Drug addiction drove burglar to target elderly home owners

A BURGLAR who targeted the homes of elderly people in Toowoomba and Dalby has been jailed.

Stephen Paul Munn, 39, pleaded guilty before Toowoomba District Court to 18 burglaries and one attempted burglary as well as to unrelated offences including the assault occasioning bodily harm of his ex-girlfriend and possessing a small amount of amphetamines.

Drug addiction had been the motivating factor behind much of his offending which left a burglary and damage bill of about $7000.

However, Judge Ian Dearden said though the victims were out of pocket by relatively small amounts, most of the victims were elderly people and it was the lasting effect and fear of having their homes broken into and property stolen that made it all the more serious.

Judge Dearden told the court his own parents lived in a retirement home and described Munn's offending as "deeply disturbing".

"These are elderly people. They could be your own family," Judge Dearden told Munn.

"These are people who deserve your respect."

Defence barrister John Bailey told the court his client had an "unenviable criminal history", but since his arrest for these matters Munn had enrolled in a rehabilitation program to turn his life around.

Judge Dearden told Munn he accepted he was trying to mend his offending ways.

"But that doesn't wipe out the appalling behaviour you have engaged in," he told Munn.

Crown prosecutor Kathleen Millican told the court the assault offence involved Munn going to his ex-partner's home, smashing a window and dragging her out into the yard where he punched her three times in the face.

"She is too afraid to provide a victim impact statement," she said.

"She's in fear. She is too scared to leave home."

Judge Dearden sentenced Munn to four years in jail, the term to be suspended after he has served 12 months, and placed him on three years probation.

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