Robert Edwin White built this dungeon in the basement of a north Pickering farmhouse with the intention of kidnapping his ex-wife's friend and confining her inside.
Credits: POLICE PHOTO
OSHAWA, ON -- The man who built a dungeon in an abandoned Pickering, Ont., farmhouse as part of a plot to imprison his ex-wife's friend was sentenced to 16 months behind bars.
In delivering her sentencing Thursday, Justice Mary Teresa Devlin sided with the Crown's recommendation that Robert Edwin White, 45, should serve two years less one day in prison.
"This sentence does not penalize Mr. White for what could have happened, a consideration that both counsel submitted would be inappropriate," Devlin told court. "Instead, this sentence does penalize Mr. White for what did occur, with a focus on the reason for his repeated illegal entries to the property which were part of his disturbing plan to construct an impenetrable prison for the explicit purpose of kidnapping and imprisonment."
White's defence lawyer, Paul Affleck, asked for a prison term of seven to nine months.
Because his client had already served 235 days in jail, equivalent to eight months, he will serve another 16 months to complete his sentence.
White had pleaded guilty to one count of breaking-and-entering with the intent to commit forcible confinement.
The court previously heard White had planned to abduct Gwen Armstrong, his ex-wife Patricia Gallagher's friend, and ask for a ransom as she remained confined in the dungeon east of Toronto, which had chains hanging from the ceiling, several plastic jugs of water and was completely sealed with a reinforced door.
The strife stemmed from White's belief Armstrong was restricting him access to his two children.
Devlin said two years in prison is a significant term for a first-time offender because it addresses "the protection of society" and acts as a deterrent.
The judge also considered the "extremely serious nature of the charge," including White's plan to kidnap Armstrong based on his perceptions of being wronged, the 18 months White stuck to his plan to build the dungeon and "the fact that Mr. White never relinquished his plan."
White, dressed in a baby-blue shirt, black leather jacket and jeans, appeared solemn as Devlin handed down her sentence. The only time he spoke was to thank her for her recommendation to send him to Ontario Correctional Institute (OCI) in Brampton, Ont.
Devlin thanked White's parents -- Carol and Jim -- for attending court each day and called them courageous for supporting their son.
"We are, in a way, disappointed with the sentence, but maybe for the long run, it's going to be for the best," an emotional Jim White said outside of court. "He's going to go where he can hopefully get the help he needs.
"He's a good person, he's a good father."
Affleck did not wish to say much about the decision, only mentioning he hopes White will benefit from being at OCI.
Armstrong and Gallagher did not appear in court for the sentencing, according to lead investigator, Durham Regional Police Det. Const. Malcolm Wilson.
"There have been safety measures put in (after White is released) but I can't talk about that," Wilson said. "They're at home today. I will be communicating with them. They're concerned, but they're OK. Courts have made a decision that's fair."