PICTOU, N.S. – Amber Kirwan’s naked body was left face down off a rural road outside New Glasgow, N.S., after she was bound, stabbed repeatedly and bled to death, the Crown said Tuesday at the murder trial of the man accused in her slaying.
Bill Gorman outlined the Crown’s case against Christopher Alexander Falconer, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of the 19-year-old.
Gorman said Kirwan’s wrists were bound by rope woven together with a sweater following her disappearance after leaving a pool hall in New Glasgow in the early morning hours of Oct. 9, 2011. Her body was discovered in a wooded area in Pictou County nearly a month later.
“You are going to hear evidence that Amber Kirwan was stabbed multiple times, defensive wounds on her hands, and that she was found face down in a clandestine grave,” Gorman told the jury in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
Kirwan’s parents, Marjorie and Donald, were the first witnesses called to the stand by Gorman.
Marjorie Kirwan said her daughter was very open with her and not a risk taker to the point where she didn’t like to walk alone at night.
She said she first learned that Amber had not returned home after checking a Facebook message the girl’s boyfriend Mason Campbell sent to Amber’s aunt. She said she later received a phone call from Campbell who told her Amber was missing, but she couldn’t contact her husband because he was working.
She said she and her husband then went to file a missing person’s report with police before they checked the local hospital and then joined Campbell to search the area where Amber was last seen.
Marjorie Kirwan said the ensuing days were much the same for Amber’s family and friends.
“Every day we would jump in the car, walk the streets looking for her,” she said. “We were barely coping with that little bit of hope.”
She said it all ended on Nov. 5, 2011, when police arrived at her home to tell her the “crushing” news they had found Amber’s body.
Donald Kirwan described his daughter as the “light of his life” and said she was a timid girl that didn’t like to walk to her job at a local hardware store that was only minutes from the family home.
He described the days after Amber went missing as “kind of a blur.” He told the court that as the days passed he hoped that someone at least had her because that would mean she was alive.
“I didn’t think the worst because if I thought the worst, I would have went nuts,” he said.
He said he went numb when police finally told him his daughter was dead.
Both parents said that as far as they knew, their daughter didn’t know the accused.
Gorman said Kirwan vanished within a few hundred metres of where she had been socializing with friends and was on her way to meet her boyfriend at a nearby convenience store for a ride home.
“She never arrived for her drive and never arrived home, ever,” Gorman said. “That’s what this case is about.”
Later in the day, two of Kirwan’s friends who were with her at the pool hall testified.
Christy Fiander and Morgan Curley each positively identified photographs of articles of clothing and feathered earrings they said were worn by Kirwan. Both women described the clothing in the photos they were shown as being muddy and ripped.
Outside court, Gorman described Kirwan’s death in one word.
“Gruesome,” he said. “She died a horrible death.”
Falconer, 31, was charged in May 2012. A previous charge of kidnapping was withdrawn.
Four weeks have been set aside in the case.