VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Officer tells of the woman who fought Pickton, and lived
BY SUZANNE FOURNIER, THE PROVINCE APRIL 6, 2012
Vancouver police Det. Const. Lori Shenher is one of the few police officers to take seriously "the only one who got away" - a woman who survived a vicious attack by serial-killer Robert Pickton.
That woman, a former sex worker who slashed Pickton's throat ear to ear in 1997 and almost died herself, will take the stand Tuesday at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.
Shenher told the inquiry this week, that when she spoke to the woman a decade ago, both of them were painfully aware that because the victim never got her day in court, a dozen more women would die at Pickton's hands.
Police had Pickton in hospital on that 1997 night with the key in his pocket to the handcuffs he had slapped on the woman, his kitchen knife covered in blood from both of them and his bloody clothes, boots and bandages.
They had a victim, alive after dying twice on the operating table.
Shenher would go on to describe her as "feisty," completely convincing and believable. Yet prosecutors stayed attempted-murder charges against Pickton in 1998.
"You said you were pissed, you couldn't understand why that p---k [Pickton] wasn't in jail," Shenher wrote in an unpublished 289-page manuscript about her meeting with the woman, known as "Ms. Ander-son" in order to protect her.
"You said the Crown said you weren't credible," Shenher wrote.
Shenher told the inquiry that she responded that usually a judge and jury decide whether a witness is credible, but Ms. Anderson never got that chance.
"I was reminded again of all the ways that poor, drug-addicted women are dismissed."
Asked whether she still believes that today, Shenher said she does, that the women who went missing are still dismissed "by police, by society, by government, by everybody."
Shenher interviewed the victim, who didn't testify at Pickton's trial for the murder of six women, in a detention centre in 2002, when the woman was clean and sober.
It would be revealed at the Port Coquitlam pig farmer's trial that he put a price on the woman's head, promising big money for anyone who could help him "finish her off."
Pickton talked openly about killing Anderson to many "friends," some of whom finally went to police.
It's one of the many bitter moments in the long story of the missing-women case, which Shenher joined as lead investigator for the Vancouver police in 1998.
Shenher wrote her manuscript in 2002 and 2003 after Pickton had been arrested and it was clear the case would become Canada's largest serial-killer investigation.
She testified that she still agreed with what she wrote back then, of the Vancouver Police Department's handling of the missing women and Pickton investigation: "There was no real plan to find these women." There were no resources, no support, "even when the number of missing grew almost by the month," she wrote.
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Updated: August 21, 2016