Dad, kids terrorised by teen car thief with machete

A MACHETE-WIELDING teenager and two co-offenders smashed and kicked their way into a home, demanding the keys to a frightened family's vehicle.

As the children screamed in fear, the intruders grabbed a famale victim's purse and phone, and the 16-year-old offender and his older brother drove off with their friend in the family's Holden Commodore.

Just down the road from the victim's house at Chinchilla, a grass fire destroyed an Audi sedan that had been stolen earlier from a house at Booval, and the teen was later charged with its theft and arson.

Details of the teen's ongoing and alarming criminal exploits were revealed in Ipswich Children's Court when he went before judge Dennis Lynch QC for sentence.

Crown prosecutor Farook Anoozer sought a sentence of between two and three years in a youth detention centre, to serve a minimum 70 per cent because of the seriousness of his offending.

Mr Anoozer said there had been an escalation in seriousness of his crimes.

The youth had 10 pages of criminal history that was before Judge Lynch.

While in custody, the boy had become a father, Judge Lynch was told.

The 16-year-old pleaded guilty to burglary by break when armed and in company; armed robbery in company; stealing; three charges of unlawful use of a motor vehicle; arson of a motor vehicle; and three counts of stealing fuel.

Agreed Crown facts detailed by Judge Lynch included the theft of a blue Holden Commodore from Toowoomba on October 24 last year.

The car was later seen at Caltex Booval, where $56 in fuel was stolen.

The Commodore was located at Inala four days later, with the teen's fingerprints identified.

A Great Wall ute was stolen overnight on November 1 from Toowoomba with Ipswich police spotting it at 4am on November 2 in Leichhardt.

Judge Lynch heard it was being driven in the dark with no headlights.

When police tried to intercept, the stolen car sped away and was later found abandoned at Silkstone.

A 21-year-old man at Booval heard a noise at 12.40pm on November 2 and found his uninsured silver Audi missing from outside his house.

The Audi was used to steal $53 petrol from a 7-Eleven service station at West Ipswich.

By 5.40pm that same day the Audi was spotted at Dalby, being driven at speed.

It was later left parked on dry grass at Chinchilla and the heat from the engine started small fires, with the teen offender walking away after he saw the embers.

The car was left a short distance from where the Chinchilla home invasion took place, about 7.30pm.

A 46-year-old father saw a male in his yard and told him to leave, then saw two other males near a silver Audi.

Back inside his house with his wife and three children he heard kicks to his front door then the sound of glass door panels being smashed.

The front door flew open and the teen walked inside holding a machete while yelling "where are your f***ing car keys".

A male, alleged to have been his brother, threw a high chair at the father and also demanded the car keys.

They drove off in a Holden Commodore which was used soon after to steal petrol worth $83 from BP Chinchilla.

At 11.30pm that night police arrested the offenders at a house in Dalby.

The court heard the teen had been held in custody since November 3.

His defence barrister Nicholas Bennett said his client must serve time in detention.

He said the teenager had been involved in "significant substance misuse".

Mr Bennett said the teen was not usually violent but committed offences to fund his drug addiction.

"He is a young Aboriginal man in custody who missed the funeral of his grandmother. He became a father in custody and has had no contact with his child," he said.

"For the first time he has expressed an interest in drug counselling."

The court heard that one of his co-accused, his 19-year-old brother, was yet to finalise his court matters.

For the armed robbery Judge Lynch imposed a sentence of an 18-month detention order with release after he serves half the sentence.

Judge Lynch said it was serious offending and two victim impact statements revealed the loss of a sense of safety and comfort at home.

"It was a terrifying experience for the family to have the door kicked in. He (father) can still hear the screams of terror from his children," Judge Lynch said.

"It caused a great deal of ongoing anxiety to his family.

"He felt a degree of guilt that he was not able to protect his family."

Judge Lynch said that sadly he had a lengthy criminal history that started at the age of 12 and had been dealt with by the Children's Court multiple times for break and enters, car stealing and burglary.

He noted that the teen told his girlfriend he stole the car in Ipswich to drive to Toowoomba to get drugs.

"Sadly you have had a real lack of parental and family support," he said.

"Significantly you have now expressed a change of attitude."

No conviction was recorded because of the likely impact on future employment prospects.


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