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BC serial killer Robert Pickton dead after prison attack

Convicted British Columbia serial killer Robert Pickton, who exploited women he lured from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside to his rural pig farm, has died.

The 74-year-old was brutally attacked by a fellow inmate in a Quebec prison on May 19. Pickton was taken to hospital, where he was placed in an artificial coma and succumbed to his injuries on Friday.

“The inmate's next of kin have been notified,” the Correctional Service of Canada said in a statement confirming the death. “We have also contacted registered victims in accordance with their stated notification preferences.”

According to Quebec Provincial Police, the attack occurred at around 5:15 p.m. at the Port-Cartier Institute, and a 51-year-old suspect remained in custody following the attack.

“The Major Crimes Unit is currently conducting an investigation to shed light on this incident,” police spokesman Hugues Beaulieu said in a statement last week.

According to the Canadian Correctional Service, staff at the maximum security prison were not involved in the attack.

“The attacker has been identified and appropriate measures have been taken,” the agency said after the attack. “The security of the institutions is a top priority and an investigation is currently underway into what happened.”

The Port-Cartier prison is located about 500 kilometers northeast of Quebec City and can accommodate more than 230 inmates, according to the prison authority.

'Devastating impact'

Pickton was found guilty of six counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2007 after being charged with the murder of 26 women.

A search of Pickton's pig farm in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, found the remains and DNA of 33 women, despite the killer's boast of murdering 49 women in total.

Pickton's confirmed victims were Sereena Abotsway, Marnie Frey, Andrea Joesbury, Georgina Papin, Mona Wilson and Brenda Ann Wolfe.

“We recognize that this offender's case has had a devastating impact on communities in British Columbia and across the country, including Indigenous peoples, victims and their families,” the correctional service said Friday. “Our thoughts are with them.”

'Goodbye forever'

The victims were also at the forefront of British Columbia's elected officials' thoughts as they mourned Pickton's death on Friday.

“For some, the death of this notorious serial killer brings closure, for others it reopens old wounds,” British Columbia Premier David Eby said in a statement.

“This is a difficult day for everyone who has lost a loved one because of his cruelty and heinous crimes.”

Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth also reiterated their commitment to helping those still seeking justice for the loss of their loved ones.

“We will continue to do everything in our power to support the families of the victims in finding answers and justice for their losses,” Farnworth said.

“Robert Pickton preyed on the most vulnerable people in our society,” Eby added. “These women were dismissed as less than equal and less worthy because of who they were. We are determined to recognize the dignity of every human being to prevent this from ever happening again. Goodbye.”