Wednesday, September 24, 1997

Phinjo Gombu

Rape detective denies Jane Doe used as bait

Ex-officer testifies investigation did not put women in danger

An ex-Metro police officer who led the hunt for the so-called "balcony rapist" has categorically denied police used women as bait or that he put women in danger by his investigative techniques.

It's absolutely untrue; we never used anybody as bait," former Detective Sergeant Bill Cameron said yesterday when asked about the allegation of a woman known only as Jane Doe as part of her $1.2 million negligence lawsuit against Metro police.

Cameron, who retired last year, also denied comments by Doe that after her rape he'd told her women would get "hysterical" if warned about the serial rapist, and that she had been attacked a day earlier than police expected.

Cameron's testimony came as Metro police lawyer Bryan Finlay walked Cameron through almost every single step of his investigation since he got involved on July 25, 1986 -- a month before Doe's rape on Aug. 24 -- until the arrest of the rapist, Paul Douglas Callow, on Oct. 3.

Callow subsequently pleaded guilty to all five assaults, including that on Doe, which occurred between Dec. 31, 1985 and Aug. 24, 1986. He is serving a 20-year jail sentence.

Cameron said that to use women as bait, he would have had to have prior knowledge of an assault and that if he'd known, he would certainly have put officers inside buildings rather than outside during a massive stakeout of about 19 buildings in the Church and Wellesley Sts. neighbourhood.

"We had no idea where he would attack or even if he would," Cameron said.

The stakeout -- over a period of 10 days in late September -- was the focus of yesterday's testimony. It took place about a month after Doe's rape.

Finlay keyed on it yesterday after establishing Monday that Cameron just three weeks after starting on the case, linked all four previous assaults -- about eight days before Doe's rape.

It was after Doe's rape that Cameron asked for 25 officers and special surveillance vans to monitor a small cluster of highrise buildings where he felt the rapist would strike.

That occurred after a canvass of the area for mostly single women with dark hair living in second- and third-floor apartments accessible by a balcony. Officers were told not to mention sexual assaults.

Cameron said he didn't want the rapist to know there was a manhunt on for fear he would flee and attack others elsewhere and said officers were given strict instructions to intercept suspects before anything happened.

Doe's lawsuit alleges, among other things, that police were negligent in not warning her about a serial rapist who had attacked four women.

In a full day of detailed testimony, Cameron described how almost every day -- after Doe's rape -- he and fellow investigators worked continuously drawing up suspect lists, patrolling the area, doing forensics, matching fingerprints, and continuously being fed information from uniformed officers about possible suspects.

Cameron denied he'd told Doe women would get "hysterical" if warned about the serial rapist, saying instead that he'd simply warned her against putting up posters in the neighbourhood to warn women about the assaults.

He said he'd told her there were laws to deal with people who do that.

"Balcony Rapist" case... [Fiona Stewart]

Created: March 6, 1999
Last modified: March 8, 1999

J.D. Jane Doe, c/o Walnet Institute
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710