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Grandma Kept from Starving Boy
October 14, 2005 permalink
Even after CCAS had allowed one of her grandchildren to die in their care, they kept the innocent grandmother away from her family.
The Toronto Sun
October 14, 2005
Grandma fights tears
Battles with emotion as she testifies about struggling to see starvation victim Jeffrey Baldwin
By SAM PAZZANO, COURTS BUREAU
The murder trial of starvation victim Jeffrey Baldwin saw the anguished face of a grandmother who fought to see him -- and a defensive man who watched the boy's "death march" but did nothing, just to preserve his free-lunch life.
Grandmother Susan Dimitriadis bit her lip and dabbed away tears on the witness stand yesterday as she recalled her futile efforts to see Jeffrey.
She was repeatedly denied access by Jeffrey's other grandparents, Elva Bottineau, 54, and Norman Kidman, 53, who are now accused of first-degree murder in the Nov. 30, 2002, death of the almost six-year-old by confining and starving him. Jeffrey weighed 21 pounds when he died Nov. 30, 2002. Both accused have pleaded not guilty.
Later, prosecution witness James Mills was cross-examined by Crown attorney Bev Richards on his admitted "bald-faced lies" about the boy who resorted to drinking toilet water to quench his thirst.
Mills had been declared an "adverse" witness by Justice David Watt allowing Richards to cross-examine him over inconsistencies in his statements and testimony.
Mills appeared angry and chippy as Richards questioned him for obeying Elva's rules that condemned Jeffrey and his sister to a horrific life of deprivation.
Mills, jobless and seemingly without ambition, enjoyed free meals and board while living with his girlfriend Yvette Kidman, the couple's daughter.
"His death didn't come as a surprise to you," Richards asked.
"No, probably not," Mills said after a pause.
He admitted hearing Jeffrey and his sister cry and beg to leave the locked, unheated, urine-and-feces ridden room, but doing nothing to help them.
The portly Mills also agreed he created a "bald-faced lie" to police that he saw Jeffrey eat more than he did in a bid to evade responsibility for the child's death.
In a dramatic gesture, Richards held up a poster-sized, "skin and bones" autopsy photograph of Jeffrey to Mills, who had not previously seen it.
"You knew there was no way that a child as skinny as Jeffrey was eating and certainly not as much as you?" Richards asked.
"Fair," Mills said.
"And you were concerned about yourself being held responsible," Richards asked. He concurred, adding he hadn't seen Jeffrey eat.
"You didn't want to rock the boat, did you?" Richards asked.
Mills agreed that he didn't want to jeopardize his cosy existence by fighting for the emaciated boy's welfare.
While Mills showed no concern for Jeffrey during his testimony, Jeffrey's grandmother battled with her emotions.
The Oshawa woman saw her three grandkids only twice since Jeffrey's other grandparents took custody in 1998. Dimitriadis testified the last time she and her spouse saw their grandkids, the couple felt "so uncomfortable" that they left within 15 minutes.
Dimitriadis then contacted a Catholic Children's Aid Society worker to see if she could help.
"I was told Elva Bottineau had custody and I'd have to go through her to see the children," she said. "I just want to see my grandchildren."
Six years later, Dimitriadis still hasn't.
The trial continues today.
Source: Toronto Sun