A Kamloops man who took part in the grisly mutilation of a gang associate — carving the word “rat” into his chest and whiskers on his face — has been ordered to spend 13 years in a federal prison.
Jeremy Bellows, 35, was sentenced on Wednesday (Nov. 18) in B.C. Supreme Court for convictions on charges relating to the mutilation, as well as unrelated property and firearms-related charges.
Bellows and a co-accused, Ricky Dennis, stood trial earlier this year on charges of aggravated assault and intimidating a justice system participant. Both men were found guilty.
Court heard the two men were among a group of people that confronted Matt Carstairs inside his Royal Avenue home on Aug. 21, 2018. Carstairs was targeted because he had been co-operating with police in their investigation of a 2017 shooting.
The men offered Carstairs three options for punishment — have the fingers cut off one hand, have the word “rat” burned into his flesh or have the word “rat” carved into his chest. Carstairs chose the latter option and the mutilation was carried out.
Bellows also pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges stemming from two incidents — a Victoria Street traffic stop in 2017, during which police found a loaded nine-millimetre handgun, and a string of events in Abbotsford in October 2018, after which Bellows was found to be in possession of a different loaded semiautomatic pistol. In both cases, Bellows was bound by multiple lifetime firearms prohibitions.
Crown prosecutor Andrew Duncan said he would have been seeking a sentence of seven to eight years on the mutilation convictions alone. He and defence lawyer John Gustafson presented a 13-year joint submission to B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley, which was accepted.
Bellows has been in jail since November 2018, meaning he has about three years of pre-trial credit at time-and-a-half, leaving him just over a decade to serve in federal prison.
In addition to the prison time, Bellows was also ordered to submit a sample of his DNA to a national criminal database and barred from having any contact with Carstairs.