Destitute and about an hour away from eviction, Ian Charles Borbely killed Samantha Collins when he couldn’t keep her under his thumb any longer, Crown attorney Douglas Kasko has alleged.
Kasko laid the claim in his closing arguments before a 12-person jury on Monday, March 18. Kasko portrayed Borbely as a controlling man who was the “only known connector” in Collins’ disappearance in March 2007, and in the discovery of her dismembered remains at a Merrick Drive cottage three years later.
Specifically, Kasko pinned Collins’ murder to the date of March 22, 2007.
“It is the submission of the Crown that it is reasonable to infer from the evidence that Samantha Collins and Ian Borbely were together at the time of her death, the morning of March 22, 2007,” said Kasko. “An argument between Ian Borbely and Samantha Collins involving their financial situation, their pending eviction (and) their child escalated, and he killed her. He did so because he could no longer control her.”
He said on 8:14 a.m. that day, the 29-year-old Bracebridge woman phoned Jeremy Crease who was Borbely’s employer. She claimed Borbely told her Crease would be covering their rent. That, she quickly discovered, was a lie.
“This evidence is important because Ian has misinformed her about payment of rent. The options left of her would have been limited, as she would be evicted from her home,” Kasko told the jury.
Kasko said the couple was due to appear at a tribunal just one hour and 15 minutes later to sort out their impending eviction.
“The tribunal records indicate no one attended to speak for Samantha Collins,” he said.
Forensic evidence has showed Collins was killed when she was struck by an elongated blunt object four times in the back of her head.
Borbely, Kasko said, was the last person known to have contact with Collins before her death. He drew the jury’s attention to earlier testimony from witnesses, which suggested Collins had threatened to walk out of Borbely’s life before.
Kasko argued that the relationship between Collins and Borbely was under significant strain in the weeks prior to her death. Collins was having an affair with a younger man, while the family had to borrow money from various sources to buy groceries. A daycare worker who previously testified noted Collins had requested the Borbely family be denied permission to pick up their child shortly before she disappeared.
Referring to a receipt seized by police and eyewitness testimony from a security guard at the Bracebridge Home Depot, Kasko said it is “reasonable to infer” that Borbely went to buy four, 17-litre pails the day after Collins’ death.
“Mr. Borbely then transported Ms. Collins’ body to an isolated location with which he was familiar,” Kasko claimed.
That location, Kasko said, was a residence on Gryffin Lodge Road in Huntsville, where Borbely was working as a contractor.
Kasko alleged it was there that Borbely quartered Collins’ body and placed her in four plastic pails.
Referencing earlier testimony from the property owner and experts, Kasko noted Hemlock trees were at the property, and that a carpet that had been removed from there. He also noted a barrel which contained a mixture of water and oil.
From the evidence of three forensic experts who testified earlier in the trial, Hemlock needles and cones, carpet fiber and a mixture of water and oil were found in the pails containing Collins’ remains.
“From this combined evidence, it is reasonable to infer that the Gryffin Lodge Road property is consistent with the location for the dismemberment,” said Kasko.
A forensic anthropologist who previously testified claimed a reciprocating saw was likely used. Though Borbely’s DNA could not be found on a number of saws later seized by police, Kasko offered the jury a frank explanation.
“You heard evidence that such common tools are easily acquired,” he said. “It stands to reason they are also easily disposed of or concealed.”
Kasko backed the claim by playing an excerpt from a wiretapped phone conversation that Borbely had with his parents after his arrest four years later.
“I know what they’re looking for, you know what I mean, specifically I know the tools that they’re looking for,” Borbely is heard as saying. “You know why? Because the tools they would be looking for are not in there.”
The court heard that after selling some of Collins’ clothes to a friend, Borbely moved out of the Wellington Street home.
Kasko suggested the pails containing Collins’ remains were then moved to an unheated storage unit in Gravenhurst, which Borbely began renting the same month Collins died. He pointed to signs of ice crystallization found in Collins’ brain during an autopsy, which showed her the remains were exposed to at least one freeze/thaw cycle.
Though Borbely had told others that Collins left Muskoka and abandoned their child with him, Kasko ripped into the credibility of the story.
Collins’ debit card, he suggested, continued to be used in Muskoka by Borbely. He referenced prior evidence that showed it was used to buy a bed frame at a Muskoka supplier just days after Collins’ death. The same card was also used to buy a $400 barbeque from the Bracebridge Home Depot store later that summer.
Two transactions with the card were also made in Borbely’s name at the Ministry of Transportation that June. Collins, the court heard, did not drive.
As an epileptic, Kasko said Collins last received medical treatment a few days before her disappearance, but made no further appointments anywhere else in Canada after that.
A Canada Child Tax Benefit form later seized by authorities shows Borbely listed March 22, 2007 as the date he became single.
Kasko said Borbely had stopped paying for the storage unit in December 2007, when he fell behind on payments.
It was in January 2008 that Kasko alleged Borbely moved the pails to the Merrick Drive cottage owned by Dr. Peter Vadas, where he was now working. Borbely’s boss was away on vacation at the time.
“Ian Borbely was free to use the unoccupied and isolated Vadas cottage as a temporary storage location,” Kasko said.
Kasko alleged Borbely built a sturdy wooden crate using surplus construction materials, into which he later placed the pails.
“This (crate) was now a secure, portable storage locker capable of being moved to any other location under the control of Ian Borbely,” Kasko said to the jury.
From the evidence heard at trial, Kasko said Borbely had moved back with his parents at that time.
Kasko said the crate, containing the pails, mysteriously appeared in a storage area of the cottage some time between May 24 and July 2010, when Vadas discovered it.
“On the evidence, the only person known to have attended the cottage after the May 24 weekend, and prior to Dr. Vadas noticing the crate under the cottage … is Ian Borbely,” said Kasko.
The cottage, he said, was then occupied by other contractors and the Vadas family.
“The result is that Ian Borbely was excluded from the property, and denied the opportunity to either bury the box or move it to a more secure location,” said Kasko.
Vadas and a groundskeeper discovered the box on July 5, 2010.
Shortly afterwards, Collins’ sister notified Borbely of the discovery by phone. She previously testified that Borbely offered a startled reply before promising to call back, but never did.
“I submit for your consideration that the reaction of Ian Borbely to the finding of the remains is consistent with someone who has lost control,” said Kasko.
Kasko also took issue with a smirk and comment Borbely allegedly gave a local daycare worker who questioned him about Collins’ whereabouts that same summer. That worker quoted Borbely as saying “Let’s just put it this way, when she left she thought it was her idea.”
“This evidence is important because it discloses that Ian Borbely knew Samantha Collins was thinking of leaving him, and that she didn’t leave him as she thought she would,” said Kasko. “What is implicitly disclosed by Ian Borbely is that he was not distraught as to how and when she left, because when she left and how she left was his idea. He was the one in control.”
Kasko argued Borbely harboured an intense animosity for Collins even years after her death, referencing a number of insulting comments he made about Collins during wiretapped phone calls from prison.
Borbely’s defence team was expected to give their closing statements the following day. For continuing updates, please see the Bracebridge Examiner, the Huntsville Forester, the Gravenhurst Banner, or visit cottagecountrynow.ca.