EDMONTON — A witness at the first-degree murder trial of Travis Vader says he was lying to investigators back in 2010.
That's when RCMP questioned William Nikolyuk about Vader's alleged involvement in the disappearance of Lyle and Marie McCann, a couple in their late 70s who vanished while on a road trip to British Columbia and have never been found.
At the time, Nikolyuk told officers that Vader admitted to stealing the McCanns' SUV but insisted he hadn't done anything to them and that they were not in the vehicle at the time.
On Wednesday, Nikolyuk said what he told investigators was not true.
He said the 2010 interview came days after his girlfriend died after a car accident and on the same day he was supposed to board a bus to B.C. for her funeral.
He said he felt if he didn't tell RCMP something, they wouldn't let him go, adding he was a meth addict at the time and grieving the loss of his girlfriend.
Nikolyuk was originally called by the Crown but prosecutors were granted permission to treat him as a hostile witness when he changed his story.
He admitted telling investigators the following quote from Vader: "I didn't do nothing to those people. I just stole the wrong vehicle at the wrong time."
But on Wednesday, he said it was someone else who told him Vader had stolen the SUV, crediting the comments to Terry McColman, a friend of Vader's who died five years ago.