Aimee Parkes was known to all who knew her for her cheerful and light demeanour, but in the weeks leading to her death that changed.
As the second degree murder trial for Ryan Quigley reached its scheduled halfway point Tuesday, Crown Counsel Colin Forsyth called upon three women who knew Parkes long before April 1, 2014, and they offered some insight into what she had been dealing with.
Among the witnesses was Kayla Seguin, who had been friends with Parkes for four years before she was killed.
The two, said Seguin, were close and they, along with a larger group of friends, camped, dined and celebrated milestone events with each other.
The last time they were together was at a Feb. 28, 2014 tea party, and Parkes was notably “stressed and frustrated” by Quigley, who had descended back into heavy drug use.
“I asked her … if Ryan was out of the house yet and she said ‘no,'” Seguin said.
Parkes told her, she’d been the police, her landlord and to the courts to try and oust Quigley from the home they shared in happier times, but they told her they couldn’t do anything because his name was on their lease and he’d yet to show himself to be violent.
Seguin asked Parkes if she wanted to stay at her place rent free, with her two children and fiancé, and the offer was declined.
“She was stern and to the point,” said Seguin.
“She said, ‘No. He needs to leave. I pay the rent, the bills, the damage deposit … everything is mine, he needs to go.'”
In the month that followed, Parkes moved closer to that goal and when the lease came up, she had it put in her name alone.
And on the day before she was killed, the court heard, she had a noticeably lighter demeanor having solved the problem that was plaguing her.
Parkes, who had a supervisory position at a CIBC branch, told her co-workers she would be leaving work early, March 31, 2014 because she was meeting a locksmith at her home.
Tamara Livingstone, a co-worker, said Parkes stopped at her office as she was leaving and explained what was happening.
She told Livingstone that Quigley was at the home, trying not to leave until the last possible minute, and that was causing her some concern.
“She was worried about her things,” said Livingstone. “She was worried he’d take and pawn them.”
Parkes also expressed some relief at knowing that with Quigley’s name off the lease, she could now call the police when he showed up uninvited and have him removed.
“I said to her that I thought she dodged a bullet, ending her relationship,” Livingstone said.
Parkes replied, “I don’t think I’m dodging a bullet, I think I’m dodging an atom bomb explosion.”
Another coworker, Gloria Miller, had a similar view of Parkes on that day, “She was happy that (Quigley) would not be living there anymore,” said Miller, noting later that she was feeling “positive about getting that part of her life back,” but still not her normal “giggly self.”
As she left, Miller told Parkes, “I’m happy for you, be careful.”
Parkes was found dead in her home the next morning after not showing up to work.
Her body had 26 stab wounds and was wrapped in a sheet just outside her bedroom.
The locks had been changed, but the back door had been left ajar, so when the Hiawatha Park property manager tried to gain entry, upon request of a concerned co-worker and accompanied by an RCMP officer, it pushed open.
When RCMP officers investigated the scene in the aftermath, they found among other things multiple pawn receipts belonging to Quigley. He’d been selling off lawn tools and jewelry in the week before he killed Parkes.
All three witnesses called Tuesday also said they’d not heard of Quigley being violent and that Parkes was not afraid of him. His drug problem had grown out of control, and Parkes told friends that Quigley’s family wasn’t helping him and that she was on her own.
The trial is anticipated to go over its initially allotted four week schedule. The question being dealt with is Quigley’s intent, provocation and intoxication. He admitted to killing Parkes on the first day of the trial, pleading guilty to manslaughter. That plea was rejected by crown.