Tuesday, August 27

B.C. escort deaths prompt criticism of police - British Columbia - CBC News

B.C. escort deaths prompt criticism of police - British Columbia - CBC News:

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Police investigate suspicious deaths of two online female escorts in New Westminster

Police said the two victims were located in their own apartments within the same complex


Police search for clues on August 26, 2013 at a New Westminster building where two online escorts have died under suspicious circumstances within weeks of each other.

Photograph by: Mark van Manen, PNG

METRO VANCOUVER -- The suspicious deaths of two online escorts in the same building complex within weeks of each other has triggered a joint investigation by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team and New Westminster Police.

It has also triggered an extraordinary warning from the RCMP for escorts to be vigilant given the similarity of the two deaths.

“Investigators know both women were engaged in a high-risk lifestyle and were working as online escorts,” RCMP spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Pound said in a statement. “IHIT’s priority is to reach out to all escorts and remind them of the risks involved and to take extra precaution as it is unclear at this point why, or even if, they are in fact being targeted.

“There’s a number of outreach programs for sure that people can reach out to and get assistance from.”


VIEW MORE PHOTOS FROM THE SCENE HERE, or if you're using a mobile app, tap the story image and swipe.


Pound said the first death occurred August 12 just before 10 p.m. at an apartment complex in the 200 block of 11th Street. Police found Jill Lyons, 45, dead in her own apartment. There was no obvious cause of death and an autopsy was inconclusive. As a result, police are awaiting results of toxicology tests.

On August 25, police were again called to the building where they found the body of 48-year-old Karen Nabors. Pound said they retrieved evidence that suggests Nabors died of foul play. Nabors was also found in her own apartment, and the two women knew each other.

“As a result of the similar nature and geography of the two deaths IHIT has taken conduct of both investigations,” Pound said.

Police have attended incidents at apartment building before. In 2003 a New Westminster Police officer was shot and several others got into a gunfight with a suspect. The next year a resident of the building was stabbed to death.

Anyone with information can call the IHIT tip line at 1-877-551-IHIT or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

With a file from Mike Hager


© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Saturday, August 24

Mountie who alleges abuse by RCMP says force seeking to dismiss her


VANCOUVER - A Mountie whose sexual harassment complaints against the RCMP prompted dozens of similar allegations and heralded legislation to modernize discipline for "bad apples" within the force says her employer is moving to dismiss her.

Cpl. Catherine Galliford said she received a letter saying the RCMP is seeking to discharge her because she's unable to do her job.

Galliford has been on sick leave since 2006 and filed a civil suit against the RCMP two years ago alleging sexual harassment and bullying spanning nearly two decades.

The Mountie who was a spokeswoman for investigations such as the Robert Pickton and the Air India bombings cases said the dismissal process will involve a medical board hearing.

"About two years ago they wanted me to take an early medical pension, and I said No. I asked for a medical board instead," she said.

"A medical board takes longer and I have a lawsuit ongoing and I need to have my income going to pay my lawyer. And I would be able to have my voice, be able to tell my story. I don't know if I'm invited to the board, but I would like to be."

Galliford said the medical pension she was initially offered seemed to be another way for the RCMP to do away with dealing with the conflict.

"My notice of intent to discharge, which I received last week, is telling me that they are going to appoint two or three doctors of their own choosing."

Galliford, who said she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, added that one of her own doctors will also be on the board.

However, she said she does not know when the process will start.

Galliford said that while she was initially angry about getting the letter about the dismissal process, she has accepted she won't be returning to her job as a Mountie.

"The funny thing is my doctor has already told me I can never go back to the RCMP. And I know that myself so I'm kind of happy that I'm moving ahead on this. But they haven't given me a guidebook as to how this is going to turn out."

Galliford said other officers who have complained about being harassed at work have also received intent-to-discharge letters.

The RCMP was not immediately available for comment. But the federal government, which represents the force, filed a statement of defence a year ago denying Galliford's allegations, which have not been tested in court.

The statement of claim also said that if Galliford had concerns about conflict, harassment or intimidation in the workplace or by other members, she was obliged to make a complaint.

However, Galliford has said there's no union within the force and that her only option was to retain a lawyer and file a lawsuit but that she never intended to become a "poster child" for harassment within the RCMP.

In addition to the RCMP, Galliford's lawsuit named three officers and a doctor employed by the force, along with a Vancouver officer who was part of the joint RCMP-Vancouver missing women investigation.

She first outlined her allegations in media interviews two years ago, prompting several other female Mounties to come forward with their own allegations of abuse against the national police force.

An open letter by RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson in March 2012 expressed frustration about the antiquated discipline procedures in the RCMP Act.

Paulson said his ability to disciple "bad apples" within the force is hindered by a system that was set up 25 years ago.

Then-public safety minister Vic Toews said new legislation would change discipline procedures involving wayward Mounties.

Bill C-42 is awaiting royal assent to become law.

Daughter of Campbell River woman killed by Robert Pickton launches lawsuit LOUISE DICKSON

AUGUST 20, 2013082122013-marniefrey.jpg

Marnie Frey disappeared in August 1997.  Photograph by: HANDOUT

The daughter of a Campbell River woman murdered by Robert Pickton has launched a civil lawsuit against the serial killer, his brother, the Crown, the RCMP and the Vancouver police.

Brittney Frey, 21, filed a notice of civil claim Friday over the death of her mother, Marnie Frey, who disappeared in August 1997.

Statements of claim were also filed Friday by Brenda Wolfe’s daughter, Angel Wolfe, and Georgina Papin’s daughter, Kristina Bateman.

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of killing Wolfe, Frey and Papin, along with Mona Wilson, Sereena Abotsway and Andrea Joesbury.

The lawsuits target the City of Vancouver on behalf of its police department; the B.C. government on behalf of the RCMP and the criminal justice branch; Pickton; Pickton’s brother David; and several individual police officers.

None of the agencies or people named in the lawsuits have filed statements of defence. The B.C. government has filed a narrowly focused application that seeks to have allegations against the Crown thrown out on the grounds that prosecutors are protected from such lawsuits, but the province has not responded to any of the other allegations.

Marnie Frey’s DNA was found on the Pickton property after his arrest in 2002. Her daughter’s lawsuit is the ninth one launched by the families in the wake of former attorney general Wally Oppal’s report on B.C.’s missing women inquiry.

Oppal concluded that “blatant” police failures triggered by systemic bias against the poor, vulnerable women of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside allowed serial killer Robert Pickton to evade arrest for years.

Brittney Frey’s notice of claim — which contains allegations not proven in court — says Vancouver police and the RCMP failed to investigate reports of missing women and failed to warn women in the Downtown Eastside that a serial killer was at work.

“The failure to warn and provision of false assurances by VPD and the RCMP was a contributing cause of Marnie’s death,” Frey’s claim alleges.

“The VPD and RCMP owed and breached a duty of care to Marnie as a member of the public and as an individual within a group at heightened risk from a serial killer.”

Frey alleges Vancouver police and the RCMP failed to properly investigate her mother’s disappearance. Marnie talked to her parents for the last time on Aug. 30, 1997, her 24th birthday. They told her a package containing gifts, baking, clothing and a hand-drawn picture from Brittney had been sent by bus. The gifts were never picked up and Marnie was never heard from or seen again.

When Marnie’s stepmother tried to report her missing, she was told to call back in a few days. Lynn Frey called police again in October and November, but a missing persons file was not opened until December, the claim says.

Frey also alleges the Crown failed to protect the public from Pickton and to prosecute the serial killer after a near fatal attack on a sex-trade worker in March 1997.

The claim alleges police investigations were negligent and did not have enough resources to properly look into Pickton.

Frey also alleges David Pickton knew his brother was bringing sex-trade workers to the farm, torturing them and killing them. David Pickton lied to police about the March 1997 attack on a sex-trade worker, the claim says.

Frey claims the Crown, RCMP and VPD caused her aggravated psychological suffering and grief by failing to tell her about her mother’s death in a timely or appropriate manner. She says she suffered loss of affection and emotional support, loss of financial support and loss of guidance.

The claim describes Marnie Frey as “an ongoing and compassionate woman who loved animals” and “a loving mother.” She became a heroin addict in high school, the claim says. She lived in Vancouver and returned to Campbell River about once a month to visit Brittney. She called daily.

Frey could not be reached for comment.


With a file from The Canadian Press

© Copyright 2013

Tuesday, August 20

Another three victims' families sue Pickton, police, bringing total to nine


Kristina Bateman Papin, left, daughter of Georgina Papin, receives a hug during a memorial in downtown Vancouver, Sept. 21, 2010. Bateman and children of two other victims have launched lawsuits targeting the police and Robert Pickton, marking the first such lawsuits filed by people Pickton was convicted of killing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

VANCOUVER - The children of another three women have launched lawsuits targeting the police and Robert Pickton, marking the first such lawsuits filed by people Pickton was convicted of killing.

The latest round of claims bring the total number of lawsuits filed since May to nine, though until now the lawsuits have involved women whose remains or DNA were found on the farm, but for whom Pickton was never put on trial.

Statements of claim were filed this week by Brenda Wolfe's daughter, Angel Wolfe; Marnie Frey's daughter, Brittney Frey; and Georgina Papin's daughter, Kristina Bateman.

The three latest lawsuits allege the Vancouver police and the RCMP failed to properly investigate the women's disappearances and failed to warm sex workers in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside that a serial killer was likely at work.

The lawsuits also target the Crown over prosecutors' decision in 1998 not to put Pickton on trial for attempted murder after he attacked a sex worker the previous year.

Pickton is named as a defendant, and the lawyer representing all the families in all nine lawsuits has said he wants to compel Pickton to testify.

Friday, August 2

Children of missing woman file sixth lawsuit against Pickton, police


Jacqueline Murdock, above, is one of six women whose DNA was found on Robert Pickton’s farm property.

VANCOUVER — The children of yet another woman whose DNA was found on Robert Pickton's farm have launched a civil suit against the serial killer, the Vancouver police and the RCMP, bringing to six the number of families who have launched lawsuits in the wake of a sharply critical public inquiry report released late last year.

Shari and Ryan Murdock filed a notice of civil claim in mid-July over the death of their mother, Jacqueline Murdock, who was reported missing in August 1997 and whose DNA was later found on Pickton's property after his arrest in February 2002.

Murdock was among six women whose DNA was found on the farm but for whom no charges were ever laid.

Like the earlier statements of claim, the Murdock children allege the Vancouver police and the RCMP put their mother at risk by failing to properly investigate reports of missing sex workers or warn the public of a potential serial killer.

The lawsuits echo the findings of a public inquiry report, released last December, which concluded systemic bias within both police forces slowed the response as women vanished from the Downtown Eastside, many ending up dead on Pickton's farm, in the late 1990s and early 2000s

Commissioner Wally Oppal, a former judge and one-time attorney general, concluded the police response would likely have been different if the missing weren't poor, drug-addicted women, many of them aboriginal, from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

The latest statement of claim — which, like the others, contains allegations that haven't been proven in court — alleges police knew a serial killer may have been at work, but did nothing.

"Notwithstanding their knowledge of the risk to sex workers, (Vancouver police) and RCMP failed to warn Jacqueline and others of the risk of a serial killer," says the statement of claim.

"The failure to warn by the VPD and RCMP was a contributing cause of Jacqueline's death."

All six families are being represented by the same lawyer, who has indicated the cases could force Pickton to testify and answer for his crime — something that has yet to happen since his arrest more than a decade ago.

The lawsuits have also provided new details about the women and the children they left behind.

In the statement of claim, Murdock is described as "a positive, friendly and caring person" who hoped to one day overcome her addiction and return to her family.

"She enjoyed writing poetry in her journal," the document says. "Jacqueline is remembered for her fun-loving personality and her loud, contagious laughter."

Shari Murdock recently graduated from a social work program and is looking for work in her field, the statement of claim says. Ryan Murdock is a cook.

The Murdock children join five other families who have launched lawsuits. They include the children of Stephanie Lane, Dianne Rock, Sarah de Vries, Cynthia Feliks and Yvonne Boen.

Pickton was initially charged with 27 counts of murder, later reduced to 26, though he was put on trial and convicted of six. The remaining 20 charges were stayed.

Rock, de Vries and Feliks were among the 20 women whose cases were stayed. Murdock, Lane and Boen were in yet another group of six women whose DNA was found on Pickton's farm, though he was never charged in their deaths.

The remains or DNA of 33 women were found on his property. The lawyer for the families has suggested more lawsuits could be on the way.

The families' lawsuits have all been filed separately and make different allegations depending on the experiences of each woman and family.

Several of the lawsuits also allege prosecutors within British Columbia's criminal justice branch were negligent when they declined to put Pickton on trial for attempted murder following an attack on a sex worker in 1997.

In March 1997, Pickton and a sex worker became entangled in a violent confrontation at his property in Port Coquitlam, B.C., leaving the woman with injuries so severe she died on the operating table before she was revived.

Days before Pickton was set to stand trial, a Crown prosecutor decided not to go ahead. Crown counsel Randi Connor told a public inquiry last year that she believed the sex worker's drug use meant she wasn't in a condition to testify.

The lawsuit relating to Murdock does not mention the case, presumably because she was last seen in 1996 and was reported missing in the fall of 1997, before prosecutors dropped the case against Pickton.

Several of the earlier lawsuits named Pickton's siblings, David and Linda — David for allegedly lying for his brother during the attempted murder investigation in 1997 and both for allowing the killings to happen on a property they owned together with Robert.

The Murdock lawsuit does not name Pickton's siblings, nor does the lawsuit filed by Stephanie Lane's son.

None of the defendants have filed statements of defence.

The B.C. government has filed an application asking that portions of the lawsuits that target prosecutors be removed, arguing that prosecutors are protected from liability unless they acted maliciously.

© Copyright (c)