LATEST UPDATE: Boyfriend takes stand in murder trial

Published on January 8, 2014
Defence lawyer Mike Taylor speaks with media following the end of day 3 of the murder trial of Christopher Falconer who is charged in the death of Amber Kirwan. AMANDA JESS – THE NEWS

PICTOU – The boyfriend of 19-year-old Amber Kirwan took the witness stand Wednesday in the first-degree murder trial of Christopher Alexander Falconer.

Mason Campbell told jurors in Pictou Supreme Court that Kirwan was his "best friend" and they shared everything.

'We were very close," he said.

Falconer is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Kirwan who went missing from downtown New Glasgow on Oct. 9, 2011. Her remains were found in Heathbell on Nov. 5, 2011.

Campbell and Kirwan dated for a few years before they moved in together during the summer of 2011.  She was 18 at the time and working at Home Hardware while he was working at Michelin for Dave Shannon Commercial Cleaning.

He said Kirwan had planned to have some co-workers and high school friends over on Oct. 8, 2011, for a party at their apartment.

The couple went to the local mall earlier in the day where Kirwan purchased a new outfit and they bought some alcohol to drink that evening.

"We stayed home a lot," he said. "Fitting into our new apartment. It was a nice experience to have people over."

However, Campbell said, he just finished working backshift and wasn't in the mood to invite any of his friends to their home, but he was prepared to be social with Kirwan's crowd.

"I wasn't in mood. I was not much of a drinker at the time. I am a quiet person, I guess. I worked the night before,” he said.

On a scale of one to 10, he said his intoxication level was between a five and seven at the party and he had consumed some marijuana as well.

"I was consuming alcohol, but not tanking it down in one shot," he said. "I was progressively drinking. I believe there was marijuana at the party. I had it. I had smoked it pretty frequently at the time. We both consumed it. Me more frequently than Amber."

Campbell said Kirwan was drinking alcohol and having fun with friends during the party.

"She didn't get a lot of time to spend with her friends," he said. "I was happy to see her being social."

He said around 10 or 11 p.m. that night, he started hearing people talking about going to Dooly's, but he wasn't interested in leaving his home.

"She said her friends were going to the bar and she wanted to go. I wasn't really a bar goer, but I wasn't holding her back," he said.

Campbell said a taxi arrived and Kirwan and her friends went out to the car in a bit of a hurry. He was left at this apartment with three of Kirwan's friends.

"I said I would there be soon," he said. "I can't quite remember exactly. It was sort of a rush to get situated. After the cab left, I cleaned up the apartment and was out back on the porch smoking cigarettes with the others wondering what was going on."

Campbell said Kirwan left the apartment with her debit card and ID, but she didn't have her cellphone.

"I know she had two cards. I am not sure if she had money," he said. "She forgot her cellphone at home that night because she was rushing to get out. The cab was waiting."

About 40 minutes after the cab left, Campbell said he got a call from Kirwan, who was using a friend's phone, telling him she didn't think the cab was coming back to the house to pick him up so he should call another one to take him to the bar.

"I was going to wait for cab and continuing to clean up. I was not very set to go to bar. I wasn't making any effort," he said.

Around 1:40 a.m. on Oct. 9, Kirwan called Campbell again from another person's phone and they made plans for him to pick her up at Big Al's convenience store.

"I planned to get in my car and drive and meet her at Big Al's," he said. "I was driving illegally at the time. I had no insurance and no inspection on my vehicle. There were police out front (of Dooly’s) after 12 and I was intoxicated, consumed marijuana and driving illegally. I didn't want to be obvious."

Campbell said they had made a similar arrangement once in the past and he picked her up at the corner on the street by the bar.

"That night I did find her," he said.

As Campbell headed out his driveway, he said he saw Ian Muir waiting for a cab so he offered to drive him into town. 

"I drove past Big Al's to see if I could see up towards Dooly's," he said. "I stopped at the Legion the first time and parked in the parking lot. You could see the side road and up from Dooly's from where I was parked. I was hoping to catch her coming up the road at the time. I didn't see her."

Campbell will continue with his testimony today.

During the morning session, the 13-member jury heard from more of Kirwan's friends who were at the party on Oct. 8. They all confirmed clothing and feather earrings she was wearing that night looked the same as those in exhibit photographs at the trial.

They said the blue and black shirt, black leggings and sweater looked very similar to her clothing, but the ones in the photos were dirty and ripped.

Maggie Chickness said she had known Kirwan since grade school and described Kirwan's relationship with Campbell as typical high school dating.

"They got along well. They were both really nice people," she said. "I got along good with Mason. I wasn't close with him but knew him. "

She said when they got to Dooly’s, she paid her admission, got her hand stamped and spent most of the night with her boyfriend. However, Chickness testified that she did speak to Kirwan outside the bar and said her friend was annoyed that Campbell wasn't there.

Chickness said she received a phone call after leaving the bar from Campbell asking about Kirwan's whereabouts. She said he called again on Oct. 9, saying she didn't show up and sounding frantic on the phone.

Renee Avery, a co-worker of Kirwan's who attended the party and stayed behind to wait for the second cab, said when Campbell returned to the apartment without Kirwan his mood was "fine."

"I asked him where Amber was and he said she never showed up and she most likely was with Christie and Maggie. His mood seemed fine to me," she testified. "I slept on the couch. He and Ryan sat in the kitchen for awhile and played guitar. I woke up at some point and me and Ryan were on the couch and Mason was in his bedroom sleeping."

The next morning before leaving his home, she glanced into Campbell's bedroom and saw someone lying in his bed asleep. Later in the day, she messaged Kirwan on Facebook to which Campbell replied that she still wasn't home.

"He said he contacted her parents and they were contacting the police," she said.