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Robert Pickton assault: victim’s family responds

Cynthia Cardinal said she was “overwhelmed” with happiness when she received a text message on Monday with the news that serial killer Robert Pickton, who murdered her sister Georgina Papin, was in life-threatening condition after being attacked. in prison.

She called it “karma.”

The text came from a cousin of Tanya Holyk, another missing woman whose DNA was found at the Pickton pig farm in Port Coquitlam, BC.

“I don’t think anyone that evil should be walking the Earth, as far as I’m concerned,” Cardinal said Tuesday. “I have tears of happiness. “Tears of great happiness.”

The Correctional Service of Canada confirmed Tuesday that the British Columbia serial killer was the inmate injured in a “serious assault” Sunday at a Quebec prison.

Quebec provincial police said Pickton, 74, was taken to hospital with injuries that were considered life-threatening.

Police spokesman Hugues Beaulieu added that a 51-year-old suspect was in custody.

Federal Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said he was informed Sunday night and his thoughts immediately went to the families of Pickton’s victims in British Columbia, as well as Quebec penitentiary officials.

LeBlanc called Pickton “one of the most dangerous criminals in the country” but said he could not provide further details about the incident or Pickton’s condition due to privacy laws. The minister did not name Pickton but responded when asked about him.

“When we think about the inmate who was assaulted, when we say his name, we think about the victims, the families,” LeBlanc said in French, adding that the Correctional Service of Canada has a process to review such circumstances.

“One of the main concerns I have obviously is the safety of these institutions and the safety of the men and women who work in these prisons,” he said in English.

Pickton was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2007, with a maximum parole ineligibility period of 25 years, after being accused of murdering 26 women.

The remains or DNA of 33 women, many taken from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, were found on Pickton’s farm, and he once boasted to an undercover police officer that he had killed a total of 49.

Pickton’s confirmed victims were Papin, Sereena Abotsway, Mona Wilson, Andrea Joesbury, Brenda Ann Wolfe and Marnie Frey.

Another sister of Papin, Tammy Lynn Papin, said she had been in contact with the families of other victims about the attack on Pickton. “When I heard the news, I jumped up and down,” she said.

Cardinal said he had contacted the Correctional Service of Canada for information about Pickton’s condition, but had not received a response.

LeBlanc said the Correctional Service of Canada has “long refused” to reveal details such as where certain inmates serve their sentences “precisely to ensure the safety of the institution and the staff who work there.”

The prison service announced for the first time on Monday that an inmate had been sent to hospital after a serious assault at the Port-Cartier maximum security institution, about 300 miles northeast of Quebec City.

He said Tuesday that the assault did not involve any of his staff.

Cardinal, 63, said he felt authorities suppressed information about Pickton, noting that he learned about the attack not from officials but from Lorelei Williams, Holyk’s cousin.

He remembered his sister as “full of life” and a great mother to her seven children, the youngest of whom was just one year old when Georgina Papin disappeared.

“She was very talented. She also had a fiery temper because as sisters we argued, you know how things are, but she was very tough,” Cardinal said.

He said the last two decades had been tough on Papin’s family, and that every time Pickton’s name came up, “it kind of takes you back to that time.”

The latest news, however, brought with it “a great feeling.”

“I think karma, and he deserved it a long time ago,” she said.

At the time of Pickton’s sentencing, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice James Williams said it was a “rare case that adequately justifies the maximum period of parole ineligibility available to the court.”

Police began searching the Pickton farm more than 22 years ago in what would become a years-long investigation into the disappearances of dozens of women.

Vancouver police were criticized for not taking the cases seriously because many of those missing were sex workers or drug users.

Pickton was paroled in February, sparking outrage from advocates, politicians and victims’ families who criticized Canada’s justice system, saying he should never be released from prison.

Four years ago, the RCMP requested to dispose of evidence found at a Ruskin, B.C., property linked to Pickton and held in RCMP warehouses.

The items include clothing, shoes and hair pins, including one with hair still in it, as well as more grim evidence, such as a sex toy and a rusty bolt-action rifle.

The RCMP application argued the items took up substantial space and their storage continues to incur costs. He said the evidence in question will not affect future prosecution.

In an email Tuesday, RCMP Sgt. Kris Clark confirmed that the application remains before the courts and that the process is ongoing.

A group of families, lawyers and advocates sent a letter to the Federal Ministry of Public Security in December asking for the removal plan to be stopped.


— By Morgan Lowrie in Montreal and Nono Shen and Chuck Chiang in Vancouver


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2024.