Children of Sask. woman murdered by Robert Pickton receive $50,000 settlement
Robert Pickton is seen in this undated file photo.
The children of a Saskatchewan woman who was murdered by Robert Pickton have received a $50,000 settlement after launching a lawsuit against three levels of government and the RCMP.
Angel Wolfe, the daughter of Brenda Wolfe, was among 13 plaintiffs who filed civil suits against the provincial and federal governments, the City of Vancouver and several Mounties.
Lawyer Jason Gratl said the children of the murdered women took legal action reluctantly but felt they had no choice when the governments didn't act on a recommendation from the public inquiry to compensate family members.
His clients are generally pleased with the settlement, Gratl said.
"It's giving the children of missing women a leg up to try, in some small measure, to give them a chance to improve their lives, improve their prospects in the future. It was something worth doing."
Brenda Wolfe, who was a member of the Kahkewistahaw First Nation in Saskatchewan and had two children. She was a certified hairdresser who worked as a waitress, a bouncer and in a print shop, according to the statement of claim.
"She was a strong, quiet, genuine person with a great depth of character, who eschewed materialism and had understanding and compassion for others," the document says.
Brenda Wolfe struggled with drug addiction for much of her life but sought treatment when her children were born.
Her 20-year-old daughter, Angel, is currently working as a youth advocate.
The agreement includes paying for children's legal fees, but doesn't come with an admission of liability, Gratl said.
The DNA or remains of 33 women were found on Pickton's farm in Port Coquitlam after he was arrested in 2002. He was convicted of second-degree murder for killing six women and sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole for 25 years.
The families claimed in their lawsuits that Vancouver police and the RCMP were negligent when they investigated reports of missing sex workers and the possibility that Pickton might be responsible.
The court action also said the Crown was wrong when it didn't put Pickton on trial for attempted murder following an attack on a sex worker in 1997.
In B.C., the law restricts compensation to financial loss and loss of affection, but there's no recovery for loss of life or wrongful death, Gratl said.
"Given the parsimonious state of the law, these settlement amounts are strong and solid."
Gratl said the settlement also allows the children to forgo difficult questions about the relationships they had with their murdered mothers.