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Phoenix's stepfather admits in police videotape 'I made a big mistake’

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The man accused of killing his five-year-old stepdaughter after months of horrific abuse told police he "made a big mistake" and sobbed at the prospect of spending the rest of his life in jail, court heard today. 

In a videotaped interview with police that continued to play at his murder trial today, Karl McKay said he tried to perform CPR on Phoenix Sinclair when he found her body in the family's basement in June 2005.

"I tried to save her. I tried CPR," he told an RCMP officer in March 2006. "We were scared. I didn't know what the hell to do."

McKay and his common-law wife Samantha Kematch are accused of first-degree murder in Phoenix's death.

The couple is also accused of trying to pass off another child as Phoenix to convince welfare investigators and the RCMP that their daughter was still with the family.

McKay's sons have testified both Kematch and McKay used to be beat Phoenix regularly, sometimes with a metal rod or a broken fridge handle.

They said McKay also shot Phoenix with a pellet gun "just for the hell of it" and used to choke her until she lost consciousness.

"She was always crying and whining about something," McKay said in the interview.

The day she died, McKay told police he told Phoenix to "shut up" and threw her about "three or four feet" on the basement floor. But he said she landed on a pile of clothes and was still breathing when the couple left to visit McKay's father nearby.

"I didn't want to kill the little kid," McKay said. "Once in a while, I would give her a licking. I didn't intend to do serious harm."

After five minutes of performing CPR, McKay said the couple took Phoenix upstairs and gave her a bath to try to revive her. When it didn't work, he said they took her back downstairs and wrapped her in plastic. They drove her out beyond the Fisher River garbage dump and buried her in a shallow grave, he said.

"I wish it had never happened," McKay said crying. "Maybe now she can rest in peace."

It was Kematch who used to beat up Phoenix, McKay said. She had a lot of "anger in her" which she took out on her daughter, he said. Kematch would say "I wish I could just give her back to her dad or get rid of her," McKay said.

"Samantha would just treat her like an animal," he said. "She had no heart."

During McKay's video testimony today, Kematch often turned around and frowned at him as he sat beside her in the prisoner box.

On the video, McKay broke down sobbing when he talked about Phoenix's death.

"I'm going to spend the rest of my life in jail," he said, worrying he wouldn't be able to see his boys until they were grown.

"I made a big mistake. I got to pay for it."

McKay drew a map to show where Phoenix was buried. Her body was found in a shallow grave near the Fisher River garbage dump in March 2006.

Earlier in the police interview, McKay said he was on at least 10 different kinds of medication for health problems relating to diabetes, pancreatitis, depression, insomnia and fibromyalgia. The medication would sometimes cause mood swings and caused him to lose 60 pounds in one month, he said.

His father had 26 kids by various women and he spent his life in foster care, McKay said.

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