Masked men threaten to 'stove in' home owner's head

WITH their faces hidden beneath balaclavas, four armed men ransacked an Ipswich home in a brazen daylight robbery.

The frightened resident was forced onto a bed and threatened with being stabbed and having his "head stoved in" if he resisted.

His car was stolen along with jewellery, watches, electronics, and household goods valued at $29,000.

In the Crown case, the man was targeted for money to fund drug habits.

One robber had a weekly ice habit costing more than $3000.

Three of the offenders went before Ipswich District Court for sentence - the fourth has never been identified.

Nadeem Akhatar Ali, 39, a large-built man, and Matthew Thomas Peter Rae, 30, were sentenced together after pleading guilty to entering a dwelling with intent, use/threaten violence when armed in company at Dinmore on April 16, 2018; robbery when armed and in company; and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

With his worried and upset mother seated behind him, Rae also pleaded guilty to drug offences including possession of methylamphetamine.

The third offender, Brian Reece McCaskill, 34, pleaded guilty to the same three charges but was sentenced separately. Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC said this was due to a previous incident between McCaskill and one of the co-accused.

Crown prosecutor Noel Needham disclosed that McCaskill had provided assistance to the police investigation.

McCaskill still faces other charges in the magistrates court including an allegation he used a counterfeit $50 note to pay a taxi fare at Leichhardt in March last year.

At the time of sentence Ali had spent 330 days held in custody, Rae 328 days, and McCaskill 359 days.

Mr Needham said it was a targeted and planned burglary, the victim known to be a man who had property of value.

After watching the victim's home that morning and seeing his wife leave, the four balaclava clad men drove into the yard in a black Jeep at 8am and confronted the Dinmore resident at his front door.

He was pushed and thrown to the ground, then lifted up and carried inside where he was made to sit on a couch.

Mr Needham said threats were made that he would be stabbed, beaten, and his head bashed in.

One man behaved as if he had a knife, and another robber wielded a 30cm blue ceramic and steel bat.

The man was taken into a bedroom, made to lie on a bed, with threats made his head would be stoved-in if he resisted.

After the robbers loaded up the black Jeep and the man's Toyota Corolla with stolen goods, the Jeep would not start.

One went to nearby service station to get fuel but when the Jeep still wouldn't start it was left behind and the four drove away in the Corolla.

The female owner of the Jeep, apparently a friend of McCaskill's, was instructed to report it stolen.

Mr Needham said both McCaskill and Rae were later found at the same house but denied any involvement, saying they'd been on the Gold Coast.

However, some of the stolen items were found in their rooms. Rae was wearing the man's stolen basketball guernsey.

Mr Needham said McCaskill knew a large knife was being carried by one of the offenders.

But the Crown accepted that McCaskill later co-operation with police helped "solidify" the case against the offenders.

Mr Needham said not all property was recovered, and the loss, including damage to the victim was about $14,000.

Mr Needham acknowledged while there was no gratuitous violence, it had been a pre-planned home invasion with the victim offering no resistance.

He'd told them to take what they wanted but not to harm him.

"It would have been terrifying. Particularly having to lie there helplessly," Mr Needham said.

Rae's defence barrister Geoffrey Seaholme, said Rae had made changes to his life, and attended drug rehabilitation while in jail, and reported he'd had "enough of this life".

"His offences are mostly for dishonesty to support his drug addiction," Mr Seaholme said.

"He says he was funding a $500 a day habit. That's $3500 a week."

Defence barrister John Jacob, for New Zealand born Ali, said it was not accepted that he'd been the offender who threatened to cave the man's skull in.

Mr Jacob said Ali was a former butcher who spent 13 years working in security for Queensland Health.

But the dad of five, now with a new baby, was exposed to drugs following his marriage break-down, but now saw the "awful way he was living his life", and the damage he was doing to the community.

"He is ashamed and embarrassed at the person he became," he said.

Defence barrister Clare O'Connor for McCaskill, sought his immediate release, or within two months, because of his assistance.

She said McCaskill, a dad of four, instructed he began using methylamphetamine from the age of 14, developing an addiction.

He'd attended Ipswich State High, later working in a meatworks before starting his own furniture removalist business.

While in jail he'd been working in the trusted position as cook.

Judge Horneman-Wren called it a brazen armed burglary.

"He told you to take whatever you wanted but to leave him alone. He was threatened with stabbing, beating and bashing," Judge Horneman Wren said.

"Then he was threatened to have his head caved in if he moved.

"A terrifying ordeal.

"And the community absolutely denounces this sort of conduct, a brazen, wanton home invasion of a person's home.

"Done to fuel a drug habit. To the community it is utterly repugnant."

Judge Horneman-Wren took into account that because they wore masks to disguise their identity all were equally involve in the home invasion.

So as not to create disparity in their sentences, and to give a sentence release date, they benefited as a result of the assistance given by McCaskill.

Ali and Rae were each sentenced to three years jail and will serve 18 months before being released to parole.

McCaskill was sentenced to three years but will serve 15 months.



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