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B.C. serial killer Robert Pickton hospitalized after prison attack


British Columbia serial killer Robert Pickton was attacked and sustained life-threatening injuries in a Quebec prison Sunday in what officials described as a "major assault."

The Correctional Service of Canada says the 74-year-old Pickton was transported from the Port-Cartier Institution to hospital for treatment, but the agency declined to specify the nature or severity of his injuries.

Quebec provincial police say the attack occurred inside the prison around 5:15 p.m. and the victim "suffered serious injuries, leaving us to fear for his life."

Police spokesperson Hugues Beaulieu added that a 51-year-old suspect is still incarcerated at the prison following the attack and "will be interviewed by investigators."

"The assailant has been identified and the appropriate actions have been taken," the correctional service added, noting the assault did not involve any staff at the maximum-security institution.

"We are not able to disclose any additional details, including medical information," the agency added in a statement to CTV News.

"The safety and security of institutions is paramount and an investigation into what occurred is currently underway."

The Port-Cartier Institution, located approximately 500 kilometres northeast of Quebec City, has a capacity to house 237 inmates, according to the correctional service.

"The major crimes investigation division is currently conducting an investigation to shed light on this event," Beaulieu added.

Pickton parole eligibility

Pickton was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder after he was charged in the deaths of more than two dozen women, including many who disappeared from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

He was sentenced in 2007 to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Given credit for pretrial custody following his arrest in 2002, Pickton became eligible for day parole in February, with eligibility for full parole starting in 2027.

His day parole eligibility sparked outrage among his victims' families and a dozen Metro Vancouver mayors, who sent a letter last month to federal Attorney General and Justice Minister Arif Virani, saying that allowing day parole for the notorious killer would undermine the integrity of Canada's justice system.

'Dangerous working conditions'

Virani addressed the assault Tuesday on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, telling reporters that his thoughts are first and foremost with the families of the convicted killer's victims.

"We understand your pain," the justice minister said. "We understand the issues about violence against Indigenous women."

Questions about Pickton's parole eligibility are best addressed not by himself, nor Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc, but by the Parole Board of Canada, he added.

For his part, LeBlanc told reporters that he was informed of the prison attack on Sunday evening, adding Pickton was taken to a hospital in Quebec City for treatment.

"One of the primary concerns I have, obviously, is around the security of these institutions and the men and women who work in these prisons," LeBlanc said.

"These are very difficult and dangerous working conditions. So as I was informed of this incident I also thought of the women and men who work protecting Canadians in the institution."

The public safety minister said he recently visited a maximum-security prison in New Brunswick, where he learned about the difficulties prison staff have in managing potentially violent interactions between inmates.

"There's a lot of time spent managing the movements of individuals within the prison, so this is exactly the kind of circumstance that they'll be examining in their internal investigation," he said. Top Stories

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