Teen rugby player behind burglaries


A talented Hawke's Bay rugby player appeared in court yesterday where he was sentenced on six counts of burglary.

Vinny Guildford, 17, a current Hurricanes under 18 representative, has also played for Hawke's Bay age group teams and in the 1st XV of his high school team. His first cousin is former All Black Zac Guildford.

He appeared in Napier District Court yesterday where Judge Geoff Rea declined permanent name suppression and sentenced him to 200 hours community work and nine months supervision.

The court heard on March 30 of this year Guildford had been drinking at a property in Taradale before he unlawfully entered six properties on two suburban streets as he made his way home.

He entered the first property through a closed gate and made his way round to the back of the section. From inside an unlocked garage he removed a torch, which he took with him and left the property. At the second address he took a $2000 racing bike, which he stashed in bushes outside the house, and an assortment of frozen food.

He entered another address where he took a pair of jandals from the front door and removed keys, perfume and a phone charger from inside a car.

From the next address he took a skateboard which he hid under a real estate sign. At another address he took a cellphone.

His burglary spree ended when he woke one of the neighbours, who called the residents of the house Guildford was in, causing him to run away.

Police located him a short time later, where he denied having anything to do with the offending.

A police dog traced Guildford back to the properties and he was subsequently arrested.

He told police he took the items from cars not houses and said he sometimes did "stupid stuff".

At a previous appearance, Guildford pleaded guilty to six charges of burglary.

His lawyer, Michael McAleer, sought for his client to be discharged without conviction and for his name to be permanently suppressed. He said Guildford had been drinking before the offending occurred and had "blacked out".

Judge Rea said Mr McAleer was trying to minimise the offending by playing it off as a youthful adventure. He said the offending was serious and deliberate and could not be dealt with by being discharged. He said the victims were "unimpressed" and spoke of their sense of violation. Judge Rea said while the offending was not at the top end of burglaries, that fact did not minimise the charges.

In his application for permanent name suppression Mr McAleer referenced past media attention on the Guildford family. Judge Rea said he could not allow name suppression based on how the media may report the offending.

Guildford is planning to appeal the decisions made in court and his family have decided not to comment while the appeal is underway.


- Hawkes Bay Today

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