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Police officers check out the victim's home on Piercy Avenue in Courtenay, B.C., as part of their investigation last September ((CBC))

A 19-year-old man from Courtenay, B.C., has been sentenced to seven years in prison for a vigilante killing sparked by a false allegation of rape.

Clifford Frederic Martin pleaded guilty to manslaughter after he admitted to beating 19-year-old Cory Headen in the head with a baseball bat as he lay sleeping in his bed.

The incident began last September when a 13-year-old girl and her friend told Martin and his girlfriend that Headen had sexually assaulted her while the two were drinking with some other young people at Headen's home.

Martin broke into Headen's home that night with the girl and his girlfriend and struck Headen three times in the head and torso with an aluminum baseball bat as he lay sleeping in his bed.

Headen was rushed to hospital in critical condition and later died of his injuries. The girl's allegation of rape was later proven untrue.

'Stupid, drunken, immature girls'

In delivering the sentence, Provincial Court Judge Peter Doherty described the teens who accused Headen of rape as "stupid, drunken, immature girls" who delivered a vile message.

Doherty wondered why Martin had accepted their words without question.

The judge imposed a lesser sentence than the nine years requested by the Crown because Martin had no criminal record, co-operated with police and apologized to the victim's family in court.

Outside the court, Martin's lawyer, Robert Mulligan, described the crime as a mistaken judgment that led to a tragedy but said his client's chances for rehabilitation were good since Martin has no criminal record and was truly remorseful for what he did.

Martin's girlfriend, Janelle Peyachew, still faces charges of break and enter, mischief and accessory after the fact to murder. She is due in court on Aug. 26.