VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Officer traumatized by Robert Pickton wrote book and TV script inquiry hears
BY NEAL HALL, VANCOUVER SUN FEBRUARY 01, 2012
VANCOUVER - An officer who testified she was traumatized by a serial killer investigation admitted today she wrote a book on the case and wrote a script for a local TV show.
Vancouver police Det-Const. Lori Shenher testified she was "utterly burned out and disillusioned" after working on the missing women case and having serial killer Robert Pickton in her sights for years.
Cross examined by Cameron Ward, the lawyer representing 25 families of murdered women, Shenher admitted she was "fried" after Pickton was arrested in 2002 and wanted to get as far away from the case as possible.
She agreed that she later wrote a book about the Pickton case, which was never published.
Shenher said she wrote the book while she was on maternity leave.
"I was terrified that I was going to be made the scapegoat," she recalled.
"I didn't feel that was fair or right," she added. "I wanted to write my story and get it down in its entirety."
She also agreed she wrote a script for the TV show DaVinci's Inquest and was the show's technical advisor between 2001 and 2003.
The show often focused on the missing women investigation.
"I was not very involved in the missing women scripts," Shenher recalled.
"I reviewed them for accuracy on police procedure and dialogue."
She admitted that she was upset that police failed to catch Pickton sooner and felt the RCMP blamed the Vancouver police for not doing more.
But the Mounties also had Pickton under investigation for years, Shenher said.
Ward pointed out the RCMP were well aware that Pickton and his brother Dave, who was co-owner of the farm property in Port Coquitlam and ran a party spot called Piggy's Palace, were involved in illegal activity and were associates of the Hells Angels motorcycle club.
"Yes, I was aware of that," Shenher said.
"Can you explain, for the satisfaction of my clients, why the police didn't do anything about these people?" Ward asked.
Shenher said she didn't know the answer to that.
She earlier testified the RCMP's Pickton investigation suffered from "inertia" because it never seemed to move forward.
Coquitlam RCMP had initially investigated Pickton for a 1997 knife attack on a Vancouver prostitute at Pickton's farm.
Shenher tracked down the woman and interviewed her on Aug. 21, 1998.
Shenher found the woman's story about the Pickton attack very credible and never understood why the Crown dropped charges in 1998 stemming from the attack - Pickton had been charged with attempted murder and unlawful confinement.
Shener recalled the woman said she never got a chance to testify because the Crown felt she wasn't credible because she was a drug addict.
Shenher recalled telling the woman: "I think you're the only one who got away."
The woman agreed, suggesting Pickton "must have done this before," Shenher said.
She said she also told the woman, based on the informant infomation, that Pickton tried to get others to lure the women to the farm so he could "finish her off."
Shenher testified she spoke to the late VPD Sgt. Larry Butler, who was a member of the outlaw motorcycle gang squad, about the Picktons because he had been a childhood friend of Pickton.
"He [Pickton] was allowed to get away with the attempted murder," Ward suggested, "and was permitted to bring 49 women to his farm and kill them."
"He wasn't stopped," Shenher agreed, acknowleding Pickton may have killed 22 of the women after May 13, 1999, when Vancouver police held a brainstorming session among women going missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
""Did you have a sense that he wasn't stopped because there were other law enforcement consideratiions that were more important and he wasn't stopped because of that?" Ward asked.
"I had no sense of that," Shenher replied during her third day of testimony.
RCMP Cpl. Mike Connor, who investigated Pickton for years, is expected to testify next.
Inquiry Commissioner Wally Oppal warned Ward that he was almost out of time for his cross-examination of the witness.
"I'm just asking you to get to the point," Oppal said.
The commissioner has tried to impose time limits on the cross-examination of witnesses because of the inquiry's looming deadline - the end of June to finish its report to the attorney general.
The inquiry began hearings on Oct. 11 and is expected to continue hearing evidence until the end of April.
The inquiry is probing why police, who became aware of Pickton as a suspect in 1998, failed to catch him sooner.
Pickton was arrested on Feb. 5, 2002, and was eventually charged with 27 counts of first-degree murder, which were divided into two trials.
He was convicted at his first trial in 2007 of six murders.
After Pickton lost all appeals, the Crown decided not to proceed on the remaining counts at a second trial, which upset the families of the victims.
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Updated: August 21, 2016