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

Jovin Walkus and Alayah Mack enjoy the Centennial Pool in summer 2020. (Geneva Walkus photo)
CCRD receives more funding for Centennial Pool project

The total funding for the project is now over $4 million

Provincial funding in the amount of $300,000 has been announced for the Cariboo Regional District’s plans to improve the Anahim Lake Airport runway. (CRD photo)
$300,000 provincial funding to fuel Anahim Lake Airport runway upgrade

The recovery grant is one of 38 announced to support jobs in rural communities

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The school is very proud of these students (pictured, left to right): Halim Demir (holding Grace Valdez’ gold certificate); Lauren McIlwain, Shayleen Mack, Jaymen Schieck, Kyle Doiron, and Finn Carlson (photo submitted)
SAMS students excel in international competition

The SAMS team swept their category this year; all six participants received awards

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Some Canadians are finding butter harder than usual, resulting in an avalanche of social media controversy around #buttergate. (Brett Williams/The Observer)
#Buttergate: Concerns around hard butter hit small B.C. towns and beyond

Canadians find their butter was getting harder, blame palm oil in part one of this series

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

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends deadline for tourism, small business COVID-19 grants

Business owners expect months more of lost revenues

Anti-pipeline protests continue in Greater Vancouver, with the latest happening Thursday, March 4 at a Trans Mountain construction site in Burnaby. (Facebook/Laurel Dykstra)
A dozen faith-based protestors blockade Burnaby Trans Mountain site in prayer

The group arrived early Thursday, planning to ‘block any further work’

Mid day at the Vancouver Port Intersection blockade on March 3, organized by the Braided Warriors. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
Anti-pipeline blockade at Vancouver intersection broken up by police

Demonstraters were demanding the release of a fellow anti-TMX protester

Most Read