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Suspect identified, charged with manslaughter in Port Alberni death

Nov 28 2011

PORT ALBERNI — The suspect in the Nov. 24 death of a man on a sidewalk at Eighth Avenue and Maitland has now been identified.

William Oickle, 28, has now been charged with one count of manslaughter. Oickle appeared before a justice of the peace on Friday morning, where he was remanded in custody by consent.

According to the Crown, the accused will make a first appearance, by way of videoconference, on Dec. 15.

The victim has been identified as George Ledrew, 55, of Ucluelet. According to Jeff Mathieson, who operates the West Coast Motel, Ledrew came to the West Coast as a commercial shellfish harvester in the early 1970s.

Mathieson said Ledrew had become a close family friend, and often stayed at the motel.

"He did a lot of work for us, and I would give him some food, and a little bit of work, on and off," he said.

Mathieson said Ledrew's mental condition could fluctuate, but he remained a well-liked figure around Ucluelet, and was popular with his motel guests.

"He was so in touch with the West Coast. He knew so much about the logging and about the aquatic life," he said. "I was so upset to hear what happened. He was a good friend."

Mathieson said Ledrew had family on the West Coast and on the Lower Mainland, and they are now planning a memorial service.

According to police, Ledrew was found on the sidewalk at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, and his death was confirmed by the attending ambulance crew. A number of facial injuries led investigators to suspect foul play, and Oickle was arrested at 3:30 p.m. the same day.