A young girl at the heart of a kidnapping and sexual assault trial in London donned a black Batman cape while being cross-examined Tuesday.
Lakin Afolabi, the defence lawyer for 68-year-old Lawrence Thompson, began the hearing by talking to the seven-year-old about school and how she would be like a teacher to him.
“We want to learn some things about you,” he said. “You’re playing teacher today.”
Thompson is accused of sexual assault, sexual interference, kidnapping and abduction. The girl says she was picked up by a man outside of her house on Mother’s Day 2018 and taken for a drive. On Monday, Thompson pleaded not guilty to all four offences. His non-jury trial is expected to last five days.
For a little less than an hour, Afolabi showed the girl photos of her old neighbourhood. She was four years old at the time of the incident. Now seven, she testified in a separate room, not the main courtroom, while petting and snuggling with a court services dog for support.
“I see my house,” she said. “I can see where the man picked me up.”
She also shared other memories of the northeast London neighbourhood.
“I actually remember in the summer that there’s these girls that used to set up, right there, they sell pink lemonade,” she explained. Afolabi asks if she ever bought any of the lemonade.
“Yeah, it was only two quarters.”
At one point, the girl told Afolabi that she could show him the house where she used to live “once the sickness is gone.” Later, she said he could live in the area.
“If [my old neighbours] sell their house, you can live there and I come visit you.”
But asked about what happened inside the car when the man picked her up, the girl said she didn’t want to talk about that anymore.
Girl’s dad and police officer testify
After the girl’s cross examination, her father also testified virtually. He told the court he was brushing his teeth that Mother’s Day morning when the girl came inside and told her mom that a man had taken her.
“She was visibly upset and shaken up, crying and trembling,” the dad told Assistant Crown Attorney Kristina Mildred.
“My reaction was shock. You’re almost in disbelief that something like that would happen. Shock is a good word.”
The dad took a short drive to see if he could locate any suspicious men or vehicles, and called 911 within five minutes of the girl reporting her abduction.
Soon after, officers arrived and took the girl and her father to the police station.
The main investigator in the case, assigned to the London Police Service’s child abuse and sexual assault section, took the court through pictures of the vehicle Thompson was suspected of driving, captured in the area of the abduction by a home doorbell camera, and the same vehicle parked in his Princess Street home.
The case resumes tomorrow when the Crown is expected to call more witnesses.