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Gilbert Paul JORDAN

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


"The Alcohol Murders"
 
A.K.A.: "The Boozing Barber"
 
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Alcoholic - Rape
Number of victims: 8 - 10
Date of murders: 1965 - 1987
Date of arrest: October 23, 1987
Date of birth: December 12, 1931
Victims profile: Women (Native American prostitutes)
Method of murder: Alcohol poisoning
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Status: Sentenced to fifteen years in prison in 1988, but that was reduced to nine years on appeal. Released 1994. Died on July 7, 2006
 
 
 
 
 
 

"The alcohol murders" occurred in Vancouver between 1965 and 1988. Gilbert Paul Jordan, known as the "Boozing Barber," was linked to the deaths of 10 women during this time.

He was also the first Canadian to use alcohol as a murder weapon. Jordan, a raging alcoholic himself, stalked Native prostitutes in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, paying them to drink heavily with him.

Once his victims passed out, Jordan continued to pour liquor down their throats, eventually killing them. Jordan served six years for manslaughter and died in 2006.

 
 

Gilbert Paul Jordan, known as the "Boozing Barber",  (b. December 12, 1931 d. July 7, 2006) is a Canadian serial killer who is believed to have committed the so-called "alcohol murders" in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Lifelong criminal

Linked to the deaths of 8 to 10 women between 1965 and 1988, Jordan, a former barber, was the first Canadian to use alcohol as a murder weapon. Jordan's lengthy criminal record started in 1952 and includes convictions for rape, indecent assault, abduction, hit and run, drunk driving and car theft.

His method of murder was to stalk Native American prostitutes in Vancouver's Downtown East Side. His would pay the women for sex and company and encourage them to drink with him. When they passed out, he would pour liquor down their throats.

The resulting deaths were reported as alcohol poisoning and police paid little attention, especially because the victims were typically alcoholics and prostitutes. Jordan was known for drinking more than 50 ounces of vodka each day. According to reports, he had an insatiable quest for drunken sex.

First arrest

In 1988, Jordan was finally convicted of the manslaughter in the death of Vanessa Lee Buckner who was found naked on a hotel room floor after a night of drinking with Jordan. A month after her murder, another woman named Edna Shade was found dead in another hotel.

Jordan's fingerprints were found and linked to the earlier death. Vancouver police then put Jordan under surveillance. They rescued his next intended victim as he was poisoning her. He was overheard by police to say, "Down the hatch, baby. Twenty bucks if you drink it right down ... You want another drink? I'll give you 50 bucks if you can take it."

In 2000, Jordan attempted to change his name to Paul Pearce. At the time, a name change in British columbia did not require fingerprinting or a criminal check. After the loophole was closed, he dropped the application.

Gilbert Paul Jordan served 6 years for the manslaughter conviction. After his release, he was placed on probation which restricted him to Vancouver Island in British Columbia. On August 11, 2004, he was arrested in Winnipeg for violating that probation order.

Police warning

By 2005, he was back on the streets. On February 3, 2005, the Saanich Police Department issued an alert to warng the public to be cautious of the individual:

JORDAN, Gilbert Paul, age 73, is the subject of this alert. JORDAN is 175cm (5'9") tall and weighs 79kgs (174lbs). He is partially bald with grey hair and a grey goatee. He has blue eyes and wears glasses. JORDAN is currently in the Victoria area but has no fixed address. JORDAN has a significant criminal record including manslaughter and indecent assault of a female. He uses alcohol to lure his victims. JORDAN's target victim group is adult females. JORDAN is subject to court ordered conditions including:

- Abstain absolutely from the consumption of alcohol.

- Not to be in the company of any female person of persons in any place where alcohol is being either consumed of possessed by that person of persons.

If you observe the subject in violation of any of the above conditions please call the Saanich Police Department at 475-4321, 911 or your local police agency. If you have questions concerning the public notification process please contact the BC Corrections Branch at 250-387-6366."

Cultural impact

He was the subject of the 1997 Canadian television program Exhibit A: Secrets of Forensic Science in an episode called "Dead Drunk". The program described the forensic work used to convict him in 1988.

A dramatization, The Unnatural and Accidental Women was written by Vancouver playwright Marie Clements and performed in, among other places, Buddies in Bad Time Theatre in Toronto (2004). In the play, the writer focused on the story of the victims in an attempt to redress the failure of the newsmedia to do so.

Further reading

  • Marie Clements, The Unnatural and Accidental Women, 2005, Talon Books. ISBN 0889225214
     

 
 

Gilbert Paul Jordan (December 12, 1931 July 7, 2006), known as the "Boozing Barber", was a Canadian serial killer who is believed to have committed the so-called "alcohol murders" in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

General Criminal Background

Jordan, a former barber, was linked to the deaths of between eight and ten women between 1965 and 1988; he was the first Canadian to use alcohol as a murder weapon. Jordan's lengthy criminal record started in 1952 and includes convictions for rape, indecent assault, abduction, hit and run, drunk driving and car theft.

In 1976, Jordan was examined by Dr. Tibor Bezeredi as part of a court proceeding. Dr. Bezeredi diagnosed Jordan as having an anti-social personality, defined by Dr. Bezeredi as "a person whose conduct is maladjusted in terms of social behaviour; disregard for the rights of others which often results in unlawful activities".

Jordan is considered a serial killer as he was linked to the deaths of between eight and ten women, but was only convicted in the manslaughter death of one woman. His victims were Aboriginal women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Typically he would find women in bars, and buy them drinks, or pay them for sex and encourage them to drink with him. When they passed out, he would pour liquor down their throats. The resulting deaths were reported as alcohol poisoning and police paid little attention, because some of his victims were alcoholics. Although the newspapers often described the women as prostitutes, not all were involved in prostitution. Jordan was known for drinking more than 50 ounces of vodka each day

Alcohol as a Weapon

The first woman known to have died by alcohol poisoning while in Jordan's company was in 1965. As would become a pattern, a switchboard operator named Ivy Rose was found naked and dead in a Vancouver hotel. Her blood alcohol level was 0.51. No charges were laid.

Court proceedings show "he sought out approximately 200 women per year for binge drinking episodes covering the period from 1980 to 1988. He was also looking for sexual gratification." Further, the Crown provided evidence that Jordan was linked to the deaths of six other Aboriginal women. Similar fact evidence showed Jordan had been with the following women at the time of their death:

1. Mary Johnson, November 30, 1980, at the Aylmer Hotel, Blood alcohol level: .34
2. Barbara Paul, September 11, 1981, at the Glenaird Hotel, Blood alcohol level: .41
3. Mary Johns, July 30, 1982, at 2503 Kingsway (his barbershop) Blood alcohol level: .76
4. Patricia Thomas, December 15, 1984, at 2503 Kingsway (his barbershop) Blood alcohol level: .51
5. Patricia Andrew, June 28, 1985, at 2503 Kingsway (his barbershop) Blood alcohol level: .79
6. Vera Harry, November 19, 1986, at the Clifton Hotel, Blood alcohol level: .04

On October, 12, 1987, Vanessa Lee Buckner was found naked on the floor of the Niagara hotel after a night of drinking with Jordan. There is some debate regarding the victim. Some sources indicate that she was a white woman, not a heavy drinker, nor was she a prostitute. However, in official court records describe Ms. Buckner death as the result of Jordan "...supplying a lethal amount of liquor to a female alcoholic, who died as a result." Ms. Buckner had recently lost custody of her newborn baby, who had been born with a drug dependency. She "was an alcoholic and a taker of various kinds of drugs." A month after her death, another woman, Edna Shade, was found dead in another hotel. Jordan's fingerprints were found and linked to Ms. Buckner's death.

After being questioned, Jordan had not been charged with any crime related to Ms. Buckner's death. However, police initiated surveillance on Jordan. Between October 12 November 26, 1987, police watched him "search out native Indian women in the skid row area of Vancouver. On 4 different occasions they [the police] rescued the woman involved before she too became a victim." Those women were:

1. Rosemary Wilson, November 20, 1987, at the Balmoral Hotel, Blood alcohol level: .52
2. Verna Chartrand, November 21, 1987, at the Pacific Hotel, Blood alcohol level: .43
3. Sheila Joe, November 25, 1987, at the Rainbow Hotel, Blood alcohol level: unknown
4. Mabel Olson, November 26, 1987, at the Pacific Hotel, Blood alcohol level: unknown

According to the court records, police listening outside the hotel rooms heard Jordan say such things as:

"Have a drink, down the hatch baby, 20 bucks if you drink it right down; see if you're a real woman; finish that drink, finish that drink, down the hatch hurry, right down; you need another drink, I'll give you 50 bucks if you can take it; I'll give you 10, 20, 50 dollars, whatever you want, come on I want to see you get it all down; you get it right down, I'll give you the 50 bucks and the 13 bucks; I'll give you 50 bucks. I told you that. If you finish that I'll give you $75; finish your drink, I'll give you $20...

This similar fact evidence was important in the 1988 trial. Jordan was tried before a judge alone. Justice Bouck found Jordan guilty of manslaughter in the death of Ms. Buckner. He was sentenced to fifteen years in prison, but that was reduced to nine years on appeal.

Jordan served six years for the manslaughter conviction. After his release, he was placed on probation which restricted him to Vancouver Island. In June of 2000, he had been charged with sexual assault, assault, negligence causing bodily harm and administering a noxious substance -- alcohol. In 2000, Jordan attempted to change his name to Paul Pearce. At the time, a name change in British Columbia did not require fingerprinting or a criminal check. After the loophole was closed, he dropped the application.

Jordan was arrested again, in 2002 for breach of probation because he was found drinking, and in the presence of a woman while in possession of alcohol. He was found guilty and sentenced to 15 months in jail, followed by three years probation and strict conditions.

However, on August 11, 2004, he was arrested in Winnipeg for violating that probation order for an incident at the York Hotel in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, August 9, 2004. He had been identified as being a party to binge drinking with Barb Burkley. Ms. Burkley was a long term resident of the hotel and had a serious drinking problem. Ms. Burkley was taken to the hospital by her friend and hotel employee, Cathy Waddington, after finding Ms. Burkley in very bad condition. Ms. Waddington identified Jordan as being there, but he was acquitted of those charges in 2005. Upon his release, police issued a public warning.

Gilbert died in 2006.

Wikipedia.org

 
 

The Boozing Barber: Canadian Serial Killer Gilbert Paul Jordan

By Sylvia Clare - Socyberty.com

Jul 19, 2008

Between 1965 and 1987, Gilbert Paul Jordan killed at least ten women in Vancouver, British Columbia. His first victim was English-born, but most were Native women from the notorious Downtown Eastside.

He paid a woman to drink or have sex with him, and plied her with alcohol in his run-down barber shop, or a cheap hotel room. He offered more money if she could chug straight liquor. When she passed out, he forced alcohol down her throat, and raped her as she died.

"They were all on their last legs," he said at the trial. "I didn't give a damn who I was with. I mean, we're all dying sooner or later."

Jordan learned the barber's trade during one of his many stints in jail. He ran the Slocan Barber Shop, on Kingsway Avenue in Vancouver's seedy Downtown Eastside. When he inherited some money, he invested in the stock market.

The investments paid off. He could afford a good lawyer.

Early Life

Jordan was born Gilbert Paul Elsie in Vancouver, Canada on December 12, 1931. He was an alcoholic and high school dropout at the age of sixteen. By 1952, his criminal record included theft, assault, car theft and heroin possession.

Paul Elsie had a ravenous appetite for booze and drunken sex. Soon he was drinking over fifty ounces of vodka a day. Not surprisingly, his companions were other alcoholics.

"Sober people wouldn't go out with me, so I didn't have much option," he explained during his trial. "I didn't want to drink in my room all by myself."

According to his statements, he had sex with over two hundred women a year. He sought out prostitutes in the slums and dive bars of Vancouver.

Paul often ran afoul of the law. In 1961, police found a five-year-old First Nations girl in his car. Although charged with abduction, he was never convicted. The case ended in a stay of proceedings in May 1961.

Shortly after Christmas Day that year, inebriated, he threatened to jump off the Lion's Gate Bridge. Traffic stopped until he gave up the attempt. Soon afterward, he was found in contempt of court in North Vancouver, for saluting Nazi-style in the courtroom.

In 1963, Paul lured two women into his car with an invitation to drink. Police charged him with rape and theft. He was convicted on the theft charge, but acquitted of rape.

The Boozing Barber soon progressed to murder.

First Victim

In 1965, a switchboard operator named Ivy Rose (Doreen) Oswald accompanied Paul on one of his drinking binges. The next day, her nude body was found in a Vancouver hotel room, with a blood alcohol level of 0.51.

Death by alcohol poisoning occurs at around 0.4. The legal driving limit is 0.08. Chugging twelve beer results in a blood alcohol level of about 0.3, the point when a person usually blacks out. To die of alcohol poisoning, the victim has to drink a lot of booze, very fast.

Doreen's death was ruled accidental. Twenty-two years later, her killer would confess.

A few days after her murder, Paul Elsie applied to change his name to Jordan. The application was approved.

Charges and convictions for drunk driving mounted steadily. In 1969 he was charged twice on the same day. Gilbert Paul Jordan soon amassed other criminal charges, including:

1971: Vancouver, B.C. - committing an indecent act in a public place. The charge was dismissed.

1973: Mackenzie, B.C. - convicted of indecent exposure

1974: Prince George, B.C. - convicted of indecent assault, and sentenced to two years less a day.

The Crown tried to have him declared a dangerous offender in 1974. Jordan's lawyer intervened, and the request was denied.

In 1975, the Boozing Barber was back on the street. This time, he abducted a woman from a mental institution. Police charged him on several counts, including kidnapping, and sexual intercourse with a feeble-minded person. He was sentenced to twenty-six months for assault.

At the Slocan Barber Shop on Kingsway Avenue, three women died between July 1982 and June 1985. Although Jordan reported the deaths after consulting his lawyer, he escaped investigation. The coroner ruled all three accidental by alcohol poisoning. The victims were known alcoholics and prostitutes, at high risk for such a fate.

Final Victims

Jordan came under suspicion in 1987. He spent the night of October 11 drinking with a female companion at the seedy Niagara Hotel in Vancouver. Several times, Jordan went out to buy booze. At six a.m. on October 12, he left the hotel for the last time. At 7:40 a.m., police received an anonymous phone call.

In a room at the Niagara Hotel, they found the naked body of Vanessa Lee Buckner, 27. Buckner sometimes worked as a prostitute, but was known as a moderate drinker. She had a blood-alcohol level of 0.91, more than twice the amount needed to kill a person.

During trials, court would hear that Jordan poisoned her, sexually assaulted her, and left her to die as black fluid oozed out her mouth and nose.

Nick Basaraba, father of the victim, expressed his outrage when the case went to trial.

"He's a worm," said Basaraba in an interview with the Toronto Sun. "He's a lowlife. He should be squashed, just as he squashed a lot of girls' lives."

Arrest and Conviction

Police tracked the anonymous early-morning call of October 12 to Jordan's room at the nearby Marble Arch Hotel. When the nude body of Edna Shade turned up at another hotel a month later, fingerprints matched those of Gilbert Paul Jordan. Edna Shade had died of alcohol poisoning. Police placed Jordan under surveillance.

For eleven days, police watched Jordan. During that time, he took four intended victims to hotel rooms in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Each time, police interrupted the drinking binges.

Jordan was heard to say,

"Have a drink, down the hatch baby, twenty bucks if you drink it right down ... see if you're a real woman; finish that drink, finish that drink, down the hatch hurry, right down ... you need another drink, I'll give you fifty bucks if you can take it... "

Two of the women had blood alcohol levels of 0.52 and 0.43.

Police arrested the Boozing Barber as he was poisoning his last attempted victim. She had lost consciousness. When police entered the room, Jordan was lying on top of her, forcing the contents of a large bottle of vodka down her throat.

Investigators linked Gilbert Paul Jordan to at least ten deaths. He was charged in seven, but convicted only in the death of Vanessa Lee Buckner. He received fifteen years for manslaughter.

On appeal, Jordan succeeded in reducing his sentence to nine years. He served six.

In reducing the sentence, Justice Sam Toy wrote,

"Although the appellant has left a trail of seven victims, the last was the first occasion when persons in authority, in a forceful and realistic manner, brought to the appellant's attention the fact that supplying substantial quantities of liquor to women who were prepared to drink with him was a contributing cause of their deaths, for which he might be held criminally responsible."

Final Years

In 2000, Jordan tried to change his name to Paul Pearce. At the time, a name change in British Columbia didn't require fingerprinting or a criminal check. Authorities closed the loophole, and Jordan dropped the application.

In 2004, at the age of seventy-two, Jordan was once more a free man. He immediately violated his parole, and was re-arrested at a hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba. After spending two more years in and out of jail for parole violations, the Boozing Barber died on July 7, 2006 in Victoria, British Columbia.

Media

The murders by Gilbert Paul Jordan were the basis for the first episodes of the TV crime drama, Da Vinci's Inquest. A dramatic play by Vancouver playwright Marie Clements, "The Unnatural and Accidental Women", focused on the victims. A movie, based on the play, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2006.

 
 

Watching the drunk girls die

By Michele Mandel - Toronto Sun

Fri, August 13, 2004

The Boozing Barber, once alleged to be Vancouver's most notorious lady killer, is headed back behind bars after taking a trip to Winnipeg.

Gilbert Paul Jordan, a wealthy 72-year-old former barber, is headed back behind bars, just days after violating his probation by leaving Vancouver Island. He was arrested in Winnipeg on Wednesday night.

He has been linked to the deaths of 10 women who have died suddenly of alcohol poisoning. Jordan would prey on the vulnerable in Vancouver's seedy Downtown Eastside, ply them with dangerous amounts of booze, have sex with them and then watch them die. Three of the women were found in his barbershop; four died in flop hotel rooms he had rented.

At the time, most of the deaths were declared accidental overdoses of alcohol, even though Jordan was involved in reporting many of them -- after consulting his lawyer. But almost all his victims were native alcoholics, and authorities seemed to care as little as he did.

"They were all on their last legs," he coolly told a Vancouver reporter in 2000. "I didn't give a damn who I was (drinking) with. I mean, we're all dying sooner or later."

Jordan has been convicted of manslaughter just once, in the 1987 death of Vanessa Lee Buckner, 27, who was found naked on a hotel room floor after a heavy drinking binge with Jordan.

Her blood alcohol level was more than 11 times the legal limit for driving. Court heard that, as black liquid oozed from her mouth and nose, Jordan fled their hotel room and left her alone to die.

"He poisons them first and then has sex with them," Buckner's angry father, Nick Basaraba, said yesterday. "No parent should have to go through this."

A month after her death, police found Jordan's fingerprints in another Skid Row hotel where Edna Shade's nude body was discovered. Police had him under surveillance 11 days later when they rescued another woman from his hotel room.

"Down the hatch, baby. Twenty bucks if you drink it right down," police overheard Jordan telling her.

"You want another drink? I'll give you 50 bucks if you can take it."

Jordan was arrested, but charged only with Buckner's death.

An alcoholic who consumes more than 50 ounces of vodka a day, Jordan has a criminal record dating back to 1952 that includes convictions for rape, indecent assault, abduction, hit and run, drunk driving and car theft. He has been in and out of jail countless times for breaching his probation after being found drinking in the company of women -- usually native alcoholics.

"Sober people wouldn't go out with me so I didn't have much option," he explained during his 1988 trial. "I didn't want to drink in my room all by myself."

His quest for drunken sex was insatiable. By his own estimation, he was with 200 women a year, hunting for his prey in the city's seediest dives.

In 2000, he was acquitted of sexual assault. A few months later, he was charged again in Victoria with sexual assault and administering a noxious substance -- alcohol. Those charges were eventually stayed.

The savvy predator came close to disappearing completely.

In December, 2000, an innocuous legal notice appeared in the classified pages of a Victoria magazine.

Jordan was quietly serving legal notice that he was changing his name to Paul Pearce. At the time, unlike in Ontario, a B.C. name change application did not require fingerprinting or a criminal background check.

An unsuspecting police officer checking on Paul Pearce would not pick up his history of manslaughter or rape. There would have been nothing to stop him from luring more women into his web.

But once Jordan's bid to change his name became known, authorities moved quickly to close the loophole. He abruptly dropped his bid to change his name.

So the Boozing Barber goes back to jail once more. But only for a short time.

He has admitted that a sizeable inheritance, wise investments and playing the stock market has ensured that he can hire the best lawyers and ensure that he's not declared a dangerous offender.

While his victim's father wonders how many chances a killer should receive.

"He's a worm; he's a lowlife," Basaraba says bitterly over the long distance line from Abbotsford. "He should be squashed, just as he squashed a lot of girls' lives."

 
 

'Boozing Barber' caught in Winnipeg

CBC News

Thursday, August 12, 2004

After a two-day search through Western Canada, police arrested a 72-year-old convicted killer nicknamed the Boozing Barber at a Winnipeg hotel on Wednesday night.

A spokesperson for the force said officers took Gilbert Paul Jordan into custody without incident.

Authorities issued a Canada-wide warrant for Jordan this week. He had been ordered to stay on Vancouver Island as part of the terms of his release from jail in Victoria last week, but disappeared.

Jordan is known for plying women with alcohol until they succumb to alcohol poisoning.

In 1988, he was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Vancouver resident Vanessa Buckner, who died in a Downtown Eastside hotel room after drinking with him.

The judge in the case described Jordan as "a predator who used alcohol as his deadly instrument of choice."

Buckner was one of seven women who died of alcohol poisoning while drinking with Jordan over the course of 20 years.

The retired barber has been in and out of jail more than a dozen times since his original manslaughter conviction, for breaching his probation by drinking in the company of women.

 
 


Gilbert Paul Jordan in 1987 (CP photo)

 

 

Gilbert Paul Jordan
 

 

 
 
 
 
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