Kamloops man who helped carve the word ‘rat’ into flesh of victim handed 13-year prison sentence

Jeremy Bellows was among a group that offered the victim three choices of punishment: have fingers severed, have the word ‘rat’ burned into his flesh or have the word ‘rat’ carved into his flesh.

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.

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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.

414 Royal Avenue
This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents' and visitors' penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. - Michael Potestio/KTW file

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.

© Kamloops This Week



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