ACT News

'He's in the house': terrified women barricaded themselves in bathroom

Two terrified women were forced to barricade themselves in their bathroom as a stranger invaded their home, trying to smash through the door while making sexual threats.

The teenager was sentenced last month to three years and five months imprisonment for a string of burglaries, attempted burglaries, stolen cars, indecent acts, and property damage committed between 2012 and 2015.

The ACT Supreme Court sentenced the offender to three years, five months imprisonment for a string of burglaries and ...
The ACT Supreme Court sentenced the offender to three years, five months imprisonment for a string of burglaries and other crimes. Photo: Graham Tidy

The late-night burglaries have left victims terrified, scared of the dark, suffering "hellish nightmares", and forced one to move away from Canberra to cope.

One of the more disturbing crimes occurred in the early hours of April 2014, when two friends were sleeping in a two-storey townhouse in Lyneham.

Justice Hilary Penfold
Justice Hilary Penfold Photo: Rohan Thomson

One of the women woke to a noise outside her bedroom window, and saw the offender walking back and forth between the townhouse and the complex pool.

She woke her friend and they watched the man from the window, before one of them yelled out to him to "f--- off".

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The women believed he was looking for a home to break in to.

The offender, who cannot be identified because he was a juvenile at the time, began throwing stones at the window, asking "Are you a girl?", and saying "I just want to f--- you".

He rang their doorbell several times, before trying to scale the walls.

One of the women armed herself with a knife while the other called the police.

While calling the police on a phone downstairs, one of the women saw a light flick on and heard the sound of keys.

She called out "He's in the house", and the friends ran to a bathroom, barricading the door using furniture.

Seconds later, the offender began shoving and banging on the bathroom door, armed with a frying pan.

The victims leaned against the other side of the door to keep him out.

He smashed a hole through the door, and managed to force it open by about 10cm, yelling "I just want to f--- you".

In an attempt to scare the offender, one of the women told him that the police had just arrived.

Everything went quiet, and the pair stayed in the bathroom, called police again, and waited until officers actually arrived.

The offender was gone by the time police arrived. He had taken a handbag, make-up bag, iPad, cash, and a DFAT identity pass.

He was arrested later that month, and was sentenced for that and a range of other crimes in December last year in the ACT Supreme Court.

Justice Hilary Penfold imposed a sentence of three years and five months imprisonment. The offender had already spent time in custody, and will be eligible for release in May.

He will need to be of good behaviour for three years from his release.

The court heard the victims of the Lyneham burglary had suffered significant emotional trauma.

One spoke of now being jumpy, suspicious, suffering high stress, broken sleep, and "hellish nightmares".

The other said she had been distressed by the lack of support she received from neighbours and, after the event, from the body corporate.

"She has suffered severe emotional and financial strain as a result of the incident and has felt obliged to leave Canberra," Justice Penfold wrote in sentencing remarks published on Friday.

"Her distress has affected her personal relationships in various ways, and she has lost trust in the legal system."