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Day parole granted to drunk driver who killed West Shore RCMP officer

The drunk driver who killed West Shore RCMP Const. Sarah Beckett in April 2016 has been granted day parole for six months.
Kenneth Jacob Fenton arrives at the Western Communities Courthouse for sentencing on July 14, 2017.

The drunk driver who killed West Shore RCMP Const. Sarah Beckett in April 2016 has been granted day parole for six months.

Kenneth Jacob Fenton was sentenced to four years in prison in July 2017 for impaired driving causing the death of Beckett, a 32-year-old mother of two young boys.

She was killed when her marked police car was struck broadside at Goldstream Avenue at Peatt Road at 3:27 a.m.

Fenton also received an 18-month sentence for driving drunk and seriously injuring a passenger in May 2016, six weeks after he slammed into Beckett’s police cruiser.

In a decision issued Friday, the Parole Board of Canada said Fenton must obey a number of conditions while on release, including abstaining from drugs and alcohol, following a treatment plan, and not owning or operating a motor vehicle.

As well, Fenton must have no contact with the surviving victim or with Beckett’s friends, family and colleagues. He has to report all intimate relationships and friendships with women, and he has to stay away from the West Shore, including the communities of Colwood, Metchosin, Langford and Sooke.

The parole board’s website notes that day parole prepares offenders for full parole or statutory release by allowing them to participate in community-based activities. They have to return nightly to an institution or a halfway house.

Fenton was granted limited day parole in January to complete a 70-day program at a treatment centre. The two-member panel, however, turned down his request to move to a halfway house after treatment, instead requiring him to return to prison.

Beckett’s husband, Brad Aschenbrenner, was unhappy with the decision Friday and expressed frustration that he was denied an opportunity to read his victim impact statement to the board.

“The first [hearing] I got notified the night before the hearing, so I didn’t get to attend to be Sarah’s voice and now I don’t get to be Sarah’s voice again,” he said.

“It’s not about me though, it’s about Sarah. It’s about that voice. It’s about the victim’s voice.”

Aschenbrenner remains dissatisfied with the sentence that Fenton received, arguing that Canada should have made an example of someone who killed an RCMP officer in the line of duty. He called the four-year sentence an “embarrassment” for a crime that devastated him, his sons, and members of the West Shore RCMP detachment.

— With The Canadian Press