WARNING: Graphic content
NEW WESTMINSTER - As Corporal Allison Douglas made her way deeper into the Newton bungalow, she said, the stench got worse.
"There were hundreds of flies," she recalled. "Lots of them were dead on the ground...there was a very foul odor."
Today Douglas works with Surrey RCMP's domestic violence unit. But on August 20, 2008 she was in charge of the detachment's Missing Persons Unit when she went to 14358 88th Avenue, looking for Richard Falardeau.
Falardeau, 54, was a stocky man with scruffy grayish white hair and a thick French accent. He'd been living in the stuffy attic apartment for nearly 10 months. His brother from Quebec reported him missing in the summer of 2008, bringing Douglas and two other Mounties to his rented home to look for him that hot August morning.
"I called out Richard's name," Douglas recalled. "There was no response."
She went into his suite through a sliding glass door. The blinds in the suite were closed, and an old blanket covered the window. "It was actually quite dark in the whole residence."
"I smelled what I believed to be a decomposing body."
Douglas said she asked one of the constables to check out a closet, where he found a suitcase. "He believed there was a body inside the bag."
Douglas then called her staff sergeant, who instructed her to have a look for herself. The bag was partially unzipped, she said. "I just lifted the flap."
"I looked in."
Douglas said she saw what she believed to be a human torso and ribs. "There was a liquid-type substance seeping out."
She called for backup.
Douglas testified Thursday at the second-degree murder trial of Ernest Allan Hosack, 40, who is accused of murdering and dismembering Falardeau some time after Falardeau met him at a coffee shop in June and invited him to be his roommate.
Falardeau's thumbs, anus, scrotum and testes were found in plastic bags in the refrigerator freezer. His skull, with some hair and part of the spine still attached, was found three months later, in marshy tall grass in a hollow off a pathway along the Hydro right-of-way, near 92nd Avenue and King George Boulevard.
Hosack is being tried in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
Crown prosecutor Chris McPherson said earlier this week that Hosack spoke of an entity during a chilling 12-hour interview with police. When the officers asked to speak to this entity, Hosack's voice grew deep and identified itself as his deceased grandfather. This voice told the officers he cut off the victim's thumbs and genitals "and froze them in hell" because Falardeau had been messing with some of his belongings "for ill will," McPherson said.
Earlier this week, a tenant who lived on the main floor of the house, albeit only for a few days, testified about the one and only time he met Hosack, outside the tenants' shared laundry room.
"He seemed like a nice guy," Scott Russell, 28, said of Hosack. "I didn't feel in danger."
"He was a rougher character," Russell added. "Strong enough to give me a good sturdy handshake."
The trial is scheduled to continue on Monday, when a forensic pathologist is expected to shed light on how Falardeau died.