A PENSIONER is to stand trial in Canada next year accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend and hiding her body.
Andrew Watson, originally from Edinburgh, was arrested by detectives probing the disappearance of Lise Fredette last November.
I find that there is evidence upon which a reasonable jury could convict the defendant”ROBERT BENINGER
A judge in Peterborough, Ontario, has now ruled there is enough evidence for the OAP to stand trial for murder despite the fact no body has ever been found.
Watson, 77, represented himself at a preliminary hearing in the case, which was held to determine if there is enough evidence for it to go to trial.
Following the hearing, Justice Robert Beninger ruled that while the case against Watson was circumstantial, it was strong enough for him to face trial on charges of first-degree murder and criminal harassment.
He said: “On the whole of the evidence that I heard, there is nothing in Ms Fredette’s background, or day-to-day life, that logically leads to the conclusion that she voluntarily left everybody and everything that was important to her. The evidence to the contrary is overwhelming.
“The inferences that reasonably and logically flow from the evidence also provide sufficient evidence for a trier of fact to find that the murder was planned and deliberate.
“The Crown has a circumstantial case for first-degree murder. The Crown has had to connect the dots to establish a reasonable and logical inference that the defendant unlawfully killed Ms Fredette while he was committing criminal harassment.
“I find that there is evidence upon which a reasonable and properly instructed jury could convict the defendant of both charges as alleged by the Crown.”
Watson, who emigrated to Canada several years ago, was arrested ten days after Ms Fredette, 74, was last seen leaving her job at Walmart on November 12 last year. Her glasses and keys were found next to her car at home and there was blood in her driveway.
Detectives have searched a number of areas using dogs, heat-seeking equipment, divers and a ground-penetrating radar.
There has been no trace of the victim, who was declared dead days after she went missing.
A Facebook campaign has been set up in a bid to uncover the mother-of-two’s last resting place. Her family raised the alarm after she failed to show up for her shift.
Prosecutors claim that Watson – “who did not accept that the relationship had ended” – killed Ms Fredette the same night she was last seen before concealing her body.
The preliminary hearing included nine days of evidence and three days of submissions from prosecutors and Watson.
Members of Ms Fredette’s family were at the Peterborough Ontario Court of Justice to hear the judgement in the case.
Watson, who is being held in custody, is due to return to court on January 26 for the start of pre-trial proceedings.