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Second man sentenced in brutal New West home invasion

65-year-old widower beaten, hit with a hammer, slashed with a knife during break-in.
home invasion, evidence, New Westminster Police
A police investigator searches for evidence near a Queen's Park home after a violent home invasion in the 400 block of Queens Avenue in July 2016.

A New Westminster home invasion that saw a 65-year-old man beaten, hit with a hammer, cut with a knife and then left unconscious and alone has resulted in 10-year jail sentences for two men.

In the early morning hours of July 6, 2016, robbers entered a house in the 400 block of Queens Avenue through an unlocked back door, according to court documents.

Inside, the homeowner – a man grieving his recently deceased wife – was roused from sleep by one of the intruders who demanded his wallet, bank card and security code.

For as long as an hour-and-a-half, the homeowner was then beaten, slashed and threatened while two or more strangers in their early 20s looted his home of valuables, including his late wife’s jewelry.

At one point, the 65-year-old told the man who was beating him that he didn’t care what happened to him because his wife was dead, court documents say.

“You better not let the other guy hear you say that,” was the man’s reply, according to the homeowner’s testimony.

The attack left the homeowner with a concussion, broken nose, damage to his ear, a broken tooth, broken ribs, and bruises and cuts to his face and body.

Two men charged in the home invasion were found guilty by a B.C. Supreme Court jury last June.

The pair had been tracked down with help from security video footage that captured one of the men trying to use the stolen bank card at a New West convenience store and a Surrey gas station less than 30 minutes after their victim’s 911 call.

Stephen Smith, who was 21 years old at the time of the crimes, was handed a 10-year prison sentence in January for breaking and entering, robbery, aggravated assault, unlawful confinement, possession of stolen property and fraudulent use of a credit card.

Last month, his co-accused, Victor James, who was 23 years old at the time, was sentenced to 10 years in jail for all the same crimes except the fraudulent use of a credit-card.  

In his reasons for sentence, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Riley noted James had the right to address the court before his sentence was delivered, but that James had made that impossible.

“Mr. James, who is in custody, repeatedly resisted efforts of jail staff and sheriffs to bring him to court and, when appearing by video, was so disruptive of the process that I had to remove him from the courtroom and proceed with sentencing in his absence,” Riley wrote.

James’ sentencing had already been delayed at least three times because of similar behaviour, according to Riley’s ruling.