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Relatives of a 52-year-old mother of three killed by a teenage car thief trying to elude police say they are satisfied with the adult sentence given to the youth.

Archibald Billard, 17, of Dartmouth was sentenced yesterday to 5½ years in custody. He has already served almost one year of that sentence in a youth detention centre.

The judge hearing the case said a shorter youth sentence wouldn't reflect the severity of the crime: a high-speed car chase that resulted in the death of teacher's aide Theresa McEvoy.

The victim's brother, Joe McEvoy, told reporters the adult sentence was needed to publicly denounce what Mr. Billard did.

"There are no winners in this case," said Mr. McEvoy, flanked by his sister's family. "It is important that a strong message be sent that violent acts such as this will not be tolerated."

Ms. McEvoy, 52, was driving in Halifax on Oct. 14, 2004, when her station wagon was broadsided by a stolen car driven by Mr. Billard, who was 16 at the time.

The teen had stolen the car from nearby Lower Sackville and was driving with four passengers, who each suffered minor injuries. He told police he was so high on marijuana he had no idea how fast he was driving, though a police officer estimated the speed at more than 100 kilometres an hour.

The youth later pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving while evading police causing death.

"You have caused great harm by the commission of your crime," Judge James Burrill told Mr. Billard, who did not speak during the sentencing. "You have caused immeasurable harm . . . and showed a total lack of respect for other members of your community."

Judge Burrill ordered the teen to begin his sentence at a youth jail in Waterville, N.S., because of its rehabilitation programs. He will be able to eligible for early release after serving one-third of his sentence. If he is still in custody when he turns 20, he will be sent to a federal prison.

He was also banned from driving for 10 years after his release, will not be allowed to own a firearm for 10 years and must submit a DNA sample.

Defence lawyer Warren Zimmer had asked for a three-year youth sentence. Crown attorney Gary Holt asked for a six-year adult sentence with credit for time served.

The case led to public outcry after it was learned the youth had been released from custody two days before the fatal accident. There was a warrant for his arrest on 26 charges in Halifax at that time.

A public inquiry begins Monday into the case.