Cop denies Pickton hatched plot to kill women in Vancouver


VANCOUVER A senior police officer denied Thursday that a serial killer hatched a plot to kill women while he was in Vancouver.

Police can't say for certain when and where serial killer Robert Pickton decided to kill the women he took to his farm in Port Coquitlam, B.C., Vancouver police Deputy Chief Doug LePard said Thursday.

During his seventh day of testimony at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, LePard disputed a lawyer's suggestion that Pickton decided in Vancouver to lure the women to his farm and kill them.

"We don't know when he decided to kill," he told inquiry commissioner Wally Oppal during a cross-examination by Darrell Roberts, the lawyer representing First Nations interests.

LePard pointed out that Pickton killed some of the women he took to his property, but not others.

But Roberts showed the senior officer a decision from the B.C. Court of Appeal, which defined kidnapping as taking a person from one place to another against their will and also by fraud.

He argued that police never investigated the possibility that a serial killer was kidnapping women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and then taking them to Port Coquitlam, where he killed them.

The inquiry is investigating why it took Vancouver police and RCMP until 2002 to catch Pickton when they were receiving detailed tips as far back as 1998.

Pickton, 62, is serving a life sentence for the murders of six women. He was charged initially with killing 20 more but those charges were stayed in 2010.

The serial killer has been linked by DNA to the deaths of 33 women and has boasted to an undercover police officer that he killed at least 16 more.

On Thursday, Roberts read out the statement of a prostitute from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside who was lured in March 1997 to Pickton's farm where he tried to kill her; she managed to slash him with a knife and flee.

The woman's statement said she panicked when Pickton put a handcuff on one of her wrists and then said, "You little b----."

The woman recalled she grabbed anything she could to fight off Pickton while he was trying to get her other wrist handcuffed and she eventually found a kitchen knife. Pickton wrestled it from her hand, then stabbed her a number of times, the Vancouver inquiry heard.

Pickton and the women ended up having surgery in the same hospital. The woman almost died on the operating table but was revived and gave a statement to police.

"That's classic kidnapping, is it not?" Roberts asked.

LePard disagreed, noting Pickton was never charged with kidnapping only unlawful confinement and attempted murder. (The inquiry will later examine why the Crown chose to stay the charges in 1998.)

We don't know what was in Pickton's mind when he took her to the property, he added.

LePard has said repeatedly that Vancouver police should have done a better job investigating the dozens of missing women who disappeared, but said at the time police didn't believe they were dealing with a serial killer.

"They came to that conclusion too late," he said.

LePard said Vancouver police received the first tip about Pickton possibly killing women on his farm in July 1998 and the information was passed along by Vancouver police Const. Lori Shenher to Coquitlam RCMP because the killing took place in the RCMP's jurisdiction.

Roberts pointed out that the first Pickton tip from a source was received on July 27, 1998, but was lost for nine days, something LePard didn't mention in his 2010 report that looked into the failures of the Pickton investigations by the Vancouver police and RCMP.

LePard said the tip was received by Crime Stoppers, which receives a huge volume of material.

"Your report is not reliable because there is stuff missing from it?" the lawyer asked LePard, who disagreed.




Missing Women Tip Line: 1-877-687-3377

Updated: August 21, 2016