Home invaders to compensate victims

TWO Nuriootpa men have been ordered to pay compensation to the victims of a violent home invasion they carried out in Angaston in late 2016, in what the District Court heard was a “terrifying” ordeal.

Peter Kiera Sjostrom, 32, and Joshua Luke Hitchens, 33, both of Nuriootpa, faced the District Court for sentencing on Friday, May 11, after pleading guilty to one count each of aggravated serious criminal trespass in a place of residence and theft.

The charges were in relation to a home invasion the pair committed, along with 24-year-old Gawler East man Brodie May, at a Hill Street home in the early hours of November 23, 2016.

The court heard the trio kicked down the door to the Angaston home and set about terrifying the occupants – a married couple and their two young children – before making off with a printer, a television set and a wristwatch.

May was sentenced last October to almost four-and-a-half years prison – with a non-parole period of two years, four months – for aggravated serious criminal trespass and theft, along with a number of unrelated previous offences, including trafficking in a controlled drug and bail breaches.

Earlier this month, Judge Michael Boylan handed down suspended sentences for Sjostrom and Hitchens, given they had pleaded guilty, had been making “good efforts” to behave themselves since the offending, and had a history of drug use and mental health issues.

However, Judge Boylan ordered the pair pay $2966 in compensation to the home-owner and father for financial losses he incurred as a result of the break-in.

“The incident must have been terrifying indeed for the (Angaston family),” Judge Boylan said.

“As a result of your offending, (the victim) suffered depression, anxiety and insomnia.

“He has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“His children lived in fear for sometime after your offending.

“They were too scared even to live in the house for a month or two.

“In addition to the terror which they had to endure at your hands, the family suffered financial loss.”

Judge Boylan told the pair he would have sentenced May to three years prison, alone, for his charges resulting from the home invasion, however “his position at sentence was significantly different from the position of either of you two”.

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Matteo Gagliardi joined The Bunyip in August 2016 with almost two years experience in regional print media, having previously worked at a community newspaper in Swan Hill, Victoria. Covering politics, local government and crime, Matteo likes to sink his teeth into hard-hitting issues, but also enjoys spending time getting to know the Gawler community. Matteo also has a passion for science, agriculture and the environment, and has previously worked as a media officer at the Australian Science Media Centre.

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