Barry Bradley’s Old Newspaper Clippings

Photograph of RCMP crest with a magnifying glass




Throughout his career in the Force (1960 – 1995), Veteran Barry Bradley developed a newspaper scrapebook containing notable news stories about the RCMP in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.




Each week, we will post three or four of these old newspaper clippings for the interest of Veterans and their families. This week’s webpage includes two stories: one of conduct unbecoming a member of the Force and the killing of Constable Neil Bruce.


Photograph of RCMP hat and handcuffs (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

Photograph of RCMP hat and handcuffs (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

Feb 11, 1965 – Prunce Rupert – (Vancouver Sun Newspaper) – An RCMP constable received $20 to $50 a month plus groceries from a cafe operator who supplied meals to prisoners at the local jail, a court was told Wednesday.

Prosecutor Ernest Alexander told of the gifts after const. A.G. Kemp (Reg.#20192), 35, pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud in handling prisoner meal accounts.


Kemp, charged with two other constables and the cafe operator, was jailed two months.

Alexander said there was an over-payment in prisoner meal accounts totally $3,468 at the cafe between $20 and $50 a month in cash and an undetermined amount of groceries delivered to his home by the safe operator.

Alexander said Low Kut Sing, 69, the cafe operator, paid an average of $60 a month to the constables involved and the groceries involved were worth an average of $20 a month.

Sing pleaded guilty to fraud Wednesday and was given a suspended sentence.

$500 BOND

Magistrate Harvey Jessop ordered Sing to post a $50 bond to keep the peace for two years.

The magistrate said in sentencing Sing he considered the man’s age and the fact he had made restitution.

In passing sentence on Kemp, the magistrate said that he took into account the constable was married with children and his career as a public servant was at an end.

Also charged were const. W. L. Giesbrecht, (Reg.#19614) 27, and Const. W.S. Austin, 26. Austin’s case was adjourned to Feb. 26 pending arrival of his lawyer.

A stay of proceedings was ordered for Giesbrecht, who is being treated for a serious head wound at Shaughnessy Hospital in Vancouver.

Alexander told the court Giesbrecht is so gravely wounded he may never be fit to conduct his affairs or to defend himself in a court action.

Griesbrecht’s wife found him unconscious with a bullet wound in the head when she returned to their Grand Forks home from a shopping trip last August. His erve revolver was found on the floor beside him.


March 1, 1965 – (Vancouver Sun Newspaper) – Case Involves Meal Bills For Prince Rupert Prisoners – An RCMP constable was acquitted Saturday of fraud in connection with meal accounts of prisoners at the Prince Rupert jail.

Const. William Austin (Reg.#19783), 26, was one of three RCMP officers and a cafe operator charged after discovery of mishandling of money for prisoner meals.

Magistrate Harvey Jessop accepted a defence motion for acquittal on the grounds there was lack of evidence that the province had been defrauded.

The motion followed conclusion of the crown’s case against the constable.

Final testimony for the crown was given by RCMP Sub-Inspector D.J. Betersdorfer, of Victoria, wo said he had no personal knowledge of a cheque having been issued to either a cafe operator, alleged to have received overpayment, or to Const. Austin.

Earlier in February, Const. A.G. Kemp, 35, was given a two month jail term after he pleaded guilty to a similar charge.

At that time a stay of proceedings was entered for Const. W.L. Giesbrecht, 27, who was found unfit to stand trial after suffering a bullet wound in hi ahead at his home in Grand Forks.

Cafe operator Low Kut Sing, 69, pleaded guilty to fraud and was given a suspended sentence at the earlier trial.

BARRY’s COMMENTS: I was in Burnaby traffic when the meal account broke. If memory serves me one of the members had been transferred to Burnaby traffic. I don’t recall his name. Likable, hard worker and when this broke in the media he just disappeared.

During those years the first questions asked when you went to Burnaby was ‘how much service do you have’ and ‘what did you do’.  Still the place seemed to run like a well oiled clock and likewise when I got there again in the late eighties.

MOUNTIE DIES OF GUN WOUND – International Hunt Launched

Photograph of Constable Neil Bruce (Reg.#20824) (Source of photo - RCMP Gravesite database).

Photograph of Constable Neil Bruce (Reg.#20824) (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite database).

April 14, 1965 – (Vancouver Sun Newspaper) – Kelowna – An international alert was issued for the suspect killer of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police constable.

The alert went out to all police forces in Canada and the United States following the death in hospital of Constable Neil Bruce, 26.

Bruce was shot down with a .22 calibre rifle Saturday when he and a fellow officer were checking a remote cabin on Powers Creek, near Westbank.

A full-scale manhunt had been underway since then on a round the clock basis for Russell Spears, 59, of Westbank.

Okanagan Police from five RCMP Detachments assemble at Westbank near Kelowna, for all-out search for Russell Spears, 59, wanted in connection with shooting Const. Neil Bruce, 26, and Beverley Charest, 17 near Westbank. Bruce died today (Source of photo - Vancouver Sun Newspaper).

Okanagan Police from five RCMP Detachments assemble at Westbank near Kelowna, for all-out search for Russell Spears, 59, wanted in connection with shooting Const. Neil Bruce, 26, and Beverley Charest, 17 near Westbank. Bruce died today (Source of photo – Vancouver Sun Newspaper).

Spears is sought on a warrant charging him with the attempted murder of Const. Bruce and Beverley Charest, 17, of Lumby, who was also shot at the cabin.


RCMP Assistant Commissioner D.O. Forrest said in Vancouver that the alert to either police agencies was issued because Spears has eluded his pursuers for four days and could be anywhere.

“There’s not a sign of him,” said a senior officer: “It’s very frustrating.”

Assistant Commissioner Forrest said his men have orders to take the suspect into custody, but will shoot to protect themselves if they believe their lives are in danger.


He said the death of Bruce came as a great shock to him.

“The last report I had Tuesday evening was that he was progressing favourably,” Forrest said.

“I know I speak for everyman on the force when I say we’re very upset. Const. Bruce was giving excellent service and had great prospects in the RCMP.”

Const. Bruce, who was shot in the chest, died just before 7 a.m. today.

The bullet, which pierced his right lung, was removed in an emergency operation Saturday and doctors were successful in re-inflating the lung.

RCMP said death resulted from complications in the lung injury.

Const. Bruce, a native of Fredericton, N.B.


Photograph of Russell Spears (Source of photo - Vancouver Sun Newspaper)

Photograph of Russell Spears (Source of photo – Vancouver Sun Newspaper)

April 19 1965 – (Vancouver Sun Newspaper) – Kelowna – Russell Spears, 59, wanted for the murder of an RCMP constable, shot and killed himself today as a police posse closed in.

Police said Spars, object of an intensive manhunt for nine days, shot himself between the eyes with a .22 calibre rifle after he was rushed out of the woods by a police do and four constables.

He died instantly.

The shooting took place at Trepanier Bench, about a mile west of highway 97. The area is 10 miles south of here.

RCMP said a resident Maynard Haskell, phoned police at 6:30 a.m. after his wife saw a man in a clearing near his house.

He disappeared after a few moments, Haskell said.

Police said a search patrol of four men and a dog heading south to Summerland was diverted to check the report.

“The dog took scent immediately and followed a trail down a ravine and up the other side at the run,” an RCMP officer said.


Photograph of RCMP Dog Services handler - Constable George Hawkins from Cloverdale Detachment (Source of photo - Vancouver Sun Newspaper).

Photograph of RCMP Dog Services handler – Constable George Hawkins from Cloverdale Detachment and his dog ‘Prince’ (Source of photo – Vancouver Sun Newspaper).

“He flushed out Spears and knocked him down near a small jackpine.

“Dogmaster George Hawkins (Reg.#19758) of Cloverdale, who was right behind, called on him to surrender.

“The man put his rifle to his forehead and shot himself between the eyes.”

The others in the party with Hawkins and the dog, Prince, were Constables D.M. McLay of Lytton, D.N. Marchard of Kelowna and Ken Jones of Kelowna.

Spears was wanted for the capital murder of RCMP Const. Neil Bruce, 26, and the attempted murder of Beverley Charest, 17, of Lumby.

The two were shot April 10 at a cabin on Powers Cheek, west of Highway 97 near Westbank.

The constable died Wednesday from a bullet wound in the right lung. the girl, shot in the jaw and shoulder, is recovering in Kelowna General Hospital.


Mrs. Haskell to The Sun she almost missed seeing Spears.

“I was sitting at the kitchen table having a cup of coffee when I saw this guy just disappear into the bush about 150 yards from the house.

“If I’d looked out a second later I wouldn’t have seen him.”

Spears was hunded down on a neighbouring farm owned by Ross Oatman, who is away on vacation.

Police said Spears’ .22 calibre semi-automatic rifle contained 13 live shells.

In one of his pockets they found a receipt for $24 signed by Miss Charest.

Spears had no food. A dog earlier believed to have accompanied him when he left the cabin was not with him.

Police surmised the dog was wounded by shots fired by Const. Bruce at the cabin as he fell.

They said Spears, who had been working at sawmills in years, had a long criminal record.


It included convictions in 1935 for carnal knowledge, 1938 for rape, 1948 for assault with intent to commit rape, 1949 for escaping custody, 1959 for contributing to juvenile delinquency, and 1962 for assault.

The last conviction was recorded after Spears assaulted an 18 year old Merritt girl who he hired as a house-keeper. Police said the circumstances were similar to those involving Charest girl, also hired as a housekeeper.


Spears was charged with indecent assault but found guilty of a reduce charge of common assault. He was sentenced to two years in the BC Penitentiary and was released March 15, 1964, after serving 16 months.

Police said Kelowna coroner Don White will hold inquests into the deaths of both Const. Bruce and Spears.

The inquests are not likely to be held until Miss Charest, unable to speak because of her jaw wound, is able to give evidence.


The Trepanier Bench area is about four miles from the cabin where the shooting occurred. Const. Bruce had gone there to investigate a report that Miss Charest was being held against her will.

A posse of up to 50 policemen from five detachments aided by three tracking dogs, a plane and a helicopter, had searched the rugged area thoroughly without finding a trace of the fugitive.

The manhunt had been kept up on a 24-hour basis, with heavily-armed officers searching the area on foot by day, and roving road patrols watching for movement at night.