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Troubled Lives

By Lori Culbert
Vancouver Sun

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Andrea Joesbury was a petite woman, who only spoke about her work on the street in hushed tones. Georgina Papin, by comparison, was gregarious and outspoken.

Sereena Abotsway often bore the marks of vicious assaults, Mona Wilson was forced to turn tricks to support a needy boyfriend, and Brenda Wolfe was the occasional user of the WISH drop-in centre for sex-trade workers.

Elaine Allan, who used to work at WISH, knew five of the six women whom Robert (Willie) Pickton is accused of murdering.

Today, she became the first witness to tell the jury what the women were like - she described their personalities and some of the challenges they faced while working on the streets.

It was the first time in the trial, which began Jan. 22, that the focus has shifted to the women; until now, the testimony has largely focused on what evidence was found by police and how that evidence supports either the Crown's or defence's position of who the killer might be.

Earlier today, Crown attorney John Ahern read a 24-page statement to the jurors - an agreement reached by prosecutors and defence attorneys about the last few months of activity by the six women before they went missing.

The poignant list contained very personal information about the victims, including the sixth woman, Marnie Frey, whom Allan never met.

Allan worked at WISH, located in the basement of a church in the Downtown Eastside, from April 1998 until April 2001.
One after another, Ahern asked Allan to identify the photos of the six women from a poster board in the courtroom.

She did so, but the task seemed to be emotionally draining for Allan.
The trial is now in recess until Tuesday.

(Friday's editions of The Vancouver Sun will outline the exact details of when the murdered women were last seen and what they were doing in the days before they died.) Andrea Joesbury was a petite woman, who only spoke about her work on the street in hushed tones. Georgina Papin, by comparison, was gregarious and outspoken.

Sereena Abotsway often bore the marks of vicious assaults, Mona Wilson was forced to turn tricks to support a needy boyfriend, and Brenda Wolfe was the occasional user of the WISH drop-in centre for sex-trade workers.

Elaine Allan, who used to work at WISH, knew five of the six women whom Robert (Willie) Pickton is accused of murdering.

Today, she became the first witness to tell the jury what the women were like - she described their personalities and some of the challenges they faced while working on the streets.

It was the first time in the trial, which began Jan. 22, that the focus has shifted to the women; until now, the testimony has largely focused on what evidence was found by police and how that evidence supports either the Crown's or defence's position of who the killer might be.

Earlier today, Crown attorney John Ahern read a 24-page statement to the jurors - an agreement reached by prosecutors and defence attorneys about the last few months of activity by the six women before they went missing.

The poignant list contained very personal information about the victims, including the sixth woman, Marnie Frey, whom Allan never met.

Allan worked at WISH, located in the basement of a church in the Downtown Eastside, from April 1998 until April 2001.
One after another, Ahern asked Allan to identify the photos of the six women from a poster board in the courtroom.

She did so, but the task seemed to be emotionally draining for Allan.
The trial is now in recess until Tuesday.

(Friday's editions of The Vancouver Sun will outline the exact details of when the murdered women were last seen and what they were doing in the days before they died.)

 Vancouver Sun 2007

Pickton trial learns about victims' lives

Judge orders two trials for Pickton to avoid mistrial

 

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

Updated: August 21, 2016