Escaped Maple Ridge murderer caught in Alberta

  • Mar. 21, 2011 10:00 a.m.
William Bicknell

William Bicknell

An escaped murderer convicted of bludgeoning a Maple Ridge woman to death in 2001 was captured by police after an armed stand-off near Grand Prairie, Alta. Saturday night.

William Wade Bicknell, 42, escaped from custody March 10 by taking a guard hostage during an escorted temporary absence from the Drumheller Correctional Institution, where he was serving a prison term for the second-degree murder of Maple Ridge woman Angela Steer.

Bicknell was apprehended Saturday night after holding an Alberta woman hostage and leading police on a high-speed chase through rural northern Alberta.

Police believe Bicknell forced his way into an elderly woman’s residence north of Grand Prairie Saturday morning, holding her hostage until she was able to escape around 4 p.m. The woman¬†contacted police, who arrived as Bicknell was leaving the home in a stolen Chevrolet Impala, and a high-speed chase ensued.

Police chased Bicknell for more than 20 km and allege he shot at the pursuing officers, disabling a police vehicle.

Bicknell crashed his vehicle into a ditch and opened fire on police, injuring a five-year RCMP member, who was treated for a non-life threatening gunshot wound.

Bicknell, too, was injured in the exchange of gunfire, and eventually surrendered to police.

Bicknell was flown to an Edmonton area hospital, where he continues to receive medical treatment. The extent of his injuries are yet to be determined.

Charges are still pending.

Bicknell was found guilty of brutally murdering Steer in 2003 and sentenced to life without parole for 25 years.

Steer’s beaten body was found on the side of a road in Mission. Steer, 37, worked as a cook at Paliotti’s, a local Italian restaurant. Years before, she operated Angie’s Grill at the Haney Hotel.

Bicknell confessed to her murder in an undercover police operation during which officers pretended they were recruiting him into an organized crime gang.

On those tapes he explained how he struck Steer in the head with a baseball bat, then drove to Chilliwack and back with her body in garbage bags before dumping it.

Bicknell also claimed that she hit him first and threatened to tell police about his alleged involvement in marijuana grow operations and a debit-card scam.

Bicknell’s sister, Sandra Lynn Myshak, 47, of Edmonton, faces seven criminal charges, including assisting a person in escaping custody, aiding in a kidnapping with a firearm, robbery with a firearm and breaking into a home to commit an indictable offence.