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Love leads to prison sentence

October 04, 2013 - 2:46 PM

KAMLOOPS - The other half of a pair of identity thieves busted in June near Barriere with a large quantity of stolen goods was sentenced to house arrest yesterday in B.C. Supreme Court.

Matthew Arthur Stuthard was brought in to sit next to his common law partner and criminal accomplice, Mandy Burton, to deal with the administrative matter of reissuing personal belongings.

Despite a lengthy lecture from B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sheri Donegan yesterday about who she associates with, Burton looked at him and smiled as he sat down beside her.

Burton was handed a 14-month conditional sentence order yesterday — a prison sentence to be served within the community — and 18 months probation for her part in an incident dating back to June 7 of this year.

She faced multiple charges including identity theft, possession of stolen property over $5,000, possession for the purpose of trafficking and a breach.

The sentence differed from that of Stuthard, who was sentenced to three years in prison on Oct. 1 for his part in the matter.

The defence explained how Burton began her criminal career: 'she met somebody, she fell in love' and everything went downhill from there.

Burton, 30, led a seemingly average life, working as an office manager at a car dealership for six years, until she began using crystal meth, was unable to pay a mortgage on her Abbotsford home and sought alternative revenue. The defence said Stuthard fed her addiction, and it ultimately led her to find a way to pay for it. She agreed to be the driver in this case, to be paid 'a very nominal sum' for her service, carrying over 1,000 pieces of illegal identification cards, including 10 passports, a credit card encoding machine, blank cards, laptops and cell phones along with 11.5 litres of GHB — the date rape drug — a meth pipe and about 50 grams of methamphetamine.

Donegan said Burton is fortunate to have supportive family — her mother and sister were in court, and her father agreeable to her living with him for the conditional sentence order. Donegan said associating herself with 'persons like Mr. Stuthard', who has a lengthy criminal record, have led her astray from being a productive and social member of society, now dependent on criminal behaviour to feed her addiction. She did not, however, order Burton to stay away from Stuthard.

"You're 30 years old, you can make decisions now about who you want to associate with," she said. "If you can adhere to the conditions, can engage in treatment and get your life back on track, I expect we won't see you before the courts again."

Burton was agreeable.

"Going to jail really opened my eyes," she said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email: jwallace@infotelnews.ca, call: (250) 319-7494 or tweet: @jess__wallace

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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