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Teen found dead in Burnaby park was strangled, sexually assaulted: Crown

The Crown has laid out its theory of how a 13-year-old Burnaby girl died in Central Park in July 2017.
IHIT investigators are seen at the crime scene in Burnaby's Central Park where a 13-year-old girl's body was discovered in July 2017. Ibrahim Ali is on trial for first-degree murder in the death of the girl, whose name cannot be published.

Advisory: This story includes disturbing details about a murder trial.

Prosecutors at a Burnaby murder trial say they intend to prove Ibrahim Ali attacked a 13-year-old girl on a trail inside Central Park, dragged her into the bushes, sexually assaulted her and strangled her to death.

Isobel Keeley outlined the Crown's theory in an opening statement to the jury in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver Friday, laying down a road map of the evidence it plans to present against Ali in the coming months.

Ali is on trial for first-degree murder in the death of the girl, whose body was found in Central Park on July 19, 2017. 

Ali has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The victim cannot be identified because of a publication ban.

Keeley told the jury they will hear from a forensic pathologist who will say the 13-year-old died of strangulation and that semen was found in her vagina and anus.

An expert is expected to testify that the DNA extracted from the semen matched Ali's, according to Keeley.

The Crown theory, according to Keeley, is that Ali and the girl were strangers to each other, and that sometime after she left her home for the last time at about 6 p.m. on July 18, 2017, she encountered Ali on a trail in Central Park.

He attacked her and dragged her into the forest, according to the Crown's version of events.

"The Crown's theory is that Mr. Ali strangled (the girl) to death in the course of sexually assaulting her," Keeley said.

She warned the jury photos that will be introduced into evidence will be "difficult to look at."

Keeley noted that her opening statement was not evidence but that the Crown would present evidence in the form of witnesses and exhibits in an attempt to  prove its theory.

The prosecution intends to call 50 witnesses.

RCMP Const. Richard Huggins, one of the police officers tasked with finding the girl when her family reported her missing on the night of July 18, 2017, was the first witness to take the stand.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @cornaylor.
Email Cornelia, [email protected].