UPDATED: West Kelowna mom beater sentenced to another 2.5 years in prison | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATED: West Kelowna mom beater sentenced to another 2.5 years in prison

Kevin Lee Barrett.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Facebook
January 29, 2021 - 12:07 PM

Kevin Lee Barrett has been sentenced to six years in prison today for beating his elderly mother in 2019.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Steven Wilson delivered the West Kelowna man's sentence in the Kelowna courthouse, Friday Jan. 29. Barrett has already spent the equivalent of 3.5 years in prison so will only serve another 2.5 years behind bars. He was also ordered to stay away from 80-year-old Eleanor Holmes for the duration of his sentence.

Barrett, born in 1959, was on trial for attempting to murder his mother but entered a surprise guilty plea earlier this week to aggravated assault.

In his decision, Wilson said he considered the protection of the public and of Barrett's mother.

The court heard through evidence and admissions from Barrett that he and his mother had a tumultuous relationship, largely because of Barrett, who has bipolar disorder and has been prone to violence.

On April 29, 2019 Barrett and his mother were driving in her car when he told her to stop because he wanted to drive. When she stopped, he pulled her to the passenger seat and beat her with his fists, bit her hand, hit her with a crescent wrench, yanked out handfuls of hair, gouged at her eyes and threw her dentures from the vehicle.

He then drove down a secluded road and threw her from the vehicle into a ditch. She was rescued by a passing driver a short time later and taken to hospital.

The Crown had sought a sentence of eight to nine years, while defence lawyer Jordan Watt said the range of sentences for similar offences in Canada should mean a 4.5-year jail sentence.

“It is remarkable that she does not have more significant, residual injuries,” Wilson said. “This is a very sad case. It is difficult to appreciate the psychological effects on Ms. Holmes that must have resulted from being the subject of such a brutal attack from her own son whom she continued to help when no one else would.”

Holmes said previously in her impact statement that she loved him and forgave him but she remains terrified of him.

She attended the sentencing Friday and declined to comment. Her hands were shaking prior to entering the courtroom.

Barrett's childhood included substance and physical abuse, and Barrett reported that he was sexually assaulted by a neighbour as a child, Wilson said.

His background includes mental health issues and alcohol abuse, Wilson said.

Barrett argued his mental illness should be a mitigating factor in the sentence, but Wilson said he had at various times stopped taking medications that help prevent the deterioration of his mental health.

Barrett is capable of living in the community but when he doesn't take or refused to take his medication, he becomes aggressive and detached and the decision to use the medication is a decision that lies with Barrett, Wilson said.

He also has two prior convictions for assault causing bodily harm. Barrett was on probation, having only been released five months prior for the last of three crimes of violence, Wilson said.

Wilson also considered that Barrett left his mother on a forest service road, instead of providing her with care for her injuries.

“This was an extremely vicious attack… he took steps to delay (his mother from) obtaining help,” Wilson said. Barrett took her phone and shoes and lied to a neighbour about where she was. The attack was unprovoked in a confined space where Holmes could not defend herself or escape and her decision to "play dead" likely helped her survive, he said.

“He had ample time to decide what he was going to do after his initial attack when she refused to let him drive her car. As he drove northbound on Highway 97 with his victim… he could have driven her the short distance to the hospital… but instead, he drove her 15 kilometres up a forest service road and dumped her there. After doing so, he proceeded to go to the liquor store and buy himself an ice cream,” Wilson said.

“While clearly horrific and disturbing,” Wilson said aggravating factors such as permanent injuries, being part of a larger pattern of criminal activities, or having multiple victims, were not present to warrant a sentence of more than six years, quoted as the normal range for the offence.

Barrett will also have to provide a sample of his DNA for the criminal database bank and is prevented from handling firearms or explosive substances for the rest of his life, Wilson said.

- This story was updated at 11:50 p.m. to include details on the decision.

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