The man convicted of driving drunk and killing an RCMP officer three years ago in Langford will be getting limited day parole to attend alcohol abuse treatment.
Kenneth Fenton was handed a five-and-a-half year prison sentence in July 2017 and his first parole hearing was held Monday, Jan. 21 at a medium-security prison in Abbotsford, B.C.
Fenton told a parole board panel that driving drunk was the “most devastating decision” he has ever made and he understands it’s unfair that he’s still here while an “innocent mother” can’t go home to her children.
Parole Board of Canada member Catherine Dawson told Fenton that he still struggles with being honest and she’s concerned that it took him so long to realize that he’s an alcoholic.
She and another board member decided to allow Fenton to go to a treatment centre in the Fraser Valley to complete a program lasting about 70 days, before he returns to prison and the board decides next his steps.
Beckett, a 32-year-old mother of two boys, had recently returned from maternity leave when she was killed in the Greater Victoria suburb of Langford in April 2016.
Fenton’s trial heard that his truck was travelling at up to 90 kilometres an hour when it rammed Beckett’s RCMP cruiser at an intersection. He ended up pleading guilty to charges relating to driving with blood alcohol content of over 0.08 and causing an accident resulting in bodily harm, as well as failing to stop for police. He was also given a driving prohibition of up to five years to follow after his release.
The court heard that he was speeding away from another police cruiser that had just turned on its lights to pull him over seconds before the crash.
Const. Beckett’s husband, Brad Aschenbrenner said he was unaware the parole decision was coming down today. He felt betrayed by the choice to let Fenton seek treatment outside prison.
“The court system of Canada has failed Sarah the entire time and I thought that the parole board would actually give some type of light at the end of the tunnel…” he said. “Now I just feel disheartened and disgusted and I don’t have any belief that it will.”
Just over a month after crashing into Const. Beckett’s patrol car, Fenton was involved in another crash that also caused serious injuries, this time to a female passenger.
– With files from the Canadian Press