Prolific criminal gets 8.5 years for Surrey robbery, kidnapping

NEW WESTMINSTER — A prolific criminal has been sentenced to eight and a half years in prison, less credit for time served, for his role in a convenience store robbery turned fatal and a separate robbery and carjacking that happened a couple weeks after that.

Justice Janice Dillon, in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, sentenced Ian Clifford Langthorne, 30, after he pleaded guilty to robbing Alok Gupta on Christmas Day, 2011 and kidnapping Nathaniel Wall on Jan. 12, 2012.

After receiving credit for time served, Langthorne’s remaining sentence to be served is five years and 30 days.

"Langthorne still is at high risk to re-offend and poses a substantial risk to the public," the judge noted.

Gupta, 28, had been shot dead by Langthorne’s partner-in-crime, Surrey resident William Andrew Whiteside.

Whiteside, 25, was sentenced in 2013 to 15 years and one month in prison for killing Gupta in 2011, after pleading guilty to manslaughter and robbery. He’d originally been charged with second-degree murder.

"I did not mean to kill Mr. Gupta and I am very remorseful for it," Whiteside told Judge Jim Jardine during his sentencing hearing in Surrey provincial court.

Whiteside claimed he had no idea why the gun went off.

Gupta, 28, had volunteered to work a shift at Ken’s Grocery, in Surrey’s Royal Heights neighbourhood, as a favour to another clerk so she could see a movie with a friend. He had been in Canada on a student visa and was enrolled in the marketing and business management program at Surrey’s Kwantlen Polytechnic, maintaining a 3.86 grade point average. In India, he’d already earned an MBA and a degree in mechanical engineering.

Half an hour before he was killed, Gupta had been chatting online with his mom and dad in India, and they were teasing him that he should get married before turning 30. He was their only son.

Whiteside, for his part, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, was put into a foster home at age 12 and had since lived a "nomadic" and "institutionalized" life.

He was 21 when he shot Gupta, at the corner of 117B Street and 96th Avenue, at about 4 p.m. Christmas Day.

During Langthorne’s sentencing hearing, on February 5, 2015, the court heard that over Christmas 2011 he and Whiteside had been staying at a friend’s house along with others they’d been partying with.

The court heard Whiteside stole a car and that he and Langthorne had ventured out to buy some drugs, but didn’t have enough cash, so Whiteside suggested they rob Ken’s Grocery Store, at 11779 96th Ave. in Royal Heights.

Whiteside carried a loaded, sawed-off rifle to rob under his clothing. The court heard Langthorne didn’t have a weapon, but entered the store with Whiteside and grabbed $55 from the cash register while Whiteside pointed the gun at Gupta. Langthorne had left the store before the shooting, Which Whiteside claimed was an accident.

The robbers drove off in the stolen car. The court heard Whiteside believed Langthorne heard the shot because Langthorne accosted him after they took off, calling him an "f—ing retard."

The pair set the stolen car on fire near a truck yard, spent the cash on speed, then went back to their friend’s Christmas dinner, not knowing Gupta had died.

Whiteside was arrested at Burger King on Dec. 29, 2011, with the loaded rifle. Police then set up surveillance on Langthorne.

Wall was robbed at Cedar Gardens apartments in Whalley for $30 and three credit cards. The court heard Langthorne came at him from behind, pushed a knife into his throat and told him, "I got a knife. Don’t move or I will slit your throat, this is a knife, do you believe me?"

Wall was kidnapped but escaped by jumping from his own car and chipped his front tooth on the pavement.

At Langthorne’s sentencing hearing, Dhillon noted Langthorne has a "long and disturbing criminal record" with 68 convictions.

She noted Langthorne had an "exceedingly chaotic and horrific upbringing" that saw him placed in more than 50 foster homes.

Surrey Now