An ex-Illawarra man who fled interstate after breaking into an elderly couple's home at Kiama in 2006 has finally faced justice 14 years later.
David Johnson, 39, was apprehended in Western Australia earlier this year and extradited to New South Wales to face a break and enter charge dating back to February 2006.
A set of agreed facts tendered to Wollongong District Court reveal Johnson broke into the elderly couple's duplex home on Manning Street sometime between 9pm on February 21 and 6.45am on February 22, by removing a flyscreen from the laundry and pushing open a window.
Once inside the house, Johnson took the female victim's handbag, which contained $800 cash, her personal cards including drivers licence, pension card and Visa card, along with her house keys, car keys, two wallets and prescription sunglasses valued $350.
He also took $20 from the kitchen bench and $360 found in an envelope in one of the home's drawers.
The money was earmarked to pay for groceries and bills, the couple told police at the time.
Johnson then unlocked the rear sliding door and left the premises.
Johnson's fingerprints were found at the scene but by the time police had matched them to Johnson, he had fled interstate to Queensland.
The court heard far from turning his life around, Johnson had gone on to become a "career criminal" with a penchant for carrying out burglaries.
He currently has a staggering 47 break and enter charges on his criminal record and has served jail time in four states.
In court on Thursday, Johnson said he'd committed the crimes in order to get money to fund his drug habit.
"While on drugs I committed a lot of offences," he said.
"I've run away from all my problems in the past, I was cowardly and self centred, I ran away from life. What I've done is unspeakable."
However, Johnson claimed he wanted to turn his life around and was committed to attending a drug rehabilitation program at The Glen on the Central Coast.
"I'm excited for change - I have hope for the future I've never had before," he said.
"I believe I need strict residential rehab to deal with life on life's terms. I need to learn to live life outside jail."
Judge Stephen Norrish was critical of Johnson's lengthy criminal record and highly dubious of his desire to change given his pattern of offending in the past.
"He continued his criminal conduct for an extended period of time, requiring substantial periods of prison," Judge Norrish said.
"The is is a man who just continues to offend over and over again."
He also labelled a psychological report that placed Johnson in a low to moderate risk of reoffending as "frankly delusional".
He sentenced Johnson to two years and three months' jail, with a non-parole period of one year.
With time served, Johnson will be eligible for supervised parole in July 2021.