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

From now to November, WildsafeBC will be educating the public through its various programs in the community of Bella Coola. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bears are back, and so is WildSafeBC

Rae will be working hard to reach out to community members in new and innovative ways

Bella Coola’s new WildSafeBC co-ordinator, Rae Kokeš, has spent the last 10 years in Africa working in lion, human, conflict, and is a wildlife biologist by trade. (Photo submitted)
From the savannas of Africa to the Bella Coola Valley

New Wildsafe BC coordinator ready to tackle wildlife conflict

Bella Coola Valley Ridge Riders Horse Club board member Annika Granander watches, and participates in the gymkhana Sunday (Photo submitted)
Sunshine and smiles all around Bella Coola Ridge Riders Horse Club gymkhana

The event was the first of the year, with COVID-19 safety precautions in place

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Stolen truck found broken down on Highway 97C, Williams Lake suspect arrested near Ashcroft

A security guard first noticed the truck, and thought it looked suspicious

A build up of lint in a clothes dryer is believed to have caused a house fire in Alexis Creek Sunday evening, April 4, 2021. (Photo submitted)
Clothing dryer suspected cause of Alexis Creek home fire, owner wants to warn others

Neil Miller is thankful he still has his horses, community support and his life

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Leaked report shows detailed B.C. COVID-19 data not being released to public

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Abbotsford school board trustee Phil Anderson has stepped down after sharing an offensive image on Facebook. (File photo)
Abbotsford trustee temporarily steps down after sharing post relating COVID masks to slavery

Phil Anderson to receive training to better understand provincial mask mandate after posting picture

B.C. announced the launch of an app May 7 that connects youth struggling with mental health and substance use with “life-saving” social services. (Screen grab)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youth and children launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6-million to fund a virtual care platform

Amazon has announced the creation of five new facilities in B.C., to employ about 2,000 people. (Amazon/Special to Black Press Media)
Amazon adds new facilities in Langley, Pitt Meadows, Delta, Vancouver

The Vancouver port centre will be the first Amazon centre to feature robotics in B.C.

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

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht public works dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Most Read