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Couple pleads guilty to home invasions

A husband and wife sentenced Thursday for two Cranbrook home invasions told the court they did it so they could afford to buy their daughter Christmas gifts.

Megan Wynter Sands, 28, and Terrence Albert Allan, 25, pleaded guilty this week in Cranbrook Provincial Court for carrying out two home invasions here last December.

They are two of four people charged in connection with those incidents. The co-accused are Andrew Monnette and Jay Hills. Both men are yet to enter pleas in the case.

As a result, the circumstances of the home invasions can't be published as it may interfere with a fair trial for the co-accused.

The home invasions occurred on December 18 and 26, 2013.

On Thursday, April 24, Sands pleaded guilty to six charges including robbery with a weapon, disguising her face with the intent to commit an offense, and break and enter with the use of a firearm.

Both Crown prosecutor Lianna Swanson and defense lawyer Rick Strahl agreed that a five year sentence would be appropriate.

"These were horrific cases," Swanson told Judge Grant Sheard. "The sanctity of these two homes was invaded. Somebody's worst fear is to have someone burst into their home with a firearm."

Strahl told the court that the couple, married just one month before the crimes were committed, lost custody of Sands' youngest daughter, who is six years old, in October 2013. The child was taken into the custody of the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Strahl said the couple ultimately decided to take part in the home invasions because money was tight and they wanted to be able to give gifts to the girl for Christmas.

Both Sands and Allan apologized for committing the crimes.

“I’d like to apologize for what I did, especially given the time of year I did it,” Sands said.

The court also heard about the difficult childhood both Sands and Allan had, with both spending years in foster homes.

Allan told the court that his upbringing is no excuse for his actions.

“Other people have had worse lives than me and they chose to be good. I chose to be bad instead,” he said.

Judge Sheard gave Sands a five year sentence for the home invasions, minus credit for the time she served in custody awaiting sentencing.

Terrence Allan pleaded guilty to eight charges, including uttering threats, use of a firearm in a robbery, and disguising his face.

The Crown recommended a 10-year sentence for Allan, due to his greater role in the home invasions and his longer criminal record.

However, defense counsel said a sentence of seven to eight years would be more appropriate.

For what he called “highly dangerous and terrifying conduct”, Judge Sheard decided that an eight-year sentence was deserved by Allan, minus credit for time served.

The co-accused will next appear in Cranbrook Criminal Court on May 20.

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