Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Winnipeg Police Admit They Paid Money to Man Who Eventually Confessed to Murders

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Winnipeg Police Admit They Paid Money to Man Who Eventually Confessed to Murders

Article excerpt

Police paid money in serial killer case

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WINNIPEG - Winnipeg police admit they took the "extraordinary measure" of paying for information from a man who ended up confessing to killing two aboriginal women -- a confession the Crown says wouldn't have held up in court.

Supt. Danny Smyth said police were investigating a sex assault in 2012 and brought Shawn Lamb in for questioning. While he was being processed, Smyth said Lamb told police he knew where a body was.

After that, Smyth said Lamb clammed up.

Lamb, who has a lengthy criminal record, said he would talk to police if they deposited some money into his prison canteen account, Smyth said. Police made three payments -- $1,500 in total -- so Lamb would co-operate with investigators.

"This wouldn't be something we would do routinely," Smyth said Friday. "It's the first time in my knowledge that we've entered into this kind of tactic but we were prepared to take an extraordinary measure in this case."

In three subsequent police interviews, Lamb confessed to killing 25-year-old Carolyn Sinclair and 18-year-old Lorna Blacksmith and was charged with second-degree murder. On Thursday, the 54-year-old pleaded guilty to two lesser charges of manslaughter, after the Crown admitted his police confession likely wouldn't have been admissible in court.

A judge approved a jointly recommended sentence of 20 years in jail. Lamb can apply for parole in nine years.

Court heard Thursday that both women were killed in Lamb's apartment in 2012 after they had smoked crack cocaine. Their bodies were found wrapped in plastic and dumped in back alleys.

Lamb told police he hit Sinclair over the head with a piece of wood, strangled her and left her body in his bathroom for several days before he dumped it near a garbage bin.

He told police he strangled Blacksmith with a TV cord, tried to revive her and then left to buy more drugs. He eventually dumped her body behind an abandoned house where it was found six months later.

Defence lawyer Martin Glazer and the Crown told court Lamb's confession likely wouldn't have been admissible in court and -- without his confession -- police had little forensic evidence for a conviction. …

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