Robert Clifford loses bid to stay second degree murder charge

A week before Nichole Clifford was found dead at the bottom of the stairs of her Wainwright home, she reportedly told her best friend she was terrified of her ex-husband and feared for his life.

Robert Clifford is charged with second degree murder in the February 2017 stabbing death of the 31-year-old mother of two. This is the second time he has been tried for the same crime.

Last year, a judge found him guilty, but later canceled the trial due to evidence omitted by the Crown.

Because the case has been in court for so long, Clifford requested a stay of the murder charge.

On Tuesday, Court of Queen’s Bench Judge Nicholas Devlin dismissed Clifford’s request after analyzing who was responsible for the delays. Clifford is on his fifth lawyer.

The judge was told that Nichole and Robert Clifford separated on January 2, 2017. At first, she let her ex-husband stay in a trailer in the garden. When a cold snap hit, she allowed him to move into a guest bedroom in the basement.

Nichole’s best friend, Krista Perkins, became concerned enough to contact the police when she received a disturbing phone call one night from her friend, she said on Tuesday.

“She said she was scared,” Perkins testified. “She said he was acting weird, that he wasn’t himself. She wasn’t sure he was capable of doing anything harmful to her.”

Perkins said he was told the defendant tore up photos of Nichole, threw sand from their wedding ceremony in the trash and accused her of infidelity.

“He had her pinned against the wall,” Perkins said. “So the cops escorted him off the property.”

The next day, Robert Clifford moved his belongings out of the house. But Perkins said he broke into the house three times before his friend was killed.

Nichole Clifford allowed her ex-husband to stay in the backyard trailer after they split, but it was too cold to stay there. (RCMP/Court Exhibit)

On one occasion, Travis Perkins, Perkins’ then-husband, escorted Nichole home because she was nervous. While Travis was checking the outside of the house, he said he heard Nichole start screaming inside.

“He was sneaky and sneaky,” Travis testified. “Break into the house and hide.

He said he took Nichole to the courthouse to get a restraining order and divorce papers.

“Anything she could have used to get him away from her and the kids,” Travis testified.

Krista said the third time Robert Clifford broke into the house, Nichole found him hiding under her bed. He was later charged and taken into custody.

Krista Perkins testified that Clifford spent time behind bars before being released on bail on February 16, 2017.

“That night, after the bail hearing, she told me she was terrified for her life,” she said.

“She said her eyes were blank.”

The trial continues on Wednesday.

About the author