It was a painful day in court for the family of Loretta Saunders, as they came face-to-face with the two people accused of killing her.

The preliminary hearing began Monday for the two people charged in her death.

“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, to watch how it tears a family apart and to watch my parents scream and wail for the last six months for their daughter and unborn grandchild,” said Saunders’ brother, Edmund Saunders, outside the courthouse.

Blake Leggette, 26, and his girlfriend Victoria Henneberry, 28, were charged with first-degree murder two weeks after Saunders disappeared from her Halifax apartment in February.

Leggette and Henneberry appeared in Halifax provincial court separated by sheriffs in front of a large public gallery as proceedings got underway.

The Crown will lay out its case against Leggette and Henneberry over the next few days, as it attempts to prove there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.

A publication ban prevents media from reporting much of the evidence heard in court.

“We have a realistic prospect of conviction and we intend on prosecuting these individuals with the evidence that we have and, if at any point the defence has anything they want to bring to us to talk about, we are always open to discuss things with them,” says Crown attorney Christine Driscoll.

Five days have been set aside for the preliminary inquiry. The Crown said Monday it expects to have heard evidence from all 15 witnesses by Thursday, but extra time is available if needed.

Saunders’ father chose not to hear the evidence presented Monday, and remained outside the courtroom.

“I am not planning on going in there today because of what they’ll be saying,” said Clayton Saunders. “It’s very hard and stressful to hear about a daughter being murdered.”

Saunders, 26, was originally from Labrador but was a student at Saint Mary’s University at the time of her death. The Inuk woman had been writing a thesis on murdered and missing aboriginal women.

She was last seen alive at her apartment in Halifax’s Cowie Hill neighbourhood on Feb. 13 and was reported missing Feb. 17.

Her body was found in a hockey bag in a ditch off the Trans-Canada Highway near Salisbury, N.B. on Feb. 26.

Her family says she was three months’ pregnant at the time.

“That’s the proudest time they’ll ever be,” said Edmund Saunders. “You show me grandparents who aren’t proud. They were waiting for this. They were planning for their grandchild to come.”

The inquiry will resume Tuesday, as the Crown calls its second police witness to the stand.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl and The Canadian Press