© New Glasgow News file photo
Amber Kirwan's parents.
PICTOU - Amber Kirwan's parents described their 19-year-old daughter as the "light of their life" during testimony Tuesday at the first degree murder trial of Christopher Alexander Falconer.
Both Marjorie and Donald Kirwan remained composed during their testimony that described their daughter's life, her relationship with her boyfriend Mason Campbell and their reactions to her disappearance and death.
"I was numb," said Donald upon hearing news from police officers on Nov. 5, 2011 that his daughter had been found in a shallow grave in Heathbell. "I was devastated. Sick to my stomach."
The Kirwans described their daughter as kind, athletic and close to her parents.
"She was sweet and basically the best daughter in the world. No troubles. she was funny, happy. She was the perfect daughter," said Donald.
However, they both testified that she was timid and never liked to walk by herself.
Donald said Amber would never get in a car with strangers or even take a taxi by herself if she didn't know the driver. They often drove her to and from work, even though it was only five minutes from their home.
"It was the way we brought her up," said Marjorie. "It wouldn't be safe to walk alone."
Marjorie said she first learned of her daughter's disappearance on Oct. 9, 2011 when someone contacted her about a post on Facebook. She said she tried to reach Campbell right away, but didn't make contact with him until a few hours later. When Donald returned home from work around 4 p.m., they headed to the New Glasgow police station to file a missing person's report.
"The days after, we kept looking for her," Donald said. "We put posters up trying to find her. I was hoping someone had her. I was hoping she was still alive. It was a terrible thing to hope (that someone had her), but at least she would still be alive. I couldn't think the worst. If I thought the worst, I would be nuts. I was hoping someone had her captive somewhere."
Donald said he knew as soon as he saw two police officers and a clergyman on his doorstep on Nov. 5, 2011, that she was gone.
Shortly after hearing the news, he drove with someone to pick up his son at a friend's house so he could tell him the news before he heard it elsewhere.
"It's a hard thing to do to tell your son," he said.
Some of the testimony from both the Kirwans focused on their relationship with Amber's boyfriend, Mason Campbell. Amber and Mason had moved in together a short time before her disappearance, but both parents said she was still a frequent visitor to their home.
"She loved him," said Marjorie. "They got along well. Numerous times at the house they were together. They got along well."
Donald said he wasn't thrilled with Amber moving in with Campbell at first because he worried if she would finish her schooling, but he didn't have any problems with her boyfriend.
"He treated Amber well," said Donald. "I never had any problems with him ever."
Both parents said they never heard Amber say Christopher Falconer's name.