British Columbia

Pickton investigators were indifferent, Mountie says

A high-profile Mountie who recently came forward with allegations of sexual harassment says investigators in the Robert Pickton case were more interested in claiming overtime and drinking than doing police work.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details

Officer to testify

11 years ago
Duration 2:14
An RCMP officer says she will testify at the Missing Women Inquiry on behalf of the families, not police, reports the CBC's Belle Puri

A high-profile Mountie who recently came forward with allegations of sexual harassment in the RCMP has now made sensational new claims about the investigation of serial killer Robert Pickton.

Cpl. Catherine Galliford told CBC News earlier this month about abusive treatment inside the national police force, including sexual advances from several senior officers.

Galliford was the RCMP's spokeswoman during the Robert Pickton investigation and is scheduled to speak at the ongoing inquiry into the case, and told CBC News some of what she will reveal at the inquiry.

Galliford says she saw numerous problems inside the investigation, including investigators who were more interested in padding their paycheques and drinking alcohol than catching a serial killer.

"They would break between noon and 2 p.m. PT to just drink and party and go for lunch, but then they would go back to work on Friday and claim double-time," she said Wednesday.

"There was a police indifference and that, I believe, is why it went on for so long [to catch Pickton], and why so many women lost their lives."

Internal disputes

Pickton was eventually arrested in 2002, when a junior officer who wasn't working on the missing women investigation obtained a search warrant related to illegal firearms. The arrest set off a massive search of Pickton's farm, where investigators found the remains or DNA of 33 women.

Pickton was eventually convicted of six counts of second-degree murder, though he has claimed that he killed a total of 49 women.

Galliford joined the Missing Women's Task Force, which was hunting for a serial killer in the Vancouver area, in 2001.

She says she learned after joining the force there was a lot of information pointing to Pickton, but couldn't understand why police weren't trying to obtain a search warrant for his farm, where the remains of women were eventually found.

Galliford says there were internal squabbles and petty jealousies inside the task force, which was comprised of RCMP and Vancouver police officers.

Becoming a target

She says she became a target, and that at one point an officer from the Vancouver Police Department told her — in front of others — that he was writing a story about Pickton in his head.

"He said, 'I have a fantasy about the ending, and it's about Pickton escaping from jail, stripping you naked, stringing you from a meat hook and gutting you like a pig,'" Galliford said. "And they actually started laughing and fist-tapping each other." 

RCMP spokesman Sgt. Peter Thiessen said in an email to CBC News that he would not respond specifically to Galliford's allegations.

"It would be inappropriate for us to comment on anything relating to the ongoing Missing Women Commission of Inquiry," Thiessen said.

Thiessen also said the RCMP had received a statement from Galliford and her allegations are under review.

Galliford is currently on sick leave from the RCMP, saying years of harassment led to post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological problems.

Galliford is scheduled to testify at the inquiry some time in 2012, when she says she will reveal more about the Pickton investigation.