The Province from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on October 3, 2002 · 6
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The Province from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada · 6

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Issue Date:
Thursday, October 3, 2002
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AS TrfrfptfOVINCrT-" Thursday, October 372002" ase is now the larges investigation in Can diai Pig farmer unmoved but alert as he is accused of murdering four more women, for a total of 15 Stories by Suzanne Fournier Staff Reporter Robert Pickton was accused yesterday of being the worst serial killer in Canadian history. Four new first-degree murder charges were laid against the 52-year-old Port Coquitlam pig farmer, bringing the total of his alleged victims to 15. Appearing by video in Port Coquitlam provincial court, Pickton was gaunt and balder than when last seen in May, his receding hairline appearing shaved at the top and his dirty blond hair straggling to his shoulders. Pickton appeared unmoved by the latest murder charges but alert, cocking his head to the side as he followed court proceedings. "This case is now the largest serial killer investigation in Canadian history," Const. Cate Galliford, spokeswoman for the joint Vancouver police-RCMP missing women's task force, said at a media briefing yesterday. " -'; "We want to go on record as recognizing the tremendous work that the various police labs are doing in this case and the long hours being put in by specialists in various branches of forensic science," said Galliford. "This case is also employing some of the most advanced, state-of-the-art scientific techniques available." The alleged victims named in yesterday's charges against Pickton are: Tanya Mario Holyk, who was only 20 when she was last seen in October 1996; Heather Gabrielle Chinnock, born Nov. 10, 1970, reported missing last June; Inga Monique Hall, who would be 49 and was reported missing in March 1998; and Sherry Leigh Irving, born March 1973 and last seen in April 1997. i Pickton was previously charged with killing Georgina Papin, Patricia Johnson, Helen Hallmark, Jennifer Furminger, Mona Wilson, Diane Rock, Sereena Abotsway, Andrea Joesbury, Heather Bottomley, Bren-da Wolfe and Jacquilene McDonell. Sherry Leigh Irving was a smart, attractive girl of Stl'atrimx aboriginal ancestry who excelled in track-and-field. Yesterday, she became the 15th alleged murder victim of Robert William Pickton. Irving, born March 19, 1973, to a Canadian army officer and a native woman, was reported missing to the Stl'atrimx tribal police in March, 1998. Sherry was sandwiched in age between her brothers, Chris, 25, and Will, 30, who still live with their families in the Stl'atrimx territory near Mount Currie. Will Irving said yesterday he "was expecting the worst, but it's still a shock." Irving said he still misses his sister, who "was fun and loved rock music," but hadn't seen her since 1996, long after Sherry had gravitated at 19 to the drug-infested streets of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and New Westminster, where she was twice convicted of prostitution. Two months ago, police took DNA from Sherry's relatives, said Will. Sherry and her brothers grew up all over Canada, said Sherry's father, Wayne Irving, a retired army officer, but Sherry was "good at just about everything, school and sports." Sherry's mother died in 1994. Tanya Mario Holyk was only 20 when she disappeared in 1996, the earliest alleged murder victim of Pickton. Four new victims Robert William Pickton was charged yesterday with the murders of four more of the 63 women missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Those women are: ft',, ' $A j, : ml - jfraJ LCJ 1 lj 1 : Heather Gabrielle Chinnock: Born Nov. 10, 1970. She was last seen in April 2001 and reported missing the following June. Inga Monique Hall: Born Jan. 2b, 1952. She was last seen in February 1998 and reported missing In March 1998. Tanya Mario Holyk: Born on Dec. 8, 1975. She was last seen in October 1996 and reported missing in November 1997, . Sherry Leigh Irving: Born March 19, 1973. She was last seen in April 1997 and reported missing the following March. Both Holyk and Irving were of aboriginal ancestry, as are a disproportionate number of the 63 missing women and seven of Pick-ton's alleged 15 victims, leaving aboriginal leaders sad and angered yesterday. Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, which represents the Stl'atrimx, said: "Our hearts and prayers go out to all the victims' families, regardless of whether they're aboriginal, but the disproportionate number of aboriginal women among the victims must form one of the focuses of what needs to be a thoroughgoing inquiry. "It reflects a dismissive and discriminatory attitude on the part of police agencies who didn't look as hard for these marginalized women as they would have if 63 women had disappeared from British Properties over time." Ernie Crey, a Sto:lo leader whose sister Dawn disappeared in 2000, said: "Theie women were forced to live in desperate and dangerous circumstances and they disappeared, yet for years police dismissed the notion of a serial killer at work. With 15 murder charges laid, almost half of them aboriginal women, I would hope police feel regret." Musician Gary Bigg, fiance of alleged murder victim Heather Chinnock, said yesterday he "was hurting pretty bad, like all the families must feel today." Bigg described Chinnock, whose teenaged son lives with relatives, as kind and honest. Chinnock visited the Pickton farm to party "and meet her needs" many times over the last decade, treating the place as a refuge from her difficult days in the Surrey sex trade, Bigg said. "Sometimes she'd come back from there and say it gave her nightmares, but she always went back." Inga Monique Hall, born Jan. 25, 1952, among the four new alleged murder victims, was last seen in February 1998 and reported missing a month later. Who'll pay for Pickton's lawyers? Both Crown counsel Michael Petrie and Robert Pickton's lawyer, Peter Ritchie, say they are anxious to proceed with Pickton's preliminary hearing, slated for Nov. 4. Ritchie said he is "optimistic" the B.C. government will pay for Pickton's defence but if it does not, he will apply for a stay of proceedings in B.C. Supreme Court because Pickton cannot pay and he needs a team of at least six lawyers. Ritchie revealed yesterday that Pick-ton, who owns millions of dollars in land with his two siblings, has no cash flow to pay the legal team of six lawyers that he needs as the murder charges mount. Because he's a millionaire, Pickton isn't eligible for legal aid and his assets are all tied up, said Ritchie. "This case has become exceedingly complex and complicated," Ritchie told the judge. For example, Ritchie said he recently learned that police had wiretaps in the case, although he did not disclose who the wiretaps targeted. "This will be a jury trial," Ritchie told reporters. "This is the sort of case that goes to a jury trial." Use of police wiretaps revealed As the eight-month-long investigation involving 91 officers and costing $20 million a year grinds on, yet another dimension of the complex case against Robert Pickton was revealed yesterday. Pickton's lawyer, Peter Ritchie, noted that in addition to "tens of thousands of pages of disclosure in the case already," he learned recently that police apparently used wide-ranging wiretaps. Although neither Ritchie nor Crown counsel Michael Petrie revealed any details about the wiretaps, The Province has learned that at least five of Pickton's friends and associates have been notified recently, as required by law, that their phones may have been tapped over the last several months. Petrie said wiretap subjects are notified only after police surveillance of their con-: versations has been completed. A friend of Pickton's who did not want to be identified told The Province he is angry that his phone was bugged. "I told police when they came here and I still say today that Willie Pickton was too simple and goodhearted to be capable of murdering the women he's accused of killing," he said. "Cops can snoop all they want, that's all I said."

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