Witness shocked Pickton testimony contradicted by Vancouver Police

VANCOUVER – From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The stepmother of a woman killed by Robert Pickton says she is appalled by an attack on her credibility at the Pickton inquiry.

Lynn Frey says she stands by the testimony she gave at the Missing Women Inquiry last month about a phone call she made to police in 1998. She testified that she wanted to let them know about Robert Pickton’s pig farm after going out to the property in Port Coquitlam, B.C., in September, 1998.

Vancouver Deputy Chief Doug LePard, who conducted an internal review of the Vancouver Police Department investigation in the Pickton case, testified Tuesday he did not find any evidence of Ms. Frey calling police with information about the Pickton farm.

He found a reference to Ms. Frey speaking to Vancouver police Constable Lori Shenher about a wood chipper, which was subsequently located in a hotel basement. “But no such information regarding Pickton,” Deputy Chief LePard said.

Constable Shenher at that time was vigorously pursuing leads in the missing women case, he said. “[A call about the Pickton farm] would have been extremely important information and of great interest to her,” he said.

In an interview later, Ms. Frey said she was shocked. “I know what I did. I am not stupid,” she said. “We phoned her and told her what we found out.”

Ms. Frey’s stepdaughter, Marnie, was last seen in September, 1997. While searching for her the following summer, Ms. Frey met someone who had a tape recording of a woman saying that the missing women from the Downtown Eastside would never be found. Ms. Frey told the inquiry that the voice on the tape recording said: “Willie’s got them and he has a pig farm.”

Ms. Frey testified that she drove out to the farm with Joyce Lachance, who knew where Willie, the pig farmer, lived. Ms. Frey recalled trying to climb a fence around the Pickton property and being chased away by dogs.

Ms. Frey said she phoned Constable Shenher the following day to tell her about the farm. Ms. Frey said she was told not to play cop and she should not go to the farm.

Her husband, Rick Frey, said he expected the inquiry will hear evidence later that will bolster Ms. Frey’s testimony.

Ms. Lachance, who has not testified at the inquiry, said in an interview she also recalled the phone call to Constable Shenher on the day after going out to the farm. “For [Deputy Chief LePard] to say that, that really hurts me,” Ms. Lachance said.

“It just tells me, these women meant nothing to them … no one cared,” Ms. Lachance said.

At the inquiry, Deputy Chief LePard also challenged testimony indicating that Vancouver Constable Dave Dickson ignored calls to look for missing prostitute Tiffany Drew after she disappeared. Elaine Allan, who worked at a prostitute’s drop-in centre, testified she was certain her conversations with Constable Dickson were in 1999, not in 2000.

However, Vancouver police spoke to Ms. Drew on Mar. 10, 2000, according to a report that Deputy Chief LePard said he had seen. Ms. Drew went missing in March, 2000, and her DNA was later found on the Pickton farm. Mr. Pickton was charged with first-degree murder of Ms. Drew and 19 others, but the charges were stayed.

Deputy Chief LePard also contradicted testimony of prostitute Susan Davis that police failed to respond to a call after she was raped around January, 1991. He said he did not find any records of a 911 call from Ms. Davis in a review of all 911 calls related to a sexual assault from November, 1990, to the end of February, 1991.

The inquiry was appointed to look into the police investigation in the Pickton case from 1997 to his arrest in February, 2002. Mr. Pickton was convicted of the second-degree murder of Ms. Frey and five others in 2007. The inquiry hearings are expected to continue into next spring.

© Copyright 2011 The Globe and Mail Inc. All Rights Reserved.




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

Updated: August 21, 2016