Double-murderer also admits killing Surrey girlfriend

Jack Woodruff confessed to strangling Karen Batke, who vanished five years ago, while awaiting trial on 2008 Mission murders.

Convicted murderer Jack Woodruff (left) has confessed to killing Karen Batke (right) but is not being charged due to a lack of evidence.

The man who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison last week for the 2008 murder of a Mission couple has also confessed to killing his girlfriend, who vanished in Surrey in 2007.

But Jack Woodruff is not facing charges for Karen Lynn Batke’s death.

Batke, 39, went missing in February 2007. Last year, when Woodruff was arrested for the Mission murders of Lisa Dudley and Guthrie McKay, RCMP identified Woodruff as a suspect in Batke’s disappearance.

Batke’s brother, Lorne Batke, told CBC in an exclusive interview this week that investigators told him while Woodruff was in prison awaiting trial for the Dudley and McKay shootings, he confessed to strangling Karen Batke in their Surrey basement suite.

According to police, Woodruff claimed he attacked and killed the 110-pound Batke in self-defence after she swung a bat at him and that she died from her injuries. He then reportedly concealed her body such that her remains would never be recovered, said police.

With only Woodruff’s confession – five years after Batke’s death – and no evidence or witnesses, Crown prosecutors were not convinced they could win a murder or manslaughter conviction and did not approve charges.

“While the Crown might have proceeded on a charge of offering an indignity to a human body, the Crown chose not to pursue such a charge,” Crown spokesman Neil Mackenzie told CBC.

Sgt. Jennifer Pound, spokesperson for the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT), said despite the lack of charges following Woodruff’s confession, the investigation into Batke’s death remains open.

Lorne Batke said he and his family have lost faith in the police and justice system, adding feels his sister’s life has been deemed worthless. He vowed he’ll continue to work to have Woodruff held accountable and has set up a Facebook page called Find Karen Batke, where most commenters are critical of the decision not to pursue charges.

Woodruff, 53, was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years for the Dudley and McKay’s murders. Two other men, Justin MacKinnon and Bruce Main, are also charged in the double murder but have yet to go to trial.

– with files from CBC

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