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. KTW

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. KTW

6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

  • Oct. 30, 2020 2:33 p.m.

-Kamloops This Week-

One of three attackers who mutilated a gang associate who was co-operating with police — carving “rat” into his chest — has been ordered to spend six years in a federal prison.

Ricky Dennis and Jeremy Bellows were convicted in June following a trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops on charges of aggravated assault and witness intimidation. Dennis was sentenced on Thursday (Oct. 29).

The court heard Dennis and Bellows stormed into the North Kamloops home of Matthew Carstairs on Aug. 21, 2018, with a plan to beat and mutilate the 29-year-old drug dealer. Carstairs had been co-operating with police investigating an unrelated shooting, earning himself the title of snitch among his criminal counterparts.

At trial, court heard Carstairs was given three options for punishment — have the fingers of one hand severed, have the word “rat” burned into his flesh or have the word “rat” cut into his chest. Carstairs chose the latter and the mutilation was carried out.

“It was to provoke a state of fear and the intention was to impede him in his testimony,” Crown prosecutor Sarah Firestone said. “The beating, in fact, had its intended effect temporarily, in that Mr. Carstairs initially declined to give police a full statement.”

Dennis, Bellows and a third alleged attacker, Shane Cameron, were described in court as gangland enforcers led by Cameron.

Firestone said the attack on Carstairs was especially gruesome.

“This was an extremely violent and shocking assault, not only involving a beating, but a mutilation,” she said. “These are long-lasting injuries in terms of leaving scars on his body … simply for having that label — rat.”

Carstairs testified against Dennis and Bellows at trial. He also testified last year in the trial of the suspect in the shooting he helped police investigate.

Sheldon Tate, Dennis’ defence lawyer, said his client had an “atrocious” upbringing. He was raised by his grandparents in Fort St. James and his mother was murdered when he was a teenager.

Tate said Dennis has a good job lined up for when his incarceration ends, work that will take him away from Kamloops and his criminal connections. Dennis said he’s looking forward to a fresh start after prison.

“I just want to say I do really want to be on the streets and I am working on starting my life now,” the 34-year-old said. “I just want to get my family back and I think this is the way to do it. I just want to throw that out there.”

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley sentenced Dennis to six years in a federal penitentiary.

“There is no question that, although Mr. Cameron was the leader, the entire group was involved in the enterprise,” he said. “It was also apparent that the purpose of the beating was to deliver a message to Mr. Carstairs not to co-operate with the police and to deliver a message in general that to co-operate with the police was not a healthy choice.”

After being given credit for time served, Dennis has about 33 months left to spend behind bars.

Bellows will be sentenced at a later date. Last year, Cameron pleaded guilty to his charges stemming from the incident.

READ MORE: Kamloops police make arrests in kidnapping and murder

READ MORE: No injuries after three simultaneous house fires spark in Kamloops

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

B.C. gang problem

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bella Coola RCMP are alerting residents that the road between 4 Mile subdivision and downtown will be closed until at least tomorrow. (File image)
Winter storm closes 4 Mile to downtown road in Bella Coola

Police it will remain closed until Saturday, at least

The Bella Coola area also received a large dump of snow as seen here Friday, Nov. 27, but by the afternoon it had started to rain there. (submitted photo)
Update: More than 900 Bella Coola customers without power, expected to last overnight

Highway 20 remains closed between Anahim Lake and Bella Coola Friday, Nov. 27

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Ruby Squinas photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Heavy rainfall is expected through the region through today and into Friday (Caitlin Thompson photo)
High streamflow advisory issued for Bella Coola, Central Coast

The heaviest rain is expected Thursday night and into Friday and is expected to ease later Friday

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Most Read