A man who kidnapped a young waitress from a Maple Ridge mall at gun point in January blamed crack cocaine for fueling his crime spree during a sentencing hearing Monday in Port Coquitlam Provincial Court.
Ian James William Campbell had smoked cocaine all day when he abducted the 17-year-old hostess from Westgate Centre on Jan. 19. Her identity is now protected by a publication ban.
It’s the only explanation for his bizarre behaviour, Campbell’s lawyer, Sandy Ross, told Judge Garth Smith.
Campbell, 25, has pleaded guilty to four of seven criminal charges, including using an imitation firearm, assault causing bodily harm, unlawful confinement and theft.
The 25-year-old has been in custody since he was arrested in Vancouver Jan. 22 by members of the Vancouver Police Department’s Emergency Response Team and Ridge Meadows RCMP’s Street Enforcement Unit. His arrest came after a public appeal by police for tips in the violent abduction.
The ordeal for the teen began around 8 p.m. Jan. 19, when Campbell approached her outside the Fox’s Reach Pub during a work break.
The court heard Campbell told the teen he needed help to start his broken down Cadillac sedan.
The girl went to help him. But when Campbell got into her car, he pulled out what she believed was a gun.
He yelled: “If you don’t cooperate, I will blow your … brains out.”
He then forced her to drive out of the mall in her red 1993 Honda Civic to a secluded area on Blackstock Street, where he punched and strangled her repeatedly.
Campbell also tied the teen’s hands with a dog leash and smashed her cell phone when he discovered it in her jacket.
Badly beaten, the teen still managed to fight Campbell off.
She ripped a gold cross from him during the struggle and escaped to a nearby house.
Campbell’s lawyer stressed to the court that the gun his client was using was fake.
“He did not have the intent or actual ability to use a firearm,” said Ross, explaining Campbell only kidnapped the teen because he was paranoid and panicked.
“He took this step because he wanted to get away from the mall.”
Campbell has little recollection of what he was holding, although Crown revealed he had purchased a cap gun and a dog leash from a dollar store earlier in the day.
Ross claims his client’s crack cocaine use brought on the paranoia.
Campbell believed he was being chased by drug dealers.
His paranoia was so intense that he eventually believed the teen was involved with the imaginary drug dealers and that’s why he attacked her.
“You have an offence that is very unusual,” said Ross. “In that it is not motivated by robbery, sexual assault or extortion, but rather as a result of paranoia or drug ingestion.”
After his arrest, Campbell wrote a letter to apologize to the teen and her family.
“He has been extremely apologetic and remorseful from the start,” said Ross, adding Campbell entered guilty pleas to avoid re-victimizing the teen by putting her through a trial.
Defence asked for a provincial sentence of two years less a day, plus probation for Campbell, a sentence that’s considerably lower than the three and half to five years in prison requested by Crown.
Campbell has an extensive criminal record that begins in 2002, when he was a still a youth. It includes convictions for dangerous driving, assault and fleeing from police.
In a victim impact statement read by Crown prosecutor Jay Fogel, the teen described how her wounds she sustained during the assault left her unable to walk or bathe for a week.
She still has an ugly scar on her leg that’s a constant reminder of the kidnapping. She has trouble sleeping, and when she does sleep, she has nightmares. She often has anxiety and panic attacks.
“Financially, this incident sucked, considering I had saved up for over six months to buy my first car, which I had no longer than three weeks,” said the teen. “I used to be so outgoing, carefree and trusting, and now I’m none of the above. I spent the last six months of high school afraid of the world.”
The teen still can’t leave a place or walk to her car without company, “even if it’s a friend’s house or just the driveway.”
“I am hopeful for the future, but I think it will be a long time – time I will never get back – to feel comfortable and safe again.”
Outside court, the teen and her family expressed disappointment at the short sentence Campbell’s lawyer was seeking.
“We are hoping for the maximum sentence,” said the teen’s mother.
“In addition, we are not satisfied with the fact that he has put himself into protective custody, as this does not allow him full access to counseling and the assistance with addiction. This guy needs help and he is not getting it at this point. We are concerned, but we are hopeful for the best possible outcome.”
Campbell will be sentenced next week.