Man from Cowichan Valley claims he killed two men on the Island two decades ago. (File photo)

Witness in Victoria court case admits to previous killings

The man was a paid agent of the RCMP, who say they had no evidence to back up the confessions

A man from the Cowichan Valley has admitted to killing two men many years ago on Vancouver Island.

But the RCMP say the claims have not been substantiated.

During an ongoing drug trafficking trial in Victoria, a man who was paid to assist the police in the case, Matthew Holland, admitted to killing two people on the Island who were unrelated to the case, in separate incidents about 20 years ago.

Holland has a criminal record for numerous offences, including manslaughter, but has never been charged with the deaths of the two people he testified on Oct. 17 that he killed.

Holland was paid more than $130,000 by the RCMP to help nab an alleged cocaine dealer, Douglas Lawrence Ketch, before he testified in the case.

During his testimony, Holland said the first man he was referring to picked him up about 20 years ago when Holland was hitchhiking on the Malahat.

He said he believed the man who picked him up put his life in danger, although the court transcripts don’t say why he believed this.

“I beat the s*** out of him, man,” Holland said when questioned about the incident, according to the transcripts.

“I stomped on him, dragged him out of his car. I dealt with it like it should have been. You know, my life was in danger.”

Holland said the second incident occurred around the same time in a bar in Courtney.

He said he attacked a man who was beating up his girlfriend.

“I was, you know, just sticking up for her,” Holland said.

“I might have gone a little too far.”

Cpl. Janelle Shoihet, from the RCMP’s E division, said the court case is still ongoing, so police are limited as to what information can be shared at this time.

But she said police are aware that Holland testified to committing severe assaults on two individuals approximately 20 years ago, but do not know whether or not he killed the individuals in question.

“Mr. Holland had already disclosed to police the same allegations he made on Oct. 17,” Shoihet said.

“I can confirm that those allegations were investigated, and that police were unable to find any corroborating evidence. From the perspective of police, Mr. Holland’s testimony on Oct. 17 was consistent with what RCMP knew, and had previously investigated.”

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