Ex-New Zealand man killed wife for money, Kelowna jury hears

Peter Beckett is on trial for the 2010 murder near Revelstoke.

With his sights set on what he believed to be his piece of a cattle ranching fortune, Peter Beckett killed his wife and plotted to get rid of anyone who made it look like more than a tragic accident, a jury heard Monday.

Evan Goulet, Crown counsel in the second-degree murder trial that started in Kelowna this week, told jurors that on Aug. 18, 2010 the New Zealand man and Laura Letts-Beckett got in their zodiac and went to a small, unnamed cove on Upper Arrow Lake, near Revelstoke. There, with nobody else around, the Alberta schoolteacher drew her last breath.

Beckett told at least one person in the aftermath that his wife fell off the zodiac, slipped underwater and he didn’t notice until it was too late, said Goulet.

“He saw her under the water flailing,” said Goulet, explaining how the story was told by Beckett. “He tried to get down to save her, but he couldn’t. He went to shore, grabbed a rock, swam back to her with the rock, and sunk down to her … to get his wife.”

At some point Beckett flagged down another boater, who tried to no avail to help revive Letts-Beckett who was lying on the shoreline. A subsequent autopsy confirmed the death was caused by drowning.

Two years later, when he was in pre-trial custody after a police investigation led to him being charged with murder, Beckett told his cellmate that version of the story and his cellmate told him, “you’re f**ked.”

That’s when, according to Goulet, Beckett tried to pay the man to “physically harm potential witnesses in the trial.”

“When Mr. Beckett was trying to hire (the cellmate) to harm potential witnesses he would talk about how the two of them could live comfortably on the money Mr. Beckett was going to get from his wife’s death,” Goulet told jurors.

Letts-Beckett had been a school teacher, and shared ownership of a condo with her husband. She had little else in her estate.

Beckett, however, had taken out an accidental death insurance policy on both himself and his wife months before her death. That was discovered by police when they were investigating the case, said Goulet.

And Letts-Beckett’s parents are “wealthy, elderly cattle ranchers from Alberta,” said Goulet.

The five-woman, seven-man jury will hear a phone call recorded after Letts-Beckett’s death, where Beckett can be heard talking about the inheritance and his willingness to go to court to get what he said was owed to him.

Supreme Court Justice Alison Beames told jurors that the scenario described in opening statements was a more of a road map, than evidence. To make its case, Crown counsel will introduce 19 witnesses.

The first of those witnesses to testify was Alberta lawyer Raymond Bruce Barlow.

He told jurors that Beckett went to his office and asked for copies of Letts-Beckett’s will — one drawn up in the mid ’90s and another completed in 2007. Neither named Beckett as a beneficiary or executor.

When he momentarily left his office following the discussion, Barlow said Beckett rifled through his files.

Barlow then kicked him out and said they wouldn’t be dealing with him without a lawyer.

Crown is expected to complete presentation of its evidence in a week and a half.

 

Just Posted

Terrace RCMP arrest Kitimat man for drug trafficking

A police investigation has led to the arrest of a Kitimat man… Continue reading

Terrace Fire Department announces new training program, increased calls in year-end report

All firefighters in Terrace are expected to complete training by the end of April 2018.

UPDATE: Prince Rupert woman killed in logging truck collision

Empty logging truck west of Terrace struck moose before colliding with the eastbound SUV

David Edwardsen sentenced to eight years in jail

Sentencing result of 14 drug and firearms convictions

Taking a virtual walk across Canada

The Kermode Friendship Society challenged their staff to participate in this year’s competition, which aims to promote physical activity, networking, and friendly competition.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

#Metoo movement causing confusion in many men, fear of missteps with women: experts

Being painted by the same sweeping brush as those alleged to have mistreated women has angered men

Liberals to dig deeper, aim higher on gender equality in 2018 federal budget

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the budget would include measures to boost women in the workforce

Body of missing skier found

Man’s truck found in Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s parking lot covered in ‘several days’ snow’

Thrilling finish to 59th All Native Tournament

Kitamaat, Hydaburg, Port Simpson and Kitkatla win championships in 2018 All Native Tournament

B.C. VIEWS: Subsidy supercluster settles in B.C.

Ottawa, Victoria add to their overlapping ‘innovation’ budgets

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Canada’s first ever men’s ski slopestyle medal

Men’s hockey team beats South Korea and women’s curling reverses losing streak

Most Read