Mistrial in Peter Beckett murder trial in wife Letts-Beckett’s Shelter Bay drowning

Mistrial declared in first-degree murder trial of Peter Beckett, 59, accused in murder of his wife Laura Letts-Beckett in her 2010 drowning death at Shelter Bay.

Peter Beckett. Photo: handout

A jury in the Kamloops murder trial of Peter Beckett has declared to the judge that it couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict following a week of deliberation.

A sole juror is reported to have held out.

Peter Beckett, 59, is accused of first-degree murder in the death of his wife Laura Letts-Beckett after she drowned while the couple were boating at Shelter Bay south of Revelstoke on Aug. 18, 2010.

The incident was initially reported to local media as a drowning, including a warning from RCMP about boating safety precautions.

But a year later, police and the Crown prosecutors charged Beckett with first degree murder in the incident.

That resulted in a four-month trial in Kamloops, which concluded last night with the jury declaring it couldn’t meet a unanimous verdict.

In the trial, the Crown alleged that Beckett drowned his wife, saying his motive included a life insurance policy, accidental-death benefits and benefits from the former teacher’s pension.

Beckett’s defence lawyers argued the Crown lacked material

Much has been made about the eccentricities of the accused. Beckett, 59, is a former New Zealand local politician known for his flair for stirring things up. He moved to Alberta after meeting his wife, a resident there.

Beckett is described as a mountain of a man, at 6′ 8″ and about 400 pounds. His frequent interjections in court were a subject of comment during the trial.

For more, see this story here.