Two young housemates who admitted to breaking into a Brownsville house have told a court they were only trying to retrieve property previously stolen from them by the home’s occupants.
The twisted tale unfolded in Wollongong District Court on Friday as the two men, Lee Wilkinson, 24, and Dale John Howie, 23, attempted to explain their actions on the night of April 4 this year.
The duo admitted they kicked their way into the home while the female occupant and her children were out, but claimed they only wanted to retrieve their possessions, which had been taken from their house a few days earlier.
Giving evidence on Friday, Wilkinson said the pair had only known the woman a short time, however she and Howie had been intimate one evening after she had been drinking at their place.
The relationship angered the woman’s teenage children, who subsequently came into the house and threatened the two men with metal poles, Wilkinson claimed.
He told the court his house was broken into a few days later, with the thieves stealing several items including money and a skateboard.
Wilkinson said he believed the woman’s family had been behind the theft, however did not report it, or the earlier threats, to police.
He said on the day he and Howie broke into the house they had originally planned on simply knocking on the front door and asking the woman for their property to be returned, as the family was moving a few days later.
However, Wilkinson said when they discovered no-one was home, they decided to break in and retrieve the items.
While inside, the pair smashed a large mirror, glass sliding doors and a TV set and left holes in the wall.
Both men conceded their actions in damaging the house had been ‘‘over the top’’ and ‘‘stupid’’, but maintained their original intention was simply to retrieve their property.
Presiding judge Paul Conlon said he was satisfied that the pair only committed the crime to retrieve their property, but said the offence remained a serious one given how much damage they did to the house.
However, he agreed to release both men on good behaviour bonds, saying they had little to no prior criminal offending, had good prospects of rehabilitation and were unlikely to commit further crimes.