04/16/2013 03:01 EDT | Updated 06/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Nanaimo man gets life for murder of young mother

A Nanaimo man has been handed the minimum sentence for murder, in the case of a young mother who was stabbed to death in a park two years ago.

Christopher James Robinson, 26, stabbed 22-year-old Brittany Baird eight times in Nanaimo’s Nob Hill Park in May 2011 in a dispute over a drug deal.

Robinson was sentenced to life in prison, with parole eligibility in 10 years in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday.

The judge imposed the minimum sentence in part because Robinson pleaded guilty after hearing that Baird's family was going through significant trauma leading up to the trial, said Crown prosecutor Frank Dubenski.

"The fact that there was a guilty plea prior to the trial, there was an expression of remorse... was significant," Dubenski said.

The victim's family continues to mourn, but is pleased with the outcome, he added.

Robinson arranged to buy $250 worth of cocaine from Baird, but had no intention of paying for it, the court heard. He stabbed Baird eight times, then ran from the scene without the drugs.

Baird's family is trying to deal with their grief while raising her three-year-old son.

“The distress was apparent in the weeks leading up to the commencement of the trial and it was a factor the accused apparently took into account in deciding to plead guilty,” said Crown lawyer Dubenski.

The Crown agreed with the defence submission that Robinson be eligible for parole in ten years.