VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Serial killer Robert Pickton, Hells Angels linked at Missing Women inquiry
SAM COOPER, THE PROVINCE FEBRUARY 9, 2012
A Downtown Eastside lawyer touched a raw nerve Thursday at the Missing Womens Commission of Inquiry by probing connections between Hells Angels, Robert Pickton, and his Port Coquitlam farm, where an HA associate was allegedly “fed to the pigs.”
Just as he was warming up to theories regarding Pickton’s associations with drug dealing bikers, lawyer Jason Gratl was shut down by Commissioner Wally Oppal, who was clearly perturbed.
Gratl was cross-examining RCMP Cpl. Mike Connor, the force’s lead investigator on Pickton.
Connor admitted he received a tip that a Hells Angel associate who worked in a “booze can” residence across the street from Pickton’s property “was chopped up in a meat grinder on the farm and fed to the pigs.”
Connor said police knew Hells Angels went to Pickton’s farm and attended “Piggy’s Palace” the nearby illicit nightclub run by Pickton and his brother Dave.
However, Connor said he did not investigate the credibility of the allegation that a male Hells Angel associate was disposed of on Pickton’s farm.
During Pickton’s trial lab staff testified that about 80 unidentified DNA profiles — roughly half male and half female — have shown up on evidence.
The inquiry has heard unanswered questions from lawyer Cameron Ward, who represents the victims’ families, as to whether police were reluctant to investigate Pickton because of his connections and other ongoing investigations.
On Thursday, Gratl tried to ask Connor if sex workers were reluctant to talk to police about Pickton because they feared Hells Angels and their activities in the Downtown Eastside — including alleged torturing of sex workers and drug dealers.
However Oppal cut in, telling Gratl he did not see the relevance of the Hells Angels questioning, and asked a government lawyer if she would like to rise to object.
The lawyer, who represents the RCMP, said she would object if he spoke about investigations that should not be revealed to the hearing.
Gratl stopped the line of questioning. Outside the hearing he explained that Downtown Eastside residents believe a key systemic issue that hindered the investigation is that sex workers would never open up to police because Hells Angels controlled the neighbourhood.
Meanwhile, the source that helped police target Robert Pickton told The Province Thursday that police “had Pickton in 1997 and just let him go.”
The inquiry had earlier heard that Bill Hiscox told police in Aug. 1998 he had learned from Lisa Yelds, a good friend of Pickton who was a “cop hating . . . biker . . . Nazi,” that sex workers were being killed and chopped up and disposed of on Pickton’s farm and he was keeping “trophies.”
Hiscox said VPD Det.-Const Lori Shenher and RCMP Cpl. Mike Connor, who worked with Hiscox in 1998, did their best but “both of them kind of had their hands tied.”
“I think it had a lot to do with higher-ups,” Hiscox said, “because at that time they just thought this guy was a drug dealer.”
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Updated: August 21, 2016