encounter with Bateman at about 5 p.m., the Crown alleges Barrett got into the drivers side of Holmes’ SUV and drove her to the embankment where she was later rescued.

“The Crown contends that Mr. Barrett drove Ms. Holmes to a remote location up on Hidden Creek Forest Service Road. Mr. Barrett would strike Ms. Holmes when she tried to peek through the blanket to see where they were going,” said O’Neil in her opening, adding because Holmes was afraid that her son was going to kill her, she acted like she was already dead.

“He rolled her down the embankment while uttering the words, ‘rest in peace, you fucking bitch,'" she said, noting Barrett allegedly left his mother without her purse, cellphone or shoes.

Holmes remained at the bottom of the embankment fearing that Barrett was going to return. Eventually she climbed up the embankment and started walking down the gravel road.

“She was bleeding significantly from her wounds. She stopped to rest on a boulder for a short while then eventually encountered a piece of heavy equipment - a skid steer parked on the side of the road,” said O’Neil.

During this, Holmes’ credit card was used to purchase alcohol. The Crown’s case alleges that after leaving his mother in the forest, Barrett used her credit card to purchase alcohol while driving her vehicle. Video surveillance shows Barrett going to a gas station, and according to bank statements, he purchased gas, oil and ice cream using Homes’ credit card.

At about 8:30 p.m., a couple was driving in the Hidden Creek area when they found Holmes on the side of the road sitting on the skid steer, covered in blood.

“They stopped and Ms. Holmes said that her son had tried to kill her. They drove back into an area with cellphone service, called 911 and returned to Ms. Holmes. They helped her into their vehicle and drove her down the road until they were met by police officers,” said O’Neil.

The Crown's first witness, Bateman was cross examined by defence lawyer Jordan Watt who raised questions on if Bateman actually could identify Barrett as he had never seen him before and the brief encounter lasted only 20 seconds.

The Crown's case is expected to continue well into next week with multiple witnesses, after which time the defence will have the opportunity to call evidence.

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