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‘A really caring dad’: Family of B.C. man allegedly murdered by escaped inmates files lawsuit

Click to play video: 'The daughters of a Vancouver Island man murdered in his Metchosin home have filed a civil suit against the Correctional Service of Canada'
The daughters of a Vancouver Island man murdered in his Metchosin home have filed a civil suit against the Correctional Service of Canada
The victim's family claim prison officials were negligent more than three years ago, when two men escaped from a nearby minimum security facility and allegedly killed their father. Kylie Stanton reports. – Sep 1, 2022

The daughters of a Vancouver Island man who was murdered in his home three years ago are suing the Correctional Service of Canada.

They claim prison officials were negligent when two men escaped from a nearby minimum security prison and allegedly killed their father.

In July 2019, Martin Payne was killed in his Metchosin, B.C., home.

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He lived near the William Head Institution, a minimum security federal institution for men located southwest of Victoria.

“He was a really fun dad, a really caring dad,” daughter Jessica Payne told Global News.

“He was very much a family-first person and I felt very connected with him. Any secret I had I would always tell him and I felt like he always accepted me.”

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His other daughter, Calla Payne, echoed her sister’s sentiments, calling her dad “loving, kind and giving.

“He gave so much of his time and his affection and his love to us and we were very very lucky to have him as a father.”

Martin Payne was killed in his Metchosin home in July, 2019. Submitted
Martin Payne was killed in his Metchosin home in July, 2019. Submitted
Martin Payne was killed in his Metchosin home in July, 2019. Submitted
Martin Payne was killed in his Metchosin home in July, 2019.
Martin Payne was killed in his Metchosin home in July, 2019. Submitted

Police were alerted on July 8, 2019, that two men had escaped from the William Head Institution.

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An off-duty officer spotted James Busch and Zachary Armitage while walking his dog almost two days later, leading to their arrest.

Click to play video: 'Pair of escaped inmates charged in 2019 murder of Vancouver Island man'
Pair of escaped inmates charged in 2019 murder of Vancouver Island man

It was only when Payne, who was 60, failed to show up for work that officers found his body days later.

Busch and Armitage were charged with first-degree murder, and Payne’s daughters have now filed a civil claim against the Correctional Service, alleging the organization and its employees and agents acted with negligent disregard for the circumstances, including the significant possibility that the inmates would escape from a low-security facility.

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“Getting that call was the worst moment of my life,” Jessica said.

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Calla said she had seen the news the two men had escaped from the institution but she was not prepared to learn what had happened to their father.

Click to play video: 'Escaped B.C. murder suspect may be trying to flee the country'
Escaped B.C. murder suspect may be trying to flee the country

Neil Chantler, civil litigation lawyer in Vancouver with Chantler and Company, told Global News the staff did not even realize the two men were missing until the 11 p.m. headcount, hours after they had escaped.

“It wasn’t for about 12 hours after the inmates escaped until CSC notified the public by way of a tweet, which seems like an unusual way to broadcast a message,” Chantler said.

Calla said, first and foremost, they want some answers as to what happened that led to their father’s death and they want to make sure something like this does not happen again.

“We want to make sure the system changes and no other family has to go through something like this again,” she said.

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Jessica said she is shocked at how two offenders could have just walked away from the institution so easily. “We don’t feel as secure as we once did, knowing that this kind of thing can happen,” she added.

“We’re hoping that we’re able to shine light on systemic problems that led to an obvious tragedy,” Chantler said.

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None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The Correctional Service of Canada has yet to file a response to the civil suit but did refer Global News to a 2020 Board of Investigation review of the escape, saying all recommendations made in the report have since been implemented.

– with files from The Canadian Press

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