VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Woman reveals experiences with Robert Pickton
By DEBORAH FELDMAN / KING 5 News
Wednesday, February 5, 2003
VANCOUVER, B.C. - Until two months ago, Kim Kirton was a prostitute and a drug user, who was also tormented by a secret. But it took a long time before she agreed to reveal what she says she experienced in the company of Robert Pickton, who has been charged with murder in the deaths of 15 women since last February.
Kim Kirton is now in a drug recovery program. KING
After six years on the streets, Kim is trying to clean up her life and cleanse her conscience of her meeting with Pickton, whom she says solicited her services twice.
"He seemed like a totally nice guy," she said. "He had lots of dope. Before we even got to his place, before we even left downtown, we probably already smoked a little under a gram of crack."
Kim says Pickton was a well-known "John," in Vancouver’s east side, and that prostitutes liked him since his stash of drugs seemed bottomless.
She claims he cruised the downtown east side regularly, selecting his dates with care.
"He wouldn't just come pick up any girl," she said. "He was kind of picky - I guess you'd say."
She said he tended to prefer women who had been there longer, because they would likely be more lured by drugs.
"It'd be easier for him to get them there with the drugs, whereas girls who have just come down there, drugs aren't a really big issue for them," she said.
Robert Pickton, BCTV Global
Kim said she felt comfortable going with Pickton the first time as there was another woman in the car, and he told them they wouldn't have to do anything but get high.
"You know, that sounds great…free drugs, don't have to do anything, but once we got there, it was just totally different, you know," she said. "It was all the free dope we wanted, right, but eventually he did want to do something."
Kim’s distinct memory from that first date is how messy Pickton's Port Coquitlam house was.
"There was lots of stuff like women's clothes, bags - lots of stuff like that around his place," she said.
Asked if she wondered what they were doing there, she said, "Well, a lot of girls have come and gone there, you know. I just figured that stuff was left behind and just forgotten about."
She left the next morning with $100, which she considered good pay.
When Pickton solicited her a second time, she didn't hesitate.
"The plan was to find two other girls and just go back to his place and just have a big party basically," she said. "We drove around and finally picked up Mona."
Mona Wilson was a prostitute who worked a nearby corner and often went on double dates with Kim.
Pickton's pig farm has been the site of an intense police search.
"She always thought of everybody else before herself, you know; if you were dope-sick and out of money, she'd help you out," said Kim.
The night began in a routine manner, but then quickly changed for the worse.
"We just sat around and got high," she said. "I did my thing - they mostly just smoked crack and drank, because I don’t drink, and he kept going on this trip that we were trying to rob him."
Kim thought Pickton was having a bad drug trip, but then his behavior started to scare her.
"Well his voice just gets really high, like really high-pitched and he talks really, really fast and just like, sketches out."
Kim said Pickton zeroed in on Mona, and said something no amount of drugs has allowed her to forget.
"He said, uh, that he could get rid of us, you know, dispose of us, and he wouldn't get caught and nobody would miss us because of who we were," she said.
Kim claims Pickton then grabbed one of two knives placed on a side table.
When he lunged at Mona, Kim ran out the door. She hid in the nearby bushes, close enough to hear Mona's screams for help, which she described as "really loud, really high-pitched…it was like she was definitely getting hurt.
She said she had never heard anything like it. The screams finally faded away, but not the guilt Kim has since felt.
"I just felt really stupid for not going back and helping her when I knew that something was happening, but I was just really scared for myself at that time," she said.
Kim eventually hitchhiked back to downtown Vancouver
She says she knew she'd broken the golden rule on the streets - never to leave a partner behind, so she quickly got high again and tried to forget what she'd seen and heard.
She told herself Mona couldn't possibly be dead. But she found out what happened last February, when Pickton was arrested and charged with murdering two women. One of them Mona Wilson.
Still, Kim did not come forward.
"I've thought about it, but it's been so long, I'm scared they'll be like: ‘Why didn't you come forward sooner?’" she said.
It wasn't until she went to the Port Coquitlam Courthouse and actually saw Pickton in person that Kim told her mother the story.
It was her mother who contacted KING 5 News.
Asked if she felt she’d be able to forgive herself, Kim said: "I know it’s not my fault that she's gone, but I feel like I could have prevented it some way."
Although she acknowledges she could be dead now had she stayed, Kim said: "Well, I'm glad I'm not, but it’s still just always going to be a thought that I got to leave and my friend didn't."
Kim is now in an extended recovery program. She has been clean for two months and says her newborn baby is now her motivation to stay off the streets.
She hasn’t yet told her story to Canadian prosecutors because she said she wants to focus on her recovery. But she said she fully intends to contact prosecutors when she completes her rehabilitation program in a few months.
Updated: January 01, 2007