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‘I hope her face haunts you’: Judge hears from family of girl murdered by stepdad over video game interruption

A Calgary mother whose boyfriend murdered her three-year-old daughter after the girl interrupted his video game delivered a powerful victim impact statement Thursday, telling her ex that she is “ashamed” to have ever known him. 

“I hope her face haunts you til the day you die,” Helen Wordsworth told Justin Bennett at his second-degree murder sentencing hearing. 

Ivy Wick died of her injuries after eight days on life support in hospital in the fall of 2017.

When she was admitted to hospital, Bennett told police and medical staff he heard a “scream and a thud” come from the girl’s room where she’d run after getting in trouble for a tantrum. 

But a year after Wick’s death, Bennett was charged after he confessed his crime to undercover police. 

At the time of the girl’s death, Bennett had a video game addiction and on the day of her injuries, she interrupted her stepfather’s play.

Bennett told cops he ‘snapped’

Bennett told the undercover officers he checked to make sure Wordsworth was still in the shower before he “smashed” Wick in the head. 

He said he then “snapped” and threw the girl against a wall and then, as the three-year-old ran to her bedroom, Bennett tripped her.

“For months after Ivy died, you wouldn’t allow me to cry or talk about her and when I did, you got mad at me,” said Wordsworth.

“Now I understand why.”

Helen’s sister, Heather, pointed out that “Ivy had a life ahead of her.”

“She won’t get to graduate, fall in love, get married, have children of her own ,” said Heather Wordsworth in her statement read aloud in court. 

Bennett fired lawyers, applied for mistrial 

Bennett was convicted of second-degree murder in 2021 following a trial. The sentencing hearing was delayed several times after Bennett fired two different lawyers, asked for a second psychiatric evaluation and then attempted to have his case declared a mistrial.

In December, Court of King’s Bench Justice Blair Nixon rejected the mistrial application, requiring Bennett to proceed to his sentencing hearing. 

Offenders automatically receive a life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 to 25 years.

Prosecutors Tom Spark and Sue Kendall argued Bennett should have to spend 15 years behind bars before he’s allowed to apply for parole. 

‘We hate you’

The three aggravating factors, argued the Crown, include the child’s young age, the fact that Bennett was responsible for her care and that he delayed calling 911 while also lying to medical staff and police.

Spark pointed out that Bennett “appears to have no remorse” and “takes no responsibility” for his crime.

Even if he’d shown remorse, Wick’s grandparents say it would be meaningless. 

“We are very forgiving people but we will never forgive you,” wrote Don and Ellie Wordsworth. 

“We don’t normally hate people but we hate you right to the bottom of our hearts.”

Defence lawyer Gregory Lazin will make his sentencing submissions Thursday afternoon.

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