British Columbia

Man who killed Maple Ridge gas station worker Grant De Patie has died, victim's mother says

Grant De Patie’s mother, Corinne De Patie, has confirmed she received a death certificate for Darnell Pratt in the mail. Pratt was convicted of manslaughter for running over her son and dragging his body under a car for kilometres after stealing $12 worth of gas in 2005.

'Our whole story is a book and now the last chapter has been read'

Gas station attendant Grant De Patie was killed in March 2005 while trying to stop a fleeing motorist from stealing $12 worth of gas from a service station in Maple Ridge, B.C. (Family photo)

The mother of Grant De Patie, a Maple Ridge gas station attendant killed on the job, says her son's killer has died.

Grant De Patie's mother, Corinne De Patie, has confirmed she received a death certificate for Darnell Pratt in the mail Wednesday.

"A little bit of shock but yet confirmation," Corinne De Patie said, describing what it was like to read the official document for the first time.

"It is a bit numbing. I went to my room and just laid on my bed and just pondered all of this," De Patie said.

"This is real. This has happened."

Corinne De Patie said she received this copy of Darnell Pratt's death certificate in the mail. (Corinne De Patie)

Pratt was convicted of manslaughter for running over her son and killing him.

De Patie tried to stop Pratt from driving off after stealing $12 worth of gas in 2005. He was struck by Pratt's car and dragged under the vehicle for several kilometres.

Grant De Patie was 24 when he was killed.

Darnell Pratt, in a court sketch dating back to his 2005 conviction of manslaughter in the killing of Grant De Patie. (Archive)

Looking for answers

Corinne De Patie had heard rumours that Pratt may have died but wanted to find out for sure.

She called around to several government agencies until she was eventually directed to try the B.C. Vital Statistics Agency.

When she contacted the agency, she was told if Pratt was alive, she would receive a letter. If he was dead, she would receive a death certificate.

It is not clear how Pratt died.

Death led to change

Grant De Patie's death led to changes in B.C. law to protect late-night workers called "Grant's Law." All urban gas stations were required to have a pre-payment system in place to prevent gas-and-dash crimes.

Late-shift workers had to either be physically separated from the public with a locked door or work in pairs. Some of those changes, however, were rolled back.

Pratt, who was 16 at the time of the killing, was sentenced to nine years in prison for his crime. He was released in 2012 after earlier parole attempts failed.

Pratt, as late as 2015, ran afoul of the law several other times, angering the De Patie family.

Corinne De Patie said the news of Pratt's death is not "a happy time."

Corinne De Patie (left) and Doug De Patie had expressed disappointment in what they saw as leniency shown to their son's killer by the justice system. (Corinne De Patie)

"A death is a death… And I'm sure his family are grieving now his loss," she said.

"Our whole story is a book, and now the last chapter has been read in that book and we can close it. The end."

CBC News reached out to the B.C. Coroner's Service for additional information but has not immediately received a response.

With files from Zahra Premji and Dan Burritt

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