Brutal treatment of West Kelowna senior laid out at son's attempted murder trial | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Brutal treatment of West Kelowna senior laid out at son's attempted murder trial

Kevin Lee Barrett is pictured in this undated photo from Facebook.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK
January 18, 2021 - 11:53 AM


“Rest in peace, you fucking bitch.”

Those are the words badly beaten Eleanor Holmes, then 79, heard her son say before he allegedly rolled her down a forested embankment.

The West Kelowna senior climbed to safety after he drove away while, according to Crown counsel Patricia O’Neil's opening statement, her son went and picked up some booze. He was arrested and charged days later.

Kevin Lee Barrett is on trial for attempted murder and aggravated assault for the alleged offences that occurred April 29, 2019 — both charges he pleaded not guilty to today, Jan. 18, before Crown counsel laid out her case in opening statements. Opening statements are not evidence, rather an outline or summary of what evidence the court will hear as the trial carries on. 

Holmes, the court heard, was living in a one-bedroom mobile home at Westview Village Trailer Park. Her son, Barrett, arrived at her residence several months before the attack, looking for a place to stay.

“He was prone to fluctuations of mood and would become angry and yell at Ms. Holmes,” O’Neil said.

On the evening of April 28, 2019, Holmes called 911 because Barrett was yelling and screaming at her, and at the suggestion of a Mountie who was called in, he left.

By the next morning, however, Barrett returned, O'Neil said.

“Mr. Barrett asked Ms. Holmes to drive him to an errand,” O'Neil said, noting he often relied on his mother for transportation, given he didn't have a driver's license.

They went on the errand and upon returning, Barrett asked his mother to take him on another errand.

As Holmes was driving them out of the trailer park, Barrett told her to stop because he was going to drive.

“Ms. Holmes pulled over her vehicle near the trailer park entrance and told Mr. Barrett that he could not drive because he did not have a license,” she said.

Holmes is expected to testify next week that her son grabbed her and dragged her over to the passenger side of the vehicle where he began to strike her repeatedly with his fists and with various objects that were inside the vehicle, including a crescent wrench.

“He committed other acts of violence, including ripping out chunks of her hair biting (her) left hand, attempting to gouge out her eyes, yanking and twisting one of her legs and throwing her dentures, out of the vehicle,” she said.

Barrett then is alleged to have driven his mother to a remote location on Hidden Creek Forest Service Road, while she was wrapped in a blanket.

When she tried to see where she was, O'Neil said, she was struck again.

“Ms. Holmes was afraid that Mr. Barrett was going to kill her, so she decided to pretend that she was already dead,” she said.

When the vehicle stopped, Barrett removed some of his mother’s clothing and her sandals.

“(He) then carried her to the edge of an embankment,” she said.

“He rolled her down the embankment … uttering the words, ‘Rest in peace, you fucking bitch.’”

Then he drove away with her purse and mobile phone. Holmes got up and eventually was spotted and taken to an ER.

The attending RCMP officer took photos while she was being treated that showed she had bruises and abrasions to her face and her left eye was swollen shut.

There was dried blood in her ears and a large amount of hair missing from her head. She had several bruises on her arms and the back of her hands, legs and feet, and a large open wound on her left hand.

When O’Neil finished her opening statement, she called witness Kip Bateman to testify.

He had been walking his dog in the trailer park on April 29, 2019, when he found the dentures on the ground near a tree.

“I noticed a man in a greyish SUV rummaging through it. I assumed he was looking for his missing false teeth, so I said his teeth were ‘there by the tree,’” Bateman said.

“He leaned through the passenger side window and said ‘hey, thanks man’ and I noticed he had blood on his hands and forearm.”

Bateman said the man, who he identified as Barrett, said he liked his dog and that he had to take his grandma to the hospital.

“Something was telling me we had to get away from there, so that’s what we did,” Bateman said.

Defence lawyer Jordan Watt questioned whether he truly could identify Barrett or if he was influenced by media accounts, given he didn't contact the police until days later. He also asked if it was possible for the blood he saw to have been something else. Bateman said it was possible.

Next to testify was Brian Clark, who was a longtime friend and neighbour of Holmes, who actually sold her the car.

He told Justice Steven Wilson that he saw Holmes and Barrett pulled over to the side of the road that day as he drove to pick up his wife.

Crown counsel will continue to present evidence until next week. She is calling upon people who spotted Barrett, those who knew them, police and medical experts. Holmes is expected to testify next week.

At that point, defence lawyer Watt will present his evidence.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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