TORONTO, ON – The jury at the Ashley Smith inquest in Toronto spent much of yesterday hearing from the mother of the troubled Moncton teen.

Coralee Smith was the first witness not connected to the prison or medical system to testify at the inquiry.

She told the jury that she would speak with Ashley on the phone and they would write letters to each other.

Normally Coralee says the letters from her daughter would be about happier things, but she would also mention her fear of the other inmates describing them as “scary murderers”.

Coralee also said she felt helpless when her daughter told her about being abused in federal prisons.

In October 2007, the 19-year-old strangled herself at the Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener, Ontario as guards, under orders not to intervene, stood by and watched.

Coralee Smith is expected to resume her testimony today.