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B.C. sex worker killer, child assaulter faces breach trial

Jatin Patel was convicted in the 2003 killing of Shelby Tracy Tom.
Jatin Patel.

Warning: This story contains graphic details that may be distressing to some readers.

A person convicted of killing a sex worker in 2003 and also assaulting children will go to trial on allegations they violated a long-term supervision order.

Jatin Patel appeared before Vancouver Provincial Court Judge Ellen Gordon via video from custody June 18.

Patel faces two counts of violating a long-term supervision order, both related to Nov. 21 incidents.

“She’s instructed me to enter not guilty pleas,” defence lawyer Janine Sicotte told Gordon.

The first allegation is that Patel failed to report a relationship or friendship to their parole supervisor.

The second is that they owned, used or possessed a technological device that would allow internet connection without parole supervisor approval.

Patel has a lengthy criminal file. They've been in custody and are due to be released Wednesday, the court heard.

The case returns to court July 2 when Patel is expected to appear in person.

The killing

Patel was convicted in the 2003 killing of transsexual prostitute Shelby Tracy Tom.

Prior to Tom’s death, Patel, a Canadian citizen who, until that point, had spent most of their life in the U.S., had been serving a five-year sentence in a California prison for theft. When released, U.S. authorities took them to the B.C. border and released them onto Canadian soil.

The day of Patel's return to Canada, Patel went to The Penthouse nightclub where Patel had several beers, met Tom and took her to Patel's North Vancouver hotel room.

It was there Patel discovered Tom was transsexual. Patel became enraged and killed her, putting her body in a closet.

Patel promptly went out and brought another prostitute to the room who noticed the dead body. Patel told that person they were thinking of throwing Tom’s corpse in the ocean, chopping it up or burning it and disposing of it. The court heard the second prostitute talked Patel out of that course of action.

Tom’s body was found behind a laundromat, wrapped in a hotel mattress cover and stuffed in a shopping cart.

Originally charged with second-degree murder, Patel pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2005.

Patel was sentenced to nine years for manslaughter, with four and a half years left to serve after credit for time served.

In 2009, they were arrested in downtown Vancouver after allegedly breaching parole conditions.

‘Significant risk’

In April 2021, police issued a warning about Patel living in Vancouver, saying they were "a significant risk to adolescent females and sex workers in the city.” At that point, Patel was considered a high-risk sex offender serving a seven-year long-term supervision order for a conviction of sexual assault.

After a conviction of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old in a Surrey motel in January and March 2015, Patel was declared a dangerous offender but that designation was overturned in March 2018.

In February 2015, Patel was convicted of sexual assault after touching a 13-year-old girl's buttocks at a Safeway store. Patel was convicted of a further sexual offence in this case.