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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007, 08:47 GMT
Pig farmer said charges 'hogwash'
Sketch of Robert Pickton in court 11/12/2006
Prosecutors allege Mr Pickton is Canada's worst serial killer
Pig farmer Robert Pickton dismissed murder allegations against him as "hogwash", a jury in Canada has heard.

The court heard how he denied any involvement in the disappearance of almost 50 women in a police interview shortly after his arrest in 2002.

He described himself as "just a pig man" but later blurted out that he was "a bad dude".

The 57-year-old is initially being tried for the murder of six of the women. He has pleaded not guilty.

'Pig man'

Most of the women who vanished were prostitutes and drug addicts living in Vancouver's impoverished Downtown Eastside during the 1990s.

On the police interview tape, Mr Pickton can be seen to give a short laugh when told of the allegations against him.

"Hogwash," he replies, "I'm just a working guy, a plain working guy is all I am. I'm a pig man."

The tape was part of an 11-hour interview during which Mr Pickton was shown images of the missing women.

A dishevelled Mr Pickton told the police officer he was sure that none of the women had ever visited his farm, in Port Coquitlam, near Vancouver.

Skulls found

The BBC's Heather Alexander, in Vancouver, says that Mr Pickton also described the process of butchering pigs, telling police how they are shot in the head and placed in hot water to remove their hair.

On Monday, prosecutors told the court that Mr Pickton had admitted to killing 49 women and told an undercover police officer he wanted to kill one more to make it an "even 50".

Prosecutors also told the court that Mr Pickton had butchered the women after he killed them.

They said split skulls and other body parts had been discovered in the farm's freezer.

Unlike Monday, when there were frenzied scenes at the courtroom, there were at least 10 empty seats on Tuesday.

Many family members said they could not face further gruesome details of the case.

Mr Pickton has been charged with 26 counts of murder but is initially being tried for the murder of six women.

He will be tried in connection with the other 20 women later, because a judge decided that the volume of evidence could have overwhelmed the jury, and that the case ought to be split into two.

Prosecutors have not ruled out further charges.

This first trial is expected to last for at least a year and Mr Pickton could face life in jail if found guilty.

The scene of Robert Pickton's alleged crimes

Canada farmer 'admitted murders'
23 Jan 07 |  Americas

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