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Killer moved to victims’ community

Article by: David Carrigg and Ethan Baron, The Province
– Published: Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Corrections Canada is under attack for sending Abbotsford killer Terry Driver to a prison in Abbotsford, the same community where his victims’ families still live.
“This is absolutely deplorable,” Joe Wamback, founder of the Canadian Crime Victim Foundation, said yesterday.
“It exemplifies the indifference and insensitivity of Corrections Canada. This is not the first time something like this has happened, and it has to stop.”
Making matters worse, Corrections Canada yesterday admitted it failed to notify the families of Driver’s victims about the move, as it is legally required to do.
Driver snatched Tanya Smith, 16, and Misty Cockerill, 15, in Abbotsford in October 1995. He beat them with a baseball bat and sexually assaulted Smith before dumping her unconscious into the Vedder River, where she drowned. Cockerill, left for dead, survived but required brain surgery.
Driver then taunted Abbotsford police via phone calls and notes, promising to kill again, and he vandalized Smith’s tombstone.
Cockerill, now 27, this month received a Canadian Crime Victim Foundation scholarship from federal Justice Minister Vic Toews to attend a multi-year course at Abbotsford’s University College of the Fraser Valley.
Wamback said he will contact Toews today to update him on the transfer of Driver from the maximum-security Kent prison in Agassiz to the Pacific Institution regional treatment centre in Abbotsford.
“We’ve had enough of this. Where are the victims’ rights here?” Wamback said.
Smith’s mother, Gail, told the Abbotsford News she wants Driver out of Abbotsford.
“I do not believe that someone who abducted and murdered a young girl, taunted the police and community that he would murder someone else, stole the victim’s headstone from her grave and defaced it with vile gestures, and committed all these crimes within Abbotsford should ever be allowed within its boundaries again,” she said.
Corrections Canada has apologized to the Smith and Cockerill families for not advising them of the transfer, spokesman Dennis Finlay said yesterday.
“That wasn’t done at the time it should’ve been done, but we corrected that situation,” Finlay said. “We’ve contacted them and let them know what happened, and we also sent an apology.”
Finlay said that under Canadian law, Corrections Canada must keep prisoners as close to their home community and family as possible. Driver had a wife and two children who lived in Abbotsford when he was convicted.
Under the law, Corrections Canada must also consider possible concerns from victims’ families when deciding where to place an inmate.
Finlay said there must be “good legal reasons,” including security concerns, to move Driver.
Ed Fast, MP for Abbotsford, said Driver must be moved.
“We’re talking about a man who terrorized the city of Abbotsford,” Fast said. “This is a guy who desecrated Tanya’s tombstone. That’s not the sort of individual that you want to have return to your community.
“It’s unfortunate that 10 years after the fact this whole horror is being revisited on these two families.”
Driver, who had previously been convicted of sexually assaulting women, was sentenced to life in prison for murdering Smith and the attempted murder of Cockerill. He was designated a dangerous offender in 2000. He is eligible to apply for parole in 2018.
As a dangerous offender, Driver could be kept in prison for the life. dcarrigg@png.canwest.com