A sad chapter in Squamish history wrapped up this week with the sentencing of Ryan Aldridge to five years in jail for his role in the manslaughter death of Bob McIntosh.
Ryan McMillan, the other man charged in the killing will be sentenced next Friday. He has pleaded guilty to a charge of assault.
After investigating the incident for four-and-a-half years, the Squamish RCMP arrested Aldridge in June of this year. Although they had interviewed the 25-year-old on three occasions regarding the incident, they didnt get the proof they needed until Aldridge admitted his role in the killing to undercover officers who had befriended him.
The killing took place on New Years Eve in 1998. McIntosh, a champion triathlete and father of two, had agreed to keep an eye on a friends place while they were away on holiday. When he arrived at the house accompanied by a friend, he discovered more than 100 youths inside the house, drinking and doing drugs. The two became separated trying to break up the party, and McIntosh was soon after discovered dead in one of the bedrooms upstairs.
Despite a number of witnesses, the police say the suspects used fear to create a code of silence. MacMillan was arrested five days after the killing, but the charges were stayed because of a lack of evidence and because the witnesses changed their stories.
A few weeks ago, Aldridge made a full confession to the RCMP after they showed him a videotaped plea from McIntoshs widow, Katy Hutchinson. Aldridge admitted that he landed four hard kicks to the head and neck of McIntosh. The attack tore an artery, and McIntosh died soon afterwards.
Aldridge pleaded guilty to manslaughter for his role in the attack, and on Dec. 11 was sentenced to five years in prison by a court in North Vancouver.
In his taped confession, Aldridge said it was MacMillan who had knocked McIntosh to the ground before he started kicking.
After making the confession, Aldridge wrote letters to people in Squamish and to McIntoshs family to apologize for his actions. He also apologized to the family again as he left court in the custody of police to begin serving his time.
Doug Race, a close friend of McIntosh, was at the sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
"I thought it was a fair sentence, and I think the presiding judge quite accurately grasped the elements of the offence and the aggravating features of it, and he noted them all in the reading of his sentence," said Race. "Its hard to relate years to a life, it just doesnt work, but all things considered, it was a fair sentence."
As a friend of McIntoshs and a lawyer by profession, Race said it was important to see justice being served in this case, and somebody being held accountable for the incident. "This was the day of accountability for me, for a lot of his friends and family."
Although the sentencing brought some closure to the tragedy, it was not something you would celebrate, according to Race.
"Its a sad thing really. There are no winners in something like this. (Aldridges) family was there, and Im sure theyre in great pain right now its not easy watching your son sent off to jail. And we sure didnt win, we lost a friend and a relative. There really is no win in this."
Race and other friends of McIntosh started the Squamish Triathlon as a memorial for the triathlete.
At the age of 40, McIntosh had qualified for the Canadian team twice, and competed in the world championships in England in 1995 and in Australia in 1997.
Other McIntosh memorials include a bike trail in Alice Lake provincial park, and a scholarship that grants $1,000 each year to local students that are community leaders in academics, athletics and citizenship.
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