Warning: Adverse reactions – vomiting – have occurred from watching the video and even from reading this post. Please read or watch with caution.
I’m not sure I had ever heard of this case before, but it’s really bizarre! Robert Pickton and his equally bizarre brother owned a pig farm in British Colombia. They had a building built next to it for “charity events” hosted by the “Piggy Palace Good Times Society.” These events were actually wild booze-fueled bacchanals with up to 1,800 partiers and “entertainment” by plenty of prostitutes from Vancouver’s raunchy and drug-ridden Downtown Eastside district.
The Downtown Eastside has one of the West’s most concentrated populations of drug addicts, mostly using crack and heroin, but increasingly also meth. Most of the female addicts there support their habits by prostituting themselves. There are an estimated 5-10,000 drug addicts living there at any given time. Despite a vigorous needle exchange program that hands out 2-4 million of free needles a year, the population has one of the West’s highest HIV rates: 1/3 of the population and 80% of the prostitutes are HIV-positive.
Around 1983, three years before the Olympics, prostitutes started disappearing from the area. They continued to disappear until Pickton’s arrest in 2002. In 2007, Pickton was tried and convicted of six homicides, all Downtown Eastside prostitutes. He was charged with 21 more homicides of more Downtown Eastside prostitutes, but he may never be tried for those deaths.
He is also implicated in another five homicides of young British Colombian women. He claims 49 murders. He really wanted to hit 50, but he says he got careless and got caught. He really regrets not hitting the big 5-0.
Some of the testimony coming out of the case is outrageous:
The star witness in the trial of accused Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton testified on Monday that she walked into the barn at his suburban pig farm to find him covered in blood and a woman’s body hanging from a chain.
“There was blood everywhere,” Lynn Ellingsen told the court.
“He told me if I was to say anything, I would be right beside her.”
Good Lord! Ellingsen, a prostitute and crack addict, lived on Pickton’s property for a month. Earlier on the same night when she saw the horrible sight, she and Pickton had gone to Eastside Downtown to pick up crack and a prostitute. They went back to Pickton’s place and smoked crack.
Ellingsen had fallen asleep when she heard a noise. She went into the barn and saw Pickton, covered in blood, with a woman hanging from the same chains he used to hang up his pigs when he slaughtered them. The woman on the chain was the prostitute they had picked up earlier than night. Pickton was skinning the woman when she walked in.
The arrest was not his first brush with the law. Five years earlier, in 1997, a young woman had barely escaped with her life. A drug-addicted prostitute named Wendy Eistetter was handcuffed and stabbed by Pickton. In a wild melee, she somehow got out of her cuffs, disarmed him and stabbed him before escaping. A motorist found her by the side of the road at 1:30 AM, wearing only a coat, with multiple stab wounds and took her to the hospital. Charges were mysteriously dropped.
While the investigation into the charges was going on, an acquaintance came forward and fingered Pickton as a suspect. His description of Pickton was riveting. Pickton spent most of his time downtown picking up whores. His farm was a bizarre and creepy place, patrolled by vicious dogs who roamed the property with a 700 pound boar. The dogs and the boar would all attack you if you came onto the property. Good God. Then there was Pickton’s trailer. What were all those women’s pursues and ID cards doing in there anyway?
Pickton’s brother, David, was also a strange guy. In 1992, he was arrested on sexual assault charges. He had attacked a woman in his trailer at the pig farm, but she managed to escape. He was given a slap on the wrist. He looks menacing in his photo.
Police found all sorts of horrible things in their investigation. Women’s heads were found in the freezer, sawed in half vertically. Female hands and feet had been stuffed inside the severed heads. The body parts were sharing freezer space with unsold pork.
Female remains were found in a wood chipper. Women had apparently been chopped in the machine and the meat was fed to the pigs on the farm! In 2004, it was revealed that some of the women were ground up and their flesh was mixed with pig meat from the farm. Thankfully, it was not distributed commercially.
A .22 pistol with a dildo on the end was found, apparently a murder a weapon. The dildo was used as a makeshift silencer. Blood-stained clothing was found in the trailer where Pickton lived. A woman’s remains were found in a trash bag at the bottom of a trash can on the property. A woman’s jawbone and teeth were found near the slaughterhouse on the property, where more than pigs were slaughtered. Another jawbone was found in the mud of one of the pigpens.
Night-vision goggles, Spanish fly, fur gloves, .357 ammo, and a syringe with blue windshield wiper fluid inside were also found. Pickton had injected some of the women with windshield washer fluid to kill them. Pickton had told a friend that women were stripped, handcuffed, gagged and taken to a bed where he had sex with them doggy-style. Afterward, he strangled them on bed using a looped wire. Then they were bled and gutted with the main body parts being fed to the pigs and the rest mixed up with pork offal and taken to a rendering plant to be disposed of.
Prostitutes and other guests were invited to the farm. There Pickton cooked for his guests, offered them drugs and hosted wild, never-ending parties. It now appears that some of the food he was cooking for them involved pork mixed with ground up female victims.
He had taken the remains of some of the women, mixed them with pork offal, and taken them in barrels to a rendering plant, where the rendering machines like this one were used to grind up his victims’ remains.
After a huge investigation involving 54 anthropologists and huge earth-moving machines, the DNA of 30 different women (some say the figure is now up to 80), was found at the site. 27 were identified, all prostitutes.
It now appears that Pickton, aged 52 when arrested, had been killing women for at least 11 years before he was caught. His first known victim disappeared in 1991, when he was 41 years old. However, as early as 1988 and 1989, he was already regarded as dangerous to women. In 1988, women were warning other women to watch themselves around him. In 1989, people were warning women not to go home with him, admonishing them with terrifying tales.
He had apparently grown to hate prostitutes, whom he had been using for years, after as he put it, they infected him with Hepatitis C, attacked him with a knife, stole from him and used him. His rage at prostitutes did not develop until relatively late in life, which is why he did not start killing until age 41, which is quite late to begin a serial killer career.
There are other unconfirmed aspects of the case, with Ellingsen accusing Pickton of having sex with a dead woman’s corpse. Ellingsen and other drug addict-prostitute, Dinah Taylor, lived with Pickton for a while and helped him to pick up prostitutes and bring them to the farm. There is also a possibility that Taylor may have been involved in some of the killings, but she has never been charged. Pickton told his brother David that Taylor had killed some of the girls.
Good overview of the case here.