Husband thought locker was for furniture

WINNIPEG – The husband of a woman on trial for concealing the remains of six infants in a storage locker thought his wife was hoarding furniture.

“I thought it was her father’s, hoarding furniture and stuff,” Jeremy Giesbrecht said Wednesday as the Crown concluded its case against his wife, Andrea Giesbrecht, 42.

Court heard that she rented a locker from one Winnipeg company and then later moved the contents to a U-Haul facility. Employees there opened the locker in October 2014 when the bill went unpaid.

What they found inside the locker were the badly decomposed remains of six infants that expert medical witnesses have said all appeared to be near full term.

Jeremy Giesbrecht said he was aware of the first locker but unsure about the second.

“I may have seen a bill from U-Haul … I don’t recall.”

Court has heard most of the remains were in white garbage bags inside other bags and containers. One was in a pail under concrete-like material. Another had been covered in a white powder that halted decomposition but dried out the body and left it rock hard.

The third infant was little more than a pile of bones wrapped in a towel.

Experts who examined the remains and reviewed the findings testified the infants were developed enough to be born alive, but added it was impossible to tell for sure. Nor could they tell how the babies had died because of the advanced state of decomposition.

DNA evidence presented earlier at the trial suggested Jeremy Giesbrecht was linked to the remains. It also suggested DNA found on a sanitary napkin in the Giesbrecht home was a match, but Andrea Giesbrecht’s lawyer raised questions about whether it was hers.

Her husband, who also testified earlier in the trial, said his wife of 20 years didn’t gain much weight during pregnancy to the point where he didn’t know he was going to be a father until the day his first son was born. They have two children and wanted no more, he said.

He said he had a vasectomy in 2011 but never went back for a followup appointment to ensure it had worked.

The trial has already heard that Giesbrecht was pregnant at least six times and had several legal abortions over the years, as well as a miscarriage.

Defence lawyer Greg Brodsky asked Giesbrecht if he had driven his wife to medical appointments for some of the abortions and he confirmed he had.

“You knew there were nine, 10, 11 of them?” asked Brodsky.

“Yes,” her husband replied.

Brodsky elected not to call any witnesses and suggested the Crown hadn’t proved its case.

The Crown has yet to suggest a motive for the alleged crime.

Final arguments are to begin Friday. The charges carry a maximum sentence of two years on each count.