Death was quick for strangled Mississauga maid, court told

Killers used a knot to keep tension tight on copper wire wrapped twice around maid’s neck, pathologist tells jury

A 27-year-old Filipino maid lost consciousness within seconds and died soon after having a thin copper wire tied twice around her neck and tightly knotted, a Brampton court was told on Wednesday.

Dr. Michael Pollanen, Ontario’s chief forensic pathologist, told jurors that Jocelyn Dulnuan’s airways would have been under constant constriction because of the knotted and complex ligature system that was also connected to her left wrist.

“She would have been incapacitated within seconds, followed by death within minutes,” Pollanen said. “The knot caused constant tension. . . . The tension was incompatible with life. . . ”

Very quickly her face would have swollen and turned purple as blood vessels burst because blood wasn’t flowing through the veins of her neck to and from her brain, Pollanen added.

Crown prosecutors Steve Sherriff and Carrie Stoddard contend Dulnuan was strangled in her basement bedroom with the braided wire from a nearby storage room during an inside robbery at the 30,000-square-foot Mississauga mansion where she worked as a live-in maid.

Fabian Loayza-Penaloza, 39, a longtime painter at the mansion, and Cristian Figueroa, 37, both from Ecuador, have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the so-called “Maid in the Mansion” murder trial before Justice John Sproat.

It is the Crown’s case Dulnuan was slain on Oct. 1, 2007 because she knew Loayza-Penaloza. She also had to be silenced before she could scream for help, alerting other tradesmen working in the massive home owned by a family doctor and her husband.

In the midday robbery, a safe with jewellery and cash was stolen from a closet in the upstairs master bedroom along with a laptop computer and a Rolex watch.

Jurors viewed a graphic photo showing Dulnuan lying on her back on her bedroom floor. Blood was oozing from her mouth and streaking down the sides of her cheeks. Her legs were tied above the ankles with arms from a pink and brown jacket. Her grey shirt was raised, exposing her bare mid section. Her feet were bare.

Pollanen agreed with Stoddard that the loop on her left wrist was loosely tied and could have also held her right hand at some point.

He said there was no indication she was knocked out or rendered unconscious before being strangled.

The owner of the mansion, Dr. Jayshree Chanchlani, discovered Dulnuan dead in her (victim’s) basement bedroom when she arrived home from work about 5 p.m.

She admitted the security cameras and alarm system weren’t working in 2007.

The trial is continuing.

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