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Slain Burnaby girl's injuries 'very strongly' suggest non-consensual sex, jury told

Sexual assault expert Dr. Tracy Pickett continued her testimony Thursday at the Ibrahim Ali murder trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.
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Advisory: This story includes disturbing details about a murder trial. Reader discretion is advised.

The collection of injuries on the body of a 13-year-old girl found dead in a Burnaby park six years ago "very strongly" suggested "non-consensual sexual activity," a sexual assault expert told the jury at the Ibrahim Ali murder trial Thursday.

Dr. Tracy Pickett, the director of BC Women's Hospital sexual assault service, continued her testimony in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver Thursday morning.

Ali has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 13-year-old girl whose body was found in Central Park on July 19, 2017, less than two hours after her family reported her missing.

Ali has pleaded not guilty.

The girl cannot be identified because of a publication ban.

Pickett was engaged by the Crown in January 2021 to give expert opinion on injuries found on the body of the young teen, including tearing within the vagina and anus and bruising on the wall of the rectum, according to her testimony.

Earlier in the week, Pickett had said the likely cause of the injuries was blunt force trauma inflicted during penetration with a "relatively large object," such as a penis.

Pickett said such vaginal, anal and rectal injuries are "very uncommon," and it was "very unlikely" the ones she observed on the girl's body were caused by a smaller object, such as a tampon, or during normal toileting.

"I would consider it equivalent to the injuries that I've seen with childbirth, following childbirth," she said Thursday of the vaginal tear.

During her nearly 30-year career as a doctor, Pickett noted she has performed more than 1,500 vaginal exams in a trauma context, and she has delivered more than 100 babies.

Besides injuries to the girl's genital, rectal and anal area, there were other injuries Pickett described as "significant," including four abraded contusions on the upper back of the left arm, which Pickett interpreted as fingertip injuries created in the process of "grasping or holding."

She also noted "florid petechiae" – numerous pin-prick hemorrhages – on the girl's face that ended in a clearly demarcated line under the chin.

"That is a classic finding for strangulation injury," Pickett said.

Pickett noted there were injuries on multiple surfaces of the girl's body, including internal injuries.

When asked by Crown prosecutor Isobel Keeley if the "constellation" of injuries found on the young teen's body was more consistent with consensual or non-consensual sexual activity, Pickett said:

"In my opinion, the constellation of findings that we've been talking about, the injuries, very strongly indicates non-consensual activity," she said.

Pickett's testimony is expected to continue Friday morning. She has yet to face questions from Ali's lawyers.

The Crown's theory is that Ali and the girl were strangers to one another and that he attacked her on a trail in Central Park, dragged her into the forest and strangled her to death while sexually assaulting her.

The defence has not outlined its theory but has suggested the killer and whoever had sex with the young teen — "either forced sex or sex" — are not the same people.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
Email cnaylor@burnabynow.com