LOOK BACK 2013: Crime and punishment in Kamloops

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KAMLOOPS – A wonderful city, the best blooming town, the Tournament Capital of Canada — it’s not hard to find the beauty, but like anything, Kamloops doesn’t come without it’s flaws.

In 2013, police, the courts and the bad guys were busy in the city, and we took note.

A variety of trusted professionals in the city were dragged through the headlines.  RCMP members and jail guards were questioned over an incident in 2010 at the downtown Kamloops RCMP detachment involving two women. David Tompkins, a former city employed jail guard, pleaded guilty in May to breach of trust after watching two women— one with HIV — engage in sexual activity in a jail cell. Two RCMP members are expected to go to trial in the New Year related to the matter.

RCMP and city employees weren’t the only ones under scrutiny though. Kamloops public bus system had its day as well. One driver was fired after failing a sobriety test while on duty in July. Another was blamed for assaulting a passenger and was eventually exonerated — but it didn't stop the entire thing from ending up on YouTube (which actually resulted in charges against the passenger.)

A former Kamloops city councilor has been charged with two counts each of fraud, theft over $5,000 and breach of trust following an investigation into the Kamloops Heritage Railway Society. Joe Leong is expected to go to trial in the New Year.

Outside the professional world, other cases brought extra attention in the city this year. A serial rapist who targeted a Kamloops woman while she was working a couple years ago, was handed a dangerous offender designation. The status means an indeterminate sentence for Froese. The hearing was around the same time a TRU international student, Yousef Almotairi, was found guilty of jabbing another student in the eye with a pool cue at a local nightclub and was sentenced to six months in prison. He is expected to be deported from Canada following his incarceration.

We were saddened to report a Kamloops man, Michael Irving Young, was found murdered under the Overlanders Bridge on June 27. The investigation into his death is ongoing by police.

As police investigate Young’s murder, another man was found guilty of double murder recently in Kamloops more than four years after his crimes. Roy Fraser was sentenced to life in prison after a jury found him guilty of killing two Kamloops men.

Another man, Torbin Alec, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the fall after stabbing his friend Jesse Seymour to death at a party on Columbia Street in 2012. Jaipreet Toor also pleaded guilty — but to second degree murder — waiving his right to a trial and sending him straight to jail for life.

Police also recently solved a three-year old murder in the city believed to be related to gangs. It's part of the positive outlook going into 2014.  Kamloops RCMP Supt. Brad Mueller, the city’s new top cop, has reported a rise in crystal meth in the city, property theft but has vowed to continue ongoing efforts to prevent gangs from taking up roots in the city. With recommendation of the RCMP, a local rotary club spearheaded a task force to combat crystal meth.

The people have also responded. Multiple watch groups started up in town in 2013 — one in Brock and one in Westsyde.

In recognizing some of the top crime stories in Kamloops this year, InfoTel wishes you a safe holiday season.

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

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