NEWS

Gordon Govenlock sentenced to 22 months behind bars

12/02/2014 08:00 EST | Updated 02/01/2015 05:59 EST
The man convicted of throwing gasoline on his neighbours and threatening to light them on fire has been sentenced to nearly two years behind bars. 

Gordon Govenlock will serve 22 months, minus 95 days for time already served, behind bars for what Justice John Little called a ‘home invasion’ after an argument with his neighbours in May 2013.

The court heard the argument started when Govenlock was drinking with his neighbour Derek Burrell in their north Edmonton townhouse complex.

Catherine Burke, Burrell's girlfriend, became angry about an offensive comment Govenlock made about her and asked Burrell to tell their neighbour to stay away from their home.

Later that night, Burrell and Burke woke to gasoline being splashed on their faces while Govenlock stood over them with a propane torch and a pop bottle full of gasoline.

Meanwhile, the couple’s twin daughters were asleep in the next room.

In August, Govenlock was found guilty of break and enter, attempted arson and throwing gasoline with the intent to harm.

In court on Tuesday

On Monday, Govenlock sat in the prisoner’s box with his hand over his mouth as defense lawyer Alex Simic argued in favour of a nine-to-twelve month sentence for her client, followed by three years of probation.

But prosecutor Adam Garrett argued the sentence should be severe to deter others. Calling the incident the "stuff of nightmares,” he asked for an eight-to-ten year sentence, which would be served in a federal prison.

Simic, however, said her client was provoked, and that his actions were out of character.

Justice Little agreed that Govenlock was under a great deal of stress at the time of the attack, noting his wife was undergoing cancer treatments.

Handing down his sentence, Little also noted his decision was coloured by the facts the home invasion did not involve a physical struggle or confinement and that no one was hurt.

In the end, he sentenced Govenlock to 22 months for the break and enter, 18 months for soaking his neighbours in gasoline and 6 months for each of the lesser charges, to be served concurrently.

Govenlock showed no emotion as he was led back to the cells.

“As recognized by the court, this was a vicious attack and a traumatic experience for the complainants and we just hope they can get some closure now and move on with their lives,” said Garrett after the sentence was read.

Neither Burrell nor his wife was in court for the sentencing.

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