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Chilliwack man who killed partner with shotgun pleads guilty in BC Supreme Court

Shane Travis Hughes pleads to manslaughter for shooting Christine Denham in their shared home in 2019

The man who killed Christine Denham in a Victor Street home on Feb. 26, 2019 pleaded guilty to manslaughter in B.C. Supreme Court in Abbotsford on Wednesday.

Shane Travis Hughes shot Denham with a shotgun in their home at approximately 1 p.m. that day during an ongoing argument.

The two were in a “tumultuous relationship” living in a house in “complete disarray” filled with drug paraphernalia, according to an agreed statement of facts read out in court.

A neighbour reported shouting between the two was a normal occurrence. Both Denham and Hughes had children from a previous relationship, none of whom were living with the couple at the time.

During a dispute over a minor issue, Denham was looking for keys, Hughes picked up a black Remington pump-action shotgun that was laying on the floor in the foyer of the house.

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He entered the living room with the gun, Denham tried to take it away from him, and she was shot in the abdomen.

Hughes then fled the residence with the gun yelling to a friend who was waiting with a car “she got shot, she got shot.”

He then went back in, dialed 911 on a phone and gave the phone to Denham before leaving. He took a taxi to Superstore where he called his mother and asked her to also call 911.

During the 911 call with Denham, she told the dispatcher that she wanted help and she had been shot by a shotgun.

“She didn’t know who shot her. The injury hurt and there was lots of blood. She was going to die. The shooter was no longer there,” according to the agreed statement of facts.

After surgery at hospital, she was in stable condition but with no brain activity. She was declared brain dead at 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 28, 2019, and taken off life support.

A friend of the couple that was outside the house with a vehicle took the gun and threw it into a wooded area in Langley. She later told police about this, the gun was recovered by an RCMP officer.

Hughes had originally pleaded not guilty to the charge of second-degree murder and chose a trial by judge and jury at a court appearance on Dec. 17, 2020.

Hughes is known to Surrey police. In 2005 he was convicted of trafficking in controlled substance and given a six-month conditional sentence . He was also charged with assault with a weapon and uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm from a Sept. 2, 2018 incident in Surrey.

Denham’s name was included in a domestic violence project in October 2019 called the Silent Witness Exhibit. Her mother attended the ceremony at the Chilliwack RCMP detachment to honour those who have been killed by domestic violence incidents.

Sentencing for Hughes was put over to a future date.

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