Ice-addicted burglar leaves woman ‘prisoner in own home’
An ice-addicted schizophrenic who was on bail when he confronted a "terrified" woman inside her Ingham home during a botched night-time burglary has faced court.
Ingham man Matthew Stephen Sartor, appearing via video link from the Townsville Correctional Centre, pleaded guilty to a total of nine charges, including breaching his curfew and two burglary offences when he appeared in the Ingham Magistrates Court on Thursday.
"You break into a house and you frighten a 42-year-old woman, how do you think she's going to feel this year going home, even next year, this is going to affect you every time, every time you come home," Magistrate Peter Smid said.
"You know what she's been robbed of? She's been robbed of the innocence of living in Ingham, that's what it is and that's the worst part of it, she's now a prisoner in her own home."
Senior police prosecutor Mark Fenlon said the charges, including possession of drugs and drug driving, "speak for themselves" but the most serious offence was the burglary of the 42-year-old Ingham woman's home in the dead of night.
He was on bail for a burglary on May 5.
"It's a bit of an amateur hour attempt, but clearly in the first charge, she was absolutely terrified."
He said the charge of breaking and entering a dwelling at night carried a maximum sentence of life imprisonment because of the potential for "events to escalate."
He recommended a sentence of a term of six to nine months' imprisonment.
Defence lawyer Jamie Scuderi said Sartor, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenic in his late teens and was taking anti-psychotic medication, had fallen in with a group of older ice users.
"He has indicated that he fell into the trap of being associated with Mr [withheld] and then started using methamphetamine," she said.
"He removed himself from his otherwise stable family and also his job where he was a worker at the Ingham council for four years."
She said Sartor's behaviour escalated to feed his drug habit.
Magistrate Smid, in delivering his verdict, said people who worked hard should be safe in the knowledge that their possessions were safe "from a thief coming in and taking it".
"There is another aspect too that people should feel safe in their houses," he said.
"A 42-year-old woman, or any woman, would have thoughts racing through her head as to what her fate might be and she won't be the same because every time she comes home she wonders if there's another criminal like you," he said.
"People are asking 'how is it we can put a man on the moon, but we can't make a house safe in Ingham,' it is because of you."
He said, however, that Sartor was not yet a "hardened criminal" and had good prospects to reform himself on parole and supervision.
"I'm going to give you a make or break sentencing and I'm going to show you a great deal of leniency."
He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment on both burglary charges and set a release on parole of August 2.
Of the 12-month sentence, Sartor will serve a total of 2.5 months.