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Beckett charged with murder

A Westlock man has been charged with first-degree murder in the drowning death of his wife nearly a year ago. Peter Ernest Edward Beckett, 54, was arrested Friday without incident after leaving a property near Christina Lake, B.C.
Peter Ernest Edward Beckett, 54, faces a first degree murder charge in the death of his wife Laura Letts-Beckett (pictured).
Peter Ernest Edward Beckett, 54, faces a first degree murder charge in the death of his wife Laura Letts-Beckett (pictured).

A Westlock man has been charged with first-degree murder in the drowning death of his wife nearly a year ago.

Peter Ernest Edward Beckett, 54, was arrested Friday without incident after leaving a property near Christina Lake, B.C. and made his first court appearance in Kelowna Provincial Court that afternoon, nearly one year after the death of his wife Laura Letts-Beckett.

He has been remanded into custody and is scheduled to appear again in a Kelowna courtroom this week.

On Aug. 18, 2010, at about 8 p.m. police were called to the Shelter Bay Provincial Park near Revelstoke, B.C. after getting a report that Letts-Beckett had fallen out of a boat. The pair had been fishing in a small zodiac on the Upper Arrow Lake. Attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.

Letts-Beckett taught at the Dapp School for 28 years, spending her entire teaching career in the hamlet north of Westlock.

She taught Grades 1-3 throughout her career, and was set to take on the Grade 2 class for the 2010-2011 school year.

A statement issued Dapp School’s administration following her death described her as “a team player and a life-long learner,” who was respected and loved by staff and students alike.

She was described as the kind of teacher who was “soft-spoken and gentle” and who “won the hearts of every student by her welcoming presence.”

The B.C. RCMP’s Southeast District Major Crime Unit has been investigating this homicide since November 2010. In June 2011, B.C. RCMP announced they were treating the death as a homicide.

During the week of June 6, RCMP searched the lake using both a boat and a helicopter, said RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.

During that time, officers from the Major Crime Unit were also conducting an investigation in the Westlock area.

The findings of the investigations were forwarded to the Crown prosecutor’s office, which resulted in the charge being laid against Beckett.