The Bundaberg floods caused widespread devastation.
The Bundaberg floods caused widespread devastation. Alistair Brightman

Man who looted flood homes sentenced to jail

A MAN who looted two North Bundaberg homes during the January floods will spend the next three months behind bars for the crime a magistrate described as a "double kick in the guts" to the community in crisis.

Kai Phillip Murgatroyd, 27, was drunk on January 27 when he broke into a home and stole butter, a carton of beer and cash from the home owner's wallet.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens yesterday told Bundaberg Magistrates Court the occupant was home when Murgatroyd broke in and he quickly alerted nearby police.

"That's the bastard there," the victim told police when he spotted Murgatroyd outside his house.

Because the bridges were closed, police were unable to arrest Murgatroyd and take him to the watch house so they instead issued him with a notice to appear and kindly dropped him at an evacuation centre.

But just one hour later he was back at it again with a witness spotting him remove a whipper snipper from another North Bundaberg home and hide it in the shadows.

"The defendant's actions contrast the heroic actions of ADF personnel, emergency services and ordinary Bundaberg people who just days before jumped into little boats with no regard to their own safety and rescued stranded victims.

"(They) thought nothing of filling in sandbags for friends and neighbours or doing kind deeds for strangers like driving around Bundaberg and offering strangers a cool drink or a helping hand or volunteering with the mud army," Sgt Stevens said.

Lawyer Gavin James said Murgatroyd had become trapped in North Bundaberg after driving to Moore Park Beach to feed his partner's cats and that his client was drunk and remembered little of the night in question.

"It's a time when people have lost their lives, it's a time when there's huge financial loss to public and personal property and it's a time when emergency services are stretched to the limit," Magistrate Deb Vasta said.

"It destroys people's faith in human nature."

Murgatroyd was sentenced to 12 months' jail with parole release after three months on September 23.



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