Sarnia woman died of blunt-force trauma, coroner testifies

Craig Short and Barbara Short.



SARNIA, Ont. -- Barbara Short was murdered by blunt-force trauma during an eight-hour time frame, a coroner told jurors at Superior Court murder trial here Wednesday.

Craig Short, 53, has been charged with first-degree murder in the October 2008 death of his 48-year-old wife Barbara Short.

It was obvious Barbara Short's fatal injuries were not self-inflicted or accidental, Lambton County coroner Dr. Dirk Putter testified. Putter found a laceration on the back of her head and copious amounts of blood when he examined Short's body during the early morning of Oct. 19, 2008.

Craig Short had found his wife's body at the rear of the couple's home at 1:30 a.m.

Putter said an exact time of death could not be determined, but Short could have died any time between when she was last seen alive, at 6 p.m. Oct. 18, and when her body was found, at 1:30 a.m. Oct. 19.

Short called 911 after finding his wife's body and directed paramedics to her but she was declared dead a short time later.

OPP Const. Todd Amlin interviewed Short for more than an hour.

In a video recording of the interview played in court, Short said they had been married for 28 years and met as children living in the same neighbourhood.

They were "always together" but as a married couple "we had our talks ... normal marriage stuff," Short said.

When asked if there had been any talk of separation or divorce Short told the officer that about two or three months before her death his wife had told him she was getting papers written up.

But "all was well" in their relationship after that "rocky" time, Short said during the interview.

Short told the officer the area where his wife was found "reeked of gas" and he wondered if she had found somebody stealing gas from a fuel tank near her body.

He also told the officer that there was no reason for her to be at the fuel tank and he did not understand why she would been there in her sock feet.

A 30-inch long fence post was found near Short's body.
Tests showed Barbara Short's blood was on one end of the post.

A forensic pathologist testified an object like the post could have caused the fatal skull and brain injuries.

Craig Short said he had initially found his wife face first on a woodpile but moved her to determine her condition.

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