Lisa Batstone will have to wait 15 years to apply for release from custody.
The South Surrey mother – convicted in March of second-degree murder in connection with the December 2014 death of her daughter, Teagan – learned the term Tuesday morning, during proceedings in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
In imposing the ineligibility, Justice Catherine Murray noted Batstone’s love for her daughter “is not in doubt.”
However, “in my view, loving someone does not render murdering them less serious.”
“That breach of trust could not be more abhorrent.”
Batstone’s conviction came with an automatic life sentence, with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.
She had been arrested after the body of eight-year-old Teagan was found in the back of a car in a cul-de-sac off Crescent Road.
During trial, the court heard how Batstone had smothered Teagan with a plastic bag while she slept, and that she had tried unsuccessfully to suffocate herself after.
Defence counsel had argued that the mother’s level of intoxication at the time – along with borderline personality traits, significant levels of depression and a “cloud of stressors” – may have limited her ability to gauge the consequences of her actions.
In court Tuesday, Murray said she is “not convinced” that Batstone’s mental health was the reason for the murder.
Rather, “Teagan was the pawn in her mother’s revenge” against Teagan’s father, Gabe Batstone, for the collapse of their marriage.
“The murder of Teagan was intended to hurt one person – Gabe,” Murray said.
Murray described Batstone’s actions as “systematic, focused, purposeful and goal-directed.”
“The killing was intentional. It involved choices and decisions. It involved effort,” she said. “She never wavered from that goal, not even during the four to five minutes when she held the bag over Teagan’s mouth and nose.”
She also noted that Batstone, after killing Teagan, sat on her couch, drank wine and proceeded to write notes and send emails casting blame for the murder on Teagan’s dad.
“She did nothing to try to save her.”
During a hearing in June, Crown Christopher McPherson had asked the judge to impose a 16- 18-year ineligibility term; defence Rebecca McConchie argued for 10 years.
In imposing the 15-year term, Murray said mitigating factors included that the crime was “out of character” and that Batstone had shown remorse.
At the same time, Murray said she is uncertain if that remorse was for Teagan, or because Batstone had failed to kill herself as well.
Murray said the court needed to send a “message that children are not to be used as pawns.”
Outside court, McPherson said he was satisfied with the outcome. The 15 years, as well as Murray’s statements prior to imposing it, is “a pretty strong message,” he said.
Members of White Rock Baptist church and Teagan’s family were in court for the ruling.