Abbotsford B.C. – top story
Ontario foundation helping victim of Abbotsford Killer
As well as receiving a scholarship from the Canadian Crime Victim Foundation on Sunday, Misty Cockerill collected a number of surprise gifts – including a T-shirt – from University College of the Fraser Valley president Skip Bassford. Cockerill, who was the victim of an attack by Terry Driver in 1995, will start her studies at UCFV in September.
(Black Press) – An Ontario-based group which is shining attention on the need to support victims of violent crime is helping a woman who survived an attack by the man who became known as the Abbotsford Killer.
Justice Minister Vic Toews presented a scholarship to Misty Cockerill on behalf of the Canadian Crime Victim Foundation (CCVF) during an event in Abbotsford on Saturday morning.
“I’m truly honoured to be a part of something so great,” said Cockerill, after collecting the award at the ceremony in the University College of the Fraser Valley (UCFV).
“This will help me achieve my goals to continue to help people and share my experiences to teach society to have compassion and understanding for crime victims.”
Cockerill will attend UCFV in the fall. The university-college supplemented Cockerill’s scholarship from CCVF – which totals $3,000 a year for five years – with a $2,000 special tuition award.
Toews said it was an “incredible honour” to make the presentation to Cockerill.
“She’s a shining example of how victims of crime, given the appropriate support, can not only get on with their own lives but become excellent examples for others,” he said.
Abbotsford MP Ed Fast, who also attended the presentation, said it took “a lot of courage and determination” for Cockerill to resume her life under “such tragic circumstances.”
“I can’t think of a more deserving recipient of this scholarship,” he added.
In presenting the scholarship to Cockerill, UCFV president Skip Bassford said he was “thrilled” she had chosen to attend UCFV.
“In choosing to further your education and pursue a career helping others, you are setting a tremendous example of courage and triumph in the face of adversity,” he said.
Joe Wamback, founder of CCVF, said Abbotsford Police Insp. Rod Gehl heard about the organization’s scholarship trust and sent him information about Cockerill.
“When I heard Misty’s story, how could I say no?” he said.
Wamback became involved in raising awareness about victims’ rights after his own son was attacked in 1999 and left with a severe brain injury.
One of the biggest problems, he said, is that “all sorts” of resources are provided for victimizers, including educating and training them.
“No one . . . does anything for the victim,” Wamback said.
That’s why the organization has established a trust to support victims of crime as they work toward their education goals, he pointed out.
He said victims who receive the funds must not be involved in criminal activity, and if they are found to be involved in criminal acts after they’ve received the trust, it is withdrawn.
Cockerill, said Wamback, is just one of tens of thousands of crime victims that need support.
“No one is doing this, and it’s time,” said Wamback.
Cockerill was 16 when she and friend Tanya Smith were attacked by Terry Driver after they returned from a birthday party around midnight on Oct. 14, 1995.
Early that morning, Cockerill stumbled into MSA hospital with severe injuries. A few hours later, a fisherman found the unclad body of Smith floating in the Vedder River.
For months, the city was terrorized as the girls’ attacker taunted police with notes and phone calls.
Terry Driver was arrested in May, 1996, not long after his mother called police after recognizing her son’s voice when police released to the media copies of the phone calls from a man claiming to be the killer.
In October, 1997, Driver was convicted of the first degree murder of Smith and the attempted murder of Cockerill. He was later named a dangerous offender.
Copyright 2006 abbotsford