Martin Payne, 60, was found dead in his Metchosin home in July 2019. Two escapees from William Head Institution have since been charged with first-degree murder in relation to his death. (Martin Payne/Facebook)

Head of Canadian prison agency expresses ‘deepest sympathies’ in death of Metchosin man

Anne Kelly also says security at William Head Institution has improved

The head of the Canadian correction service has expressed her “deepest sympathies” for the death of Martin Payne from Metchosin after police had charged two escapees from William Head Institution with first degree murder in relation to his death.

Anne Kelly, commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada, also said that security at the minimum-security facility in Metchosin has improved.

“First and foremost, I extend my deepest sympathies to Mr. Payne’s family and friends as we learn of the new developments surrounding this case,” said Kelly in a release. “I also want to recognize the impact this has had on the community and to let you know that we take this situation very seriously, including the fact that the inmates charged had escaped from our custody prior to this tragic crime.”

Kelly added later that the WHI has implemented “a number of measures” to improve security at the site.

“This is a terrible tragedy and it is important that we garner lessons from the escapes and work to prevent them in the future,” she said. “We will continue to work diligently to ensure that our policies and practices are evidence-based and are responsive to an evolving environment.

West Shore RCMP officers found Payne’s body inside his home on July 12, 2019. James Lee Busch and Zachary Armitage — the two men charged with first-degree murder in relations to Payne’s death — had escaped William Head Institution on July 7. Police detained the escaped duo again after they commented on an off-duty Mountie’s dog in Esquimalt.

Busch was serving a sentence for second-degree murder and assault and had previously served time for aggravated sexual assault and escaping custody, while Armitage was serving a 13-year, 10-month sentence for robbery, aggravated assault and other offences at the time of their escape.

RELATED: William Head prison escapees charged in homicide of Metchosin man

Kelly said an investigation launched last July into theier escape has “led to a close examination” of practices and policies in how Corrections Canada prevents and responds to escapes. They include the promise to improve Correction Canada’s communications practices and policies to make communities promptly aware of escapes.

About one month after Payne’s death, residents in Metchosin spoke about their discomfort in knowing two inmates escaped the prison. The public did not receive notice about their escape until nearly 12 hours later over Facebook.

The public also heard at the end of September 2019 that an internal analysis of Corrections Canada deemed Armitage fit for a medium-security institution but that an override was recommended and he was moved to the low-security William Head in April 2018.

– with files from Shalu Mehta


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Peninsula Hospital Auxiliary hosts pop-up fundraiser in Sidney

Temporary store to feature unique hand made gifts, collectibles, clothing, books and more

PHOTOS: Small crowd gathers to watch 231-tonne stacker-reclaimer load onto barge crane

The Dynamic Beast barge crane, known for work with Johnson Street Bridge, makes a return

National Drug Drop-Off month aims to reduce substance abuse by house-bound youth

Expert says there is misconception prescribed medication is safe to take

Victoria mayor wants newspaper boxes removed from downtown streets

Mayor Lisa Helps says the boxes are not needed, often filled with garbage

Esquimalt artists take to great outdoors amid coronavirus

Group invites budding, or just willing artists, to join at Saxe Point

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Most Read