aka the Abbotsford killer is a convicted Canadian murderer who
attacked two teenage girls with a baseball bat, killed one, then
taunted police with letters and phone calls.
He was convicted in 1997 of the first-degree murder
of Tanya Smith and the attempted murder of Misty Cockerill, declared a
dangerous offender, and received a mandatory life sentence from Judge
In 2006, Driver was transferred from protective
custody at Kent Institution to the Pacific Institution/Regional
Treatment Centre in Abbotsford for treatment.
Victim's family upset at return
Terry Driver is moved back to Abbotsford
Neal Hall - The Vancouver Sun
August 22, 2006
A killer who taunted police with phone calls,
threatening to kill again, has been returned to an Abbotsford
corrections facility, which has upset the murder victim's family.
Stan Smith, grandfather of teenage murder victim
Tanya Smith, said Tanya's father was upset when he heard that Terry
Driver, the self-described Abbotsford killer, was transferred to the
Pacific Institution/Regional Treatment Centre in Abbotsford for
Driver had been in the protective custody unit of
Kent Institution, a maximum security prison near Agassiz, about 70
kilometres further up the Fraser Valley.
"He was pretty upset," Stan Smith said Monday of
his son, Terry Smith, who is on vacation and unavailable for comment.
"They were supposed to notify us."
Heather Fougere, the sister of Tanya Smith's mother
Gail, said: "Gail's so upset, just knowing he's here. They lived in
fear for months until he was caught." She added: "I'm sure Driver's
family was notified."
The Smith family has written letters of complaint
about the lack of notification and asked for the help of Abbotsford MP
Ed Fast in trying to get Driver relocated to a facility outside
Fast said Monday that Lin Wallin, assistant warden
of Kent, sent a letter of apology for failing to notify the Smith
family that the killer was being transferred to Abbotsford, where
Driver committed his crimes and where the victims' families still
"Those apologies have been accepted by the Smith
family," Fast explained.
He said the issue isn't one of public safety but is
about having Driver in the same community as the Smith family.
"They were terrorized and victimized 10 years ago,"
He said he has made inquiries about whether there
is another facility in B.C. where Driver can get treatment.
"No one is denying he needs help," Fast said of the
killer, adding: "Why would you err on the side of the offender rather
than the victim?"
In October, 1995, Driver attacked teenage friends
Tanya Smith and Misty Cockerill, who were walking at night near the
He raped Tanya, then 16, and put her unconscious
body in the nearby Vedder River, where she drowned. Cockerill, then
15, staggered into the hospital and survived.
Driver attended Tanya's funeral with his two
preschool children. He later stole the headstone from her grave,
defacing it with an obscenity and the cryptic message: "She wasn't the
first, she won't be the last." He left the headstone on the news
cruiser of an Abbotsford radio station.
He also repeatedly called police to taunt them,
warning: "I'll be cruising around, looking for someone else" to kill.
The calls terrorized the Lower Mainland because it wasn't known at
that time where the killer lived.
The taunting calls were eventually released by
police to the media. Driver's mother, Audrey Tighe, recognized the
voice and turned in her son, whose father, Grant Driver, had been a
hero cop with the Vancouver police department.
Terry Driver was convicted in 1997 of the
first-degree murder of Smith and the attempted murder of Cockerill. He
received a mandatory life sentence from the trial judge, Wally Oppal.
Driver was designated a dangerous offender in 2000
after he was convicted of two other attacks on women before the Smith
murder. While police were trying to find the killer, Driver had left a
note, signed the Abby Killer, suggesting he had attacked three other
women before killing Smith.
He will be eligible for a so-called faint hope
clause application for early parole after serving 15 years, which will
be in 2011, and will be eligible in 2021 to apply for full parole.
A life sentence begins at time of arrest, which in
Driver's case was May 3, 1996.
Cockerill recently received a $3,000 scholarship
from the Canadian Crime Victim Foundation to attend the University
College of the Fraser Valley next month.
"Abbotsford killer" declared a
January 13, 2000
The man who terrorized the Fraser Valley and Lower
Mainland as the "Abbotsford killer" back in the mid 1990s has been
declared a dangerous offender. This means Terry Driver cannot apply
for parole for the next 15 years.
Otherwise, Driver could have applied for parole on
his sexual assault convictions -- but couldn't get it because of his
life sentence for the murder of Abbotsford teenager Tanya Smith.
Crown counsel Neil MacKenzie says the judge's
ruling will spare victims, families and the justice system from the
anomoly of parole hearings which could not have led to the granting of
parole. Driver's dangerous offender designation remains in force for
the next 15 years.
But beyond that, MacKenzie says, this designation
will still hang over Driver. "As a dangerous offender...the
convictions he's received in this case obviously may have some bearing
on what the parole board decides to do with him."
After the murder of Tanya Smith and the brutal
beating of her friend Misty Cockerill, Driver created a wave of terror
with taunting, threatening phone calls to police.
Convicted Abbotsford killer suspected in 3
Neal Hall - The
October 17, 1997
Terry Driver told a psychologist in jail that he
had been involved with three other women who wound up dead.
The man convicted Thursday of being the Abbotsford
killer now is under investigation as a suspect in three other murders,
The Vancouver Sun has learned.
Terry Driver, 32, told psychologist Dr. Robert Ley
during an interview in jail that he had been involved with three other
women who ended up dead, a source close to the case said.
Driver tossed a threatening note taped to pliers
through the front window of an Abbotsford home on Feb. 21 last year.
Inside the envelope containing the note, he
included clippings from The Vancouver Sun on the unsolved murders of
three women: Vancouver prostitute Linda Tatrai, Colleen Shook of
Burnaby, who was attacked after getting off a bus, and Kim Stolberg,
who was killed at her father's Richmond engineering office while she
was arranging a surprise wedding anniversary for her parents.
All three women were stabbed to death in 1989.
In B.C. Supreme Court Thursday, Driver nodded as
Justice Wally Oppal found him guilty of first-degree murder in the
slaying of Tanya Smith, 16, and the attempted murder of her friend,
Misty Cockerill, now 18, who were beaten with a baseball bat in a
random attack on an Abbotsford street about 12:30 a.m. Oct. 14, 1995.
After the killings, Driver terrorized the Fraser
Valley community by making taunting phone calls to police in which he
threatened to strike again.
He nodded Thursday as Oppal sentenced him to the
mandatory term of life in prison with no parole for 25 years on the
count of first-degree murder and a 10-year concurrent prison term for
the attempted murder.
Judge finds 'no excuse' for killer
Oppal, who noted Driver will be 57 before he can
apply for parole, told the killer: "I simply cannot find the words to
describe and depict your horrible crimes."
The judge said Driver viciously attacked the two
girls as they were enjoying life.
"You murdered Tanya Smith for your own sexual
gratification and you almost killed Misty Cockerill," he added. "They
did nothing to provoke you."
The judge added Driver wasn't content to stop there
-- he even stole the Smith's gravestone and defaced it with disgusting
comments, which Oppal noted was the ultimate insult to the Smith
"You taunted police and terrorized a whole town,"
Oppal said. "There's no excuse for what you've done."
He also noted he watched Driver testify and "you
didn't show the slightest degree of emotion or remorse."
At the time of his arrest last year, Driver was
married with two children and was working as a printer. He had no
previous criminal record.
Abbotsford police Inspector Rod Gehl confirmed
Thursday that Driver is being investigated in connection with other
crimes. But he would not comment on whether Driver is under
investigation for unsolved murders.
He noted the Abbotsford killer investigation cost
more than $2 million and is still continuing.
Gehl said about 75 officers were involved in the
case and more than 9,400 suspects were questioned. He said 3,800 had
been eliminated before Driver was arrested when his mother called
police saying she recognized her son's voice on a tape of his calls to
police that was released to the media.
Gehl described the Driver case as bizarre and
unique in his experience in 27 years of police work.
"I hope I never see anything like it again," he
said. "The way this individual taunted the community and put this
community in a state of fear was like nothing we have ever seen
Gehl took the first series of taunting calls by
Driver in which the killer asked police if they were having trouble
finding him and vowed to strike again.
Police knew if was the killer calling because
Driver repeatedly referred to the bite mark left on the breast of the
murder victim, Tanya Smith -- information police never made public.
During the trial, Driver testified he didn't beat
the girls. He said he saw a mystery man run from the scene, found both
girls unconscious and couldn't resist an urge to have sex with Smith,
who was naked.
After having sex with Smith, who was bleeding from
the nose and suffering from a massive head injury, Driver said, the
teen stopped breathing. He said he thought she had died, so he put her
body in the Vodder River, one of his favorite fishing spots, about 15
kilometres from the crime scene.
Three doctors were called as defence witness to
explain Driver's impulsive sexual behavior and his bizarre post-crime
calls to police. They said he suffers from Tourette's syndrome, a
neurological disorder that causes verbal and physical tics, as well as
obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity
In convicting Driver Thursday, Oppal said he didn't
believe the killer's fantastic tale.
"I do not believe there was a person other than the
accused who was involved in the assaults of Tanya Smith and Misty
Cockerill," the judge said in his reasons for judgement.
"I have no doubt that after the accused murdered
Tanya Smith in the course of sexually assaulting her, he fully enjoyed
the notoriety of being the Abbotsford killer. He took full delight in
directing his abject callousness toward the victim and their families.
"I am of the view that his phone calls to police
and media, during which he admitted he was the killer, were actual
admissions of truth."
Driver was set to start a preliminary hearing this
week on five other charges involving three attacks on a 12-year-old
and two women in Abbotsford before his arrest. He will appear Oct. 31
in Surrey provincial court to set a date for the charges -- sexual
assault, aggravated sexual assault and assault causing bodily harm.
After Thursday's court session, the victims'
families expressed relief that their ordeal was finally over.
"It's a day of tremendous relief," said Terry
Smith, the father of Tanya Smith. "It's not a day of joy, because
Tanya is not here. Our lives will never be the same, but maybe somehow
now we can start thinking about all the good memories instead of all
the horrible things that happened."
His wife Gail was asked if she could speak a little
about what Tanya was like.
"It's really hard for me to talk about her," the
mother said, tears welling up in her eyes. "It's really hard for me to
say her name -- I really feel that's been stolen from me because of
what has happened... She was very special. We loved her very much."
The mother became too emotional to continue.
Cockerill's parents, Janet Fillion and Marty
Jonkoute, said they are happy with the verdict and hope it will be a
fresh start for them.
Fillion, who collapsed as she entered the
courthouse earlier in the day, said she was a nervous wreck. She also
noted the family's life will never be the same and they will always be
afraid, even at home.
Cockerill and her family spent months in the
witness-protection program until Driver was arrested. Police were
worried the killer was going to try to get Misty. Driver wrote on
Smith's headstone: "She wasn't the first and she won't be the last.
One day, Misty."
Prosecutor Sean Madigan said he never doubted
Driver was the killer. But what set the case apart was they way he
goaded police after committing the murder, he said.
He added that he was unhappy with the defence using
Driver's afflictions to explain away his bizarre behavior.
"There are a lot of people with these afflictions
and they function very well in society and I hated to see them branded
the same as the Abbotsford killer," Madigan said. "It didn't do a
service for people with attention deficit disorder."
Driver's lawyer, Glen Orris, said he was
disappointed by the judge's decision but thought the defence was
"extremely good," considering it was a very difficult case.
"What I can say about our defence -- it didn't
work," he said. "I would never , ever present a defence that I did not
Orris said he will sit down with his client and
look at the decision to see whether there could be an appeal.
Driver's brother, Don Driver, said he believes his
brother was wrongfully convicted of being the killer.
But he offered his best wishes for the victims and
"I hope Misty Cockerill and her family and Tanya
Smith's family can get on with their lives... I just want to thank
both families for giving us enough credit for [us] being here. I wish
the best for Misty Cockerill for the rest of her life and hope nothing
else but good comes to her."
Misty Cockerill, the woman who survived the brutal
1995 attack by Terry Driver.