Newspaper article The Canadian Press

RCMP in B.C. Apologize for Not Catching Serial Killer Pickton Sooner: RCMP Sorry for Not Catching Pickton Sooner

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

RCMP in B.C. Apologize for Not Catching Serial Killer Pickton Sooner: RCMP Sorry for Not Catching Pickton Sooner

Article excerpt

VANCOUVER - RCMP in British Columbia have issued an apology while admitting the department could have done more to stop Robert Pickton's murderous spree in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

It comes decades after women -- many of them drug addicted sex-trade workers -- began disappearing from the impoverished neighbourhood.

Assistant Commissioner Craig Callens told a news conference Friday he wanted to tell victims' families "how very sorry we are for their loss."

"I apologize the RCMP did not do more," said Callens, who became the top RCMP officer in charge of B.C. last month.

"I would like to be very clear this morning. As the commanding officer of the RCMP in British Columbia, I believe that, in part, with the benefit of hindsight, and when measured against today's current investigative standards and practices, the RCMP could have done more."

The frank admission is appreciated by Ernie Crey, the brother of Dawn Crey, one of the women on the missing and murdered list.

"I'm glad they manned up to it. They've owned up to it."

But it's the statement that Mounties regret not being able to lay charges sooner against Pickton that resonated with Crey.

"If they had done more, my sister -- in spite of her mental illness and her addiction to street drugs and living a life on the fringe-- she may have been alive today and that would go for some of the other women as well."

Dawn Crey's DNA was found on the Pickton pig farm, but he was never charged with her death. He was accused of 26 murders and was finally convicted of killing six women.

The apology comes just over two weeks after the first RCMP witness testified at the public inquiry into how the RCMP and the Vancouver Police Department handled the missing women investigation.

During the hearings, Cameron Ward, a lawyer for several family members, asked RCMP Supt. Bob Williams if Mounties were prepared to apologize for the way they handled the case.

He replied that it would be up to the deputy commissioner in B.C. to make such a statement.

Williams was asked to write an internal review of the investigation in 2002 in advance of a civil lawsuit and concluded no major mistakes were made.

Callens said it was that testimony that brought the issue to his attention. …

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