Housemate hell over ‘bills’
SHAREHOUSE life turned into a nightmare for two women who were renting with a man who had an explosive outburst.
An Ipswich court this week heard one of the women later told police she was choked and blacked out, while the other said the man deliberately smashed a glass mirror and cabinet on the front lawn at her mother's home after she fled the scene of the trouble.
In one incident, Wheeler knocked down a brick fence of an elderly woman's house by after running in to it with his car.
Details of the ugly mayhem emerged in Ipswich Magistrates Court when Jeff Wheeler appeared for sentence on a series of offences.
Jeffrey Michael Wheeler, 39, from Gailes, pleaded guilty to two counts of assaults on January 25, 2019; two counts of using a carriage service to menace/harass on March 8 and March 9; causing wilful damage on March 6; failing to comply with duties of a driver involved in a crash on March 7, 2019; wilfully making unnecessary noise or smoke; and breach of bail condition.
Prosecutor Sergeant Trent Voigt said Wheeler had history for drug and property offences, with an assault causing bodily harm conviction following a work related incident not long before the current court matters.
Sgt Voigt said the previous assault offence involved Wheeler attacking a person after he was terminated from his employment.
Sgt Voigt said the former housemate was a woman aged 40. The first incident involved Wheeler slapping her with an open hand, causing her to fall.
This was followed by a second assault when he punched her, before putting her in a choke-hold with his right arm around her throat.
The victim later said she blacked out after yelling for help.
On March 6, Wheeler drove to the Goodna home of another housemate's mother after that young woman moved out.
Her mother saw him unload his reddish brown Holden Commodore and "dump" her daughter's mirror cabinet in the front yard.
NBN workers nearby saw him deliberately smash the furniture and drive off, the mother going outside to pick up the broken pieces.
On March 7 at 4.45pm Wheeler returned to the mother's house and wanted to speak to the former housemate.
The court heard Wheeler was seen to again smash up the broken mirror cabinet.
Wheeler drove off, revving his Commodore engine loudly and left two skid marks on the footpath.
Soon after, the Commodore was driven into Scott St at Goodna and as it entered a driveway its side scraped a brick fence causing it to break apart.
The court was told Wheeler left the 40-year old woman feeling threatened when he tried to call her 21 times, sent more than 50 text messages, and left 37 voice -mail messages.
One text states; "I'd bury you little ---t. You look stupid with all that shit on your face".
He was also charged with harassing a male with a series of calls and voice messages. He believed the man to be a relative of one former housemate. The the victim told police he was sick of Wheeler harassing him.
The court heard Wheeler received scratches to his back and had been bitten in the incident involving the 40-year-old woman.
"I was getting punched in the head," Wheeler said.
His barrister, Clare Hurley, said it seemed the scratches related to children.
Ms Hurley said there had been financial issues involving the woman who he first met at a methadone clinic when being treated for drug addiction.
There were issues with bills and he had the belief she was involved in drugs.
"He had been losing sleep over the stress of the situation," she said.
"It got to the point (after losing his job) his savings were depleted and he advertised on Gumtree for another boarder.
"The second female moved in. There were delays in paying her rent."
Ms Hurley said Wheeler hoped to return to work as a welder.
Magistrate David Shepherd acknowledged that he was trying to manage a long-term drug addiction, with the court told that the assaults occurred out of frustration.
Wheeler was sentenced to nine months jail immediately suspended for the assault offences.
He received an 18-month probation order for the wilful damage and bail breach, with a $500 18-month good behaviour bond for the two offences of using a carriage service to menace/harass.
He was also ordered to pay compensation of $248 for the smashed mirror cabinet, and $550 for breaking the brick fence.