PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. — The father of an NHL player and his mistress talked about staging a disappearance and a house fire in what the Crown alleges was a plot to murder their respective spouses.
The bottom line: they needed to cover their tracks, a jury was told Wednesday.
Brigitte Vey took the witness stand at the trial of her husband, Curtis Vey — they are the parents of Vancouver Canucks forward Linden Vey — and Angela Nicholson, who each face two charges of conspiracy to commit murder.
When asked by Crown Prosecutor Lori O’Connor about her 28-year marriage, Brigitte said, “before this I thought it was really good” with a slight chuckle. The couple, who lived on a farm near Wakaw, Sask., were planning for retirement together until October 2012, when Brigitte said she caught her husband texting in the bathtub and became suspicious that he was cheating on her.
“So I said I wanted to see the phone and then he dropped the phone in the tub,” she testified.
After that, the relationship was “pretty rocky.” She and Curtis apparently tried to work it out.
“I don’t know how many times I left before the kids said I have to make up my mind,” she told the jury. “But I didn’t want to throw away a 28-year marriage to the man I loved.”
After some counselling and several tense months, Brigitte says their relationship got better until June, 2013, when Vey began hiding things and started acting suspiciously. This prompted her to begin recording Vey’s activities when she wasn’t home.
Brigitte hid her iPod under the kitchen table at the farmhouse on July 1, 2013, and went to work. What it captured over the course of the next several hours shocked her.
In a scratchy recording played for the jury Wednesday, Nicholson shows up and chats with Curtis about her birthday, and mentions the flowers that he gave her for Valentine’s Day, her pending divorce and his work on the farm.
Then the lengthy conversation shifts to their spouses.
Curtis wonders aloud if anyone would notice if Nicholson’s husband were to disappear.
“It could be a number of days before anybody’s suspicious he’s gone,” Curtis is heard saying. “Is there going to be really anybody who really is worried about him?”
Nicholson and her husband had been married for 30 years at the time, but were separated. She’s heard talking about getting into his house.
“If I go in there, if I turn over, say the coffee table, and I open the cupboards, and I’d go upstairs and I’d pull dresser drawers out and make it look like they’re rummaging through for something. That’s going to make them suspicious, is it not?” she wonders.
“Just make sure you got gloves on,” Vey whispers.
A few minutes later, Vey wonders about a fire at his house.
“The bottom line is that’s how, you know, it’s set up to be an accident, right?” he says. “Do you know what I mean? Like, the house burns down.”
Nicholson talks about lighting the curtains ablaze.
“I thought if I could just pre-start the curtains, they’re not going to be able to tell how it started,” she says.
“OK. I know what you mean,” Vey responds.
“It starts there and these get going … see, I could get those ones going to help it along,” she adds.
Crown lawyer Lori O’Connor has told the jury she intends to prove the lovers settled on a plan to kill Brigitte Vey in a house fire and Nicholson’s husband by overdose.
Curtis and Nicholson were arrested July 6, 2013, the Vey’s 28th anniversary.
Under cross-examination, Brigitte Vey acknowledged that her husband had never hurt her in the past and she had never been concerned for her safety before hearing the recording.
“At no time in the entire relationship did he ever threaten you with physical violence, correct?” asked Nicholson’s lawyer, Ron Piche.
“No, he didn’t,” she agreed.
Earlier this week, RCMP Cpl. Dereck Wierzbicki testified that searches were done of both the farmhouse and Nicholson’s home in Melfort but no plans were found.
Both accused have pleaded not guilty.
The trial is expected to last two weeks in Court of Queen’s Bench in Prince Albert, Sask.
Jennifer Graham, The Canadian Press. With file’s from paNOW’s Spencer Sterritt.