The first-degree murder trial of city woman Kaela Mehl in the death of her 18-month-old daughter is continuing this week at Victoria Law Courts. Victoria News files

UPDATE: Kaela Mehl murder trial – Saanich police cautioned couple night before toddler was found dead

Recordings give glimpse into rocky relationship between accused and ex-husband

Kaela Mehl’s first-degree murder trial continued Wednesday as the jury heard more audio recordings, including a phone conversation with a Saanich police officer the night before she killed her 18-month-old daughter, Charlotte.

The Victoria toddler was found dead by police in the early morning of Sept. 16, 2015. Mehl has admitted to feeding Charlotte sleeping pills mixed into yogurt and smothering her, but has pleaded not guilty to the charges of first degree murder.

In the phone conversation the night before Charlotte was found, a Saanich police officer is heard giving Mehl a word of caution about the ongoing, heated custody battle over the child with her ex-husband Daniel Cunningham.

“Before you get too excited, I’m going to give you a little bit of advice,” the officer said. He advised her that if she and Cunningham continued to “push the issue,” the police would have to get involved, and “one of you is going to go to jail” or their daughter will be taken away.

“If that’s what you want, keep going,” the officer said. “I’m appealing to your common sense … I’m not taking sides, I told [Cunningham] the exact same thing.”

RELATED: Victoria mom charged with toddler’s murder weeps listening to recording of daughter crying

Another of the recordings played Wednesday was taken at the Saanich police station, where the couple met to exchange their daughter, earlier that same day: a snapshot of the tumultuous custody battle over the child.

“You have been nothing but abusive this whole time, which is why we are here,” Mehl told Cunningham. “Daniel, just blow.”

By blow, she referred to the breathalyzer test she requested Cunningham to take when he picked up and dropped off his daughter from visitation. He testified Tuesday that he was to take a breathalyzer test at each exchange when he first arrived, and a second one five minutes later to confirm the reading, which he said always showed a zero alcohol level. Mehl also required every supervisor for Cunningham’s visitation to take the test.

The court heard about the increasing restrictions on Cunningham’s visits. He said Mehl would not give him necessary information about his daughter’s basic care and well-being, including her nap times, foods she was eating, doctors visits, shots, and whether she had any bruises or injuries.

“It appears Kaela had moved her schedule around so I wouldn’t be able to feed [our] daughter or give her bottles, and Kaela could monitor all her feeding schedules and sleeping schedules,” Cunningham testified Wednesday.

Cunningham has also testified that Mehl recorded him on her cell phone when he had visitations with Charlotte in Mehl’s home, and in later meetings, recorded him picking up and dropping off the child, without his knowledge. Cunningham stated that Mehl and her mother, Leanna Comis, followed and recorded him him at times when he had the child, Comis once watching him through binoculars.

VicPD’s Const. Mark Knoop introduced the recordings in court Tuesday and Wednesday as he explained how he, as a tech crimes officer, removed audio and other digital files from confiscated phones and recording devices belonging to Mehl, Cunningham and Comis. Knoop described to the jury the methods he used to recover data and determine its accuracy, including date and time, contents, and the devices and phone numbers used to send and receive text messages and emails.

Wednesday on cross-examination, defense counsel questioned Knoop about text messages he had recovered, asking if he knew who authored them.

“If you’re asking me if there is any way of knowing who was there typing the message, I have no idea,” Knoop responded.

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

Read Victoria News’ coverage of the Kaela Mehl murder trial

Oct. 4: Kaela Mehl guilty of first degree murder, sentenced to life in prison

Oct. 4: First degree murder conviction requires killing be planned and deliberate

Oct. 3: Jury must determine degree of planning in killing of toddler

Sept 28: Crown challenges psychiatrist as defence wraps in Mehl murder case

Sept: 27: Drafted suicide note revealed Mehl’s mental state: psychiatrist

Sept: 26: Victoria woman hired P.I. during custody battle

Sept. 21: Victoria woman had a mental disorder when she killed daughter: psychiatrist

Sept. 19: First responders describe gruesome Victoria crime scene to jury

Sept. 16: Mehl murder trial: “She was a good mother”

Sept. 14: Emotional day in Kaela Mehl trial as defendant’s suicide email read aloud

Sept. 13: Saanich police cautioned couple night before toddler was found dead

Sept. 12: Victoria mom charged with toddler’s murder weeps listening to recording of daughter crying

kaela mehlmurdermurder trialr v mehl

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

The Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. closed permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks closes despite petition signed by nearly 250 residents

Closure part of transition to more drive-thru locations, Starbucks spokesperson says

The iconic and well-loved live music venue Logan’s is permanently closing its doors due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Google Maps)
Fernwood pub Logan’s permanently closing its doors

Live music venue unable to weather COVID-19 storm

Theft of $120 in Sharpie is among the files Oak Bay Police Department responded to last week. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man steals $120 worth of Sharpies from Oak Bay Village

Police respond to daytime break-in and theft, among other calls last week

The drive-through COVID-19 testing facility at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Island Health opens COVID-19 testing site at UVic

As with all other sites, an appointment is needed to receive a test

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

Most Read