Convicted serial killer Robert Pickton appears to have written a book while in prison, and it is available for purchase on Amazon, angering victims' families and the B.C. government.
A book titled Pickton: In His Own Words is available for $20.17 on Amazon and is printed by Outskirts Press, a Colorado-based publishing company. The book is listed as having a publishing date of Jan. 29.
It is not clear when it was written or how the material was able get to the publisher from Kent Institution, the maximum-security prison near Agassiz, B.C., where Pickton is serving a life sentence.
Pickton, now 66, was convicted of the second degree murders of six women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and was suspected in others, although a further 20 murder charges were stayed.
"My first feelings are for the families, you can just imagine how they're feeling right now," said Kat Norris, an activist in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside community.
"It's like being re-victimized again and they're going to have to go through the whole media process and hearing his name again and being asked questions. It's really unfair to the families that someone who's committed these heinous acts is going to be profiting from what he's done to all of these women."
Sandra Gagnon's sister Janet Henry used to go to Pickton's farm and went missing in 1997.
"It really disgusts me knowing that the worst serial killer in history has the nerve to write that book and reopen wounds," she said.
Ignore the book: Pickton inquiry head
News of the book also upset Wally Oppal who is a former B.C. attorney general and was the commissioner of an inquiry into how police handled the investigation of Pickton.
"I'm thinking here now of the families who have gone through so much, the victims, the survivors of Pickton," he told CBC News. "And it has to be hurtful for all those people who were affiliated in any way with the victims ... to hear that Pickton has access to this type of publicity."
The back cover of the book calls Pickton the 'Fall Guy', and in its 144 rambling pages, interspersed with passages from the Bible, and transcripts of interviews between Pickton and the police, he does proclaim his innocence.
B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris said in a statement that his office is appealing to Amazon to stop selling the book.
"We are taking this very seriously and investigating every means available to ensure that the families involved are protected from further harm and that Robert Pickton will not profit in any way from this book," said the statement.
"It is not right that a person who has caused so much harm and hurt so many people could profit from his behaviour."
Oppal suggests the best thing people can do for the survivors is to ignore the book.
"Some time ago [Pickton] sent me a letter, a somewhat lengthy letter, it was garbled and incomprehensible," he said adding that it was full of grammatical errors, and made little, if any, sense.
"I would think that any other manuscript or book that he's written would be similar. So I don't know why anybody would even take the time to look at it. So I think the best thing for all right-thinking people would be to just ignore it."
Writing from prison
Pickton is not the first convicted killer in Canada to write a book behind bars, with notorious serial killer Paul Bernardo reportedly the author of a fictional work which briefly appeared on Amazon last year. As well, former Saskatchewan minister Colin Thatcher wrote his account of the circumstances that saw him convicted in 1984 for the murder of his ex-wife, JoAnn Wilson.
"There's no law in Canada preventing a prisoner from publishing a book and it's not rare that prisoners get written material out of prison whether it's a manuscript or whether it's in the form of letters, whether it is dictated over a telephone," said criminal lawyer Donna Turko who watched the Pickton case closely.
B.C. does not have a law preventing criminals from profiting from their crimes. According to the advocacy group Victims of Violence, the four provinces that have such legislation are Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Saskatchewan.