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Abbotsford killer Terry Driver dies while serving life sentence in slaying of teen girl

Driver was serving life sentence for 1997 conviction of brutal killing of Tanya Smith, 16
Terry Driver as he looked around the time of the killing of Tanya Smith and the attempted murder of Misty Cockerill in Abbotsford in October 1995. No current photos are available of Driver.

Convicted killer Terry Driver has died in custody at the age of 56.

Driver was serving life in prison for the murder of Tanya Smith, 16, and attempted murder of Misty Cockerill, 15, in 1995 in Abbotsford. He also eventually was found to have committed several other violent crimes against women.

He was sentenced to life in prison in 1997, and was denied any parole earlier this year.

Correctional Services Canada has confirmed the death and said it was of natural causes.

Driver had taunted the police following Smith’s murder, indicating he was the killer and revealing evidence that had not been publicly released. The calls were made from payphones.

He also removed Smith’s headstone from the cemetery where she was buried and placed it on a vehicle outside of a local radio station. Words written on the headstone included “She was not the first” and “She won’t be the last.”

Driver was identified as a suspect in 1996 when police released an audio recording of a call he had made to them.

In February 1996, he threw a note taped to a pair of pliers through the window of an Abbotsford home. The letter confessed to the rape and murder of Smith and the assault on Cockerill – who later became a victims’ rights advocate – as well as three other assaults on women in Abbotsford.

Driver attacked the girls on McCallum Road, leaving Cockerill unconscious and then taking Smith to the Vedder River. He had sexually assaulted both girls and beat them with a baseball bat.

When Driver was denied parole earlier in June of this year, the parole board stated that he had shown little remorse or victim empathy, is “not considered to be engaged in (his) correctional plan” and presents an “undue risk to society.

“The board remains ever mindful of the nature and gravity of your index offences and the significance of the harm you have caused,” the board state. “…Your actions have been life altering and have caused serious harm.”

The documents at the time did not indicate where Driver was incarcerated, but the notice from CSC says he was at Mountain Institution.

READ MORE: ‘Abbotsford Killer’ Terry Driver denied parole, deemed ‘high risk’ to re-offend

-with files from Vikki Hopes


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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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