Four years since jailbreak and murder in Metchosin

Plus, a local organization is helping to keep love in the home

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Good morning!

Just three days ago marked four years since the jailbreak that led to the murder of Martin Payne in Metchosin. In today’s top story, we take a look back at that story. Our second feature is on Elderdog in Sooke, a community organization looking for volunteers to take care of seniors’ dogs in the area. A lot has been going on in the Westshore recently, so remember to take the time and appreciate the incredible community we have here.


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Four years since jailbreak and murder in Metchosin

Victim Martin Payne, aged 60 (Facebook)

On July 7 2019, inmates Zachary Armitage, then 30, and James Lee Busch, then 42, escaped William Head minimum-security prison simply by walking away at low tide. While free, they entered the Metchosin home of Martin Payne, 60, and used his computer to research transportation and their situation. When Payne returned, they attacked him—intending, the Crown argued, to confine him and get his financial access, and killed him in the struggle.

The fugitives were later caught when they commented on the dog of a passing off-duty police officer. Payne’s body was found there a few days later during a wellness check.

James Lee Busch, left, and Zachary Armitage. Photos via Correctional Service of Canada

Armitage and Busch were each sentenced last winter to life in prison. Armitage pleaded guilty midway through the trial, apologizing to the family and saying at sentencing that he would trade his life for Payne’s. Busch was found guilty of murder by a jury, and filed to appeal; his lawyer argued at trial that only Armitage killed Payne.

Men were not initially qualified for minimum security

Busch and Armitage were both violent offenders and considered at high risk to reoffend. Capital Daily obtained corrections documents showing that the scales used to rank an inmate’s security level were overridden in both cases to send them to William Head. Armitage had been convicted of escapes four times but was seen in 2018 by Corrections decision-makers as having no continued escape plans and as having made improvements.

Correctional staff also flagged Busch, in summer 2019, as a “time bomb” and poor fit for minimum security.

Payne’s daughters Calla and Jessica Payne filed a civil lawsuit last August against Correctional Service Canada, arguing his death was a “direct and foreseeable consequence” of breaches of care including monitoring on the day-of and the prior overrides.


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A local organization is helping to keep love in the home

A new branch of Elderdog is in the Westshore and in serious need of volunteers as it looks to help the community take care of aging people and dogs. Elderdog Canada’s non-profit organization has been running for almost 11 years, and has expanded to a number of cities across the nation; with the Victoria “pawd” growing larger each day, the group decided to split into a Sooke-Westshore branch, something that Bev Gosling is very excited about.

“There's going to be certain things that obviously are combined like in terms of looking after the dogs and the clients, we're kind of sharing the walking and work, but we're going to be self-sufficient with paperwork and onboarding,” says Gosling. “The [Sooke-Westshore pawd] covers Langford, Colwood, View Royal, Sooke, East Sooke, and Metchosin.”oing to be Sooke, East Sooke, and Metchosin.”

Around the 'Shore

💲Langford woman describes “dating scammer” who allegedly stole $200K: She says she ultimately lost $10K to a boyfriend whose inconsistent stories (such as claiming to be both a CSIS agent and a semi-retired investor) evolved into requests for money to solve various difficulties. Police charged him in June with 16 swindling-related counts over three years. [Times Colonist]

☕️ Sooke community comes together to save local coffee shop: After the Stick in the Mud coffee shop announced that they would be closing their doors in April, Bernie Klassen, Wendy O’Connor, and Jim Meunier decided to come together and work towards making the shop a co-op. Through raising money and awareness, the three friends hope to accomplish their goals in three months. [Vancouver Island Free Daily]

🍁 As one of the largest independent, employee-controlled brokerages in Canada, Megson FitzPatrick provides their clients with the best service experience and utmost certainty in what they provide.*

🚨 Melissa McDevitt search suspended: After new clues were found about a hiker’s disappearance in Sooke, Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue conducted a search this past weekend in the Charters River area. Search and Rescue have suspended the search due to a lack of results.

🏗️ Construction starts on a new health and wellness centre in Sooke: Construction is underway on the T'Sou-ke Community Complex and Health Centre and is projected to be finished in mid/late 2024. The building is going up on T’sou-ke First Nation land and is the second part of construction on the IR1 lands. [Citified]

🏅 Countdown to Paris 2024: Canada's athletes are ready to shine at the Victoria Track Classic. Don't miss the action on July 16 at Centennial Stadium!*

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Community Events

🌳 Yoga in the Park: Stretch out this July 13 from 6 to 7pm with free yoga in Meadow Park. With a number of events hosted until September, any level is welcome. Remember to bring a mat and a water bottle.

🗣️ Agora Speakers: On July 12, head to the Serious Coffee Millstream Village in Langford to get better at public speaking. With free admission, the event runs from 6 to 7:30pm and gives you the chance to practice, learn, and receive feedback from the Agora team.

💰 Budget Pop-Up: Looking to make an impact in your community? The District of Sooke booth at the Sooke Night Market will be asking locals for their input on the upcoming Budget 2024. Hosted a number of Thursdays in July and August at the Sooke Region Museum Night Market, locals can head down from 5 to 8pm.

What’s Offshore?

🚢 The Ever Sigma is a container ship built in 2005 and is sailing under the flag of the United Kingdom. It is sailing from Tacoma, United States 🇺🇸 ➡ Vancouver 🇨🇦 and was scheduled to arrive July 2.

⛴ The Villars is a bulk carrier built in 2011 and is sailing under the flag of Panama. It is sailing to ➡ Robert Banks 🇨🇦 and was scheduled to arrive July 4.

🛳 The United Adventure is a bulk carrier built in 2012 and is sailing under the flag of Panama. It is sailing from Kashima, Ibaraki, Japan 🇯🇵 ➡ Roberts Bank 🇨🇦 and was scheduled to arrive July 9.

Westshore Snaps

Billings Spit Sunrise. —Frances Lawrence, Sooke

📸 Snapped a photo you’d like to share? Send it with a caption and don’t forget to add where you live.

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