WARNING: This story may be disturbing for some readers.
A close friend of the Nanaimo woman accused in the murder and dismemberment of her boyfriend took the stand for the second time in two days.
She was the person who reported that Sidney Joseph Mantee wasn’t a missing person but had been murdered.
It was at the Nanaimo RCMP detachment where Robyn Bartle told police that her friend Paris Laroche, 28, had just admitted to killing Mantee, her boyfriend.
It was March 19, 2021.
Bartle testified at the Vancouver Law Court trial that Laroche confided in her that she had killed Mantee with a hammer after he threatened to kill her, her cats and her family.
Bartle said she asked if Laroche had told police, and she said no, she would commit suicide if police found out.
Bartle also said Laroche told her she had just finished getting rid of Mantee’s body. Laroche had killed him more than a year before the confession.
Bartle testified she was seriously freaked out, and it was a quick decision to report what she was told to police.
It had been more than five months after Mantee ‘s family had reported him missing, and police sent out a plea for information to the public.
Prior to the night of the confession, Bartle testified that Laroche had told her she had broken up with Mantee and he had moved to Victoria.
Bartle testified she didn’t like Mantee.
She says she saw him be abusive to Laroche on multiple occasions, and Laroche told her he would strangle her until she passed out and would hit her in places that were covered with clothing.
Bartle said Laroche had lost a lot of weight since Mantee had stopped working, and money had become tight.
Bartle testified Mantee was 230 pounds and estimated he was 6’0″ tall, while Laroche was about 5’5″ and 130 pounds.
She said Mantee was considerably stronger than Laroche, and he was gaining weight while Laroche had lost so much weight that you could see her bones through her skin.
In her statement to police, Bartle reported Laroche told her she did it out of self-defence.
“I desperately wanted to believe that,” said Bartle on the stand.
Less than two months after Bartle’s police statement, Nanaimo RCMP executed a search warrant at the apartment the couple shared and searched Diver Lake Park.
Waterfront searches near Neck Point and Pipers Lagoon in Nanaimo soon followed with charges laid against Laroche in March of 2022.
On Wednesday at the trial, undercover police officers are expected to testify.