The third teenage girl convicted of the brutal beating of a woman behind a Dartmouth school last year read a letter to her victim in court yesterday, moments before receiving a 15-month sentence.
Describing her role in the two-hour torture of Kathie-Lee Bennet on Sept. 20 as “unforgivable,” she vowed it would never happen again. The 15-year-old said Bennet, 18, would have to be “a very strong woman” to recover from the assault, which saw Bennet kicked, punched and burned with cigarettes. She was left with deep bruises and a fractured eye socket. The girl admitted she was present during the entire attack and that she kicked Bennet once.
Both girls were in tears as the attacker addressed the court. Bennet later asked for a copy of the letter.
Describing the teen as a “bright” girl who is easily influenced by her peers, Halifax youth court Judge Pam Williams told her she would remain in Waterville until Sept. 1. The girl, who can’t be named under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, will then likely attend school under strict supervision orders. She has been in custody for eight months.
Williams noted the girl comes from a broken home and had been bullied herself. The judge said the girl had decided “if you can’t beat them, join them. That strategy hasn’t worked.”
Brittany McNeil, 18, was sentenced to six years for leading the attack. A second teenage girl got a two-year youth sentence last month.
“Thank God this is over,” said Bennet’s grandmother outside the courtroom. She said her granddaughter wants to get on with her life and has found work as a cashier.
Crown attorney John Nisbet said Bennet had “suffered horrendously,” but was not vindictive.