An ailing 89-year-old pensioner could not sleep or return home because she feared for her safety after being burgled, a court has heard.
At sentencing in Kaitaia District Court last week, Judge Greg Davis told 35-year-old Awanui man Justin Kane Cowan how badly his offending had impacted his elderly victim.
Some of the property taken, and not recovered, had had significantly greater sentimental than intrinsic value, he said, adding that the victim impact statement made harrowing reading.
"You stole some very personal items that will not be much use to anyone else but which she can never replace," he said. They included a jewellery strap made from a WWII propeller by her brother while he was serving overseas.
Cowan, who had admitted one charge of burglary at an earlier appearance, was sentenced to four months' community detention and 12 months' supervision. He was also ordered to pay reparation of $1278, at the rate of $10 a week.
According to the prosecution Cowan went to the victim's address at Waiharara in February last year, smashing a ranchslider to gain entry.
He closed the interior blinds so he could not be seen then ransacked the house, taking jewellery, a Freeview decoder, CDs, several baskets of frozen meat and a container of petrol.
Counsel Wayne Cribb told the court the offence was linked to excessive alcohol consumption, his client's response to personal trauma.
The defendant had no recollection of the offence, could not believe that he had committed it and believed he would not have committed it had he been in his right mind, counsel said. Cowan's remorse was "extreme and genuine".
- The Northland Age