Sexual abuse claim was spark for "doing a home invasion"

A WOMAN who broke into her neighbour's house and declared she was "doing a home invasion bitches" has escaped spending time behind bars.

The 25-year-old used a broom handle to smash her neighbour's window before entering the Riverview home with an accomplice via the unlocked front door in November 2014.

After the woman had shouted abuse at the family, including two young teens who were hiding, she then threatened more violence if the police were called.

On the way out the woman smashed a fish tank, Ipswich District Court heard on Wednesday.

The maximum penalty for a violent home invasion is life behind bars.

But the woman was only sentenced to 15 months with immediate parole for the aggravated burglary charge and three months for wilful damage related to breaking the fish tank.

Defence lawyer Julie Sharp told the court the woman, who has no criminal history, had acted "out of character".

Two weeks before the home invasion, one of the teens living next door had told the woman facing court that she was being sexually abused by her father, Ms Sharp said.

Ms Sharp argued that had raised issues for the woman who was herself sexually abused at the age of 16.

"She lost control and went next door and committed the offences," Ms Sharp said.

"It's my understanding charges have since been laid against the father.

"(The defendant) is genuinely remorseful for her conduct."

Ms Sharp then told the court the woman's medical history was "hundreds of pages" long and included details of a long-standing issue with bulimia and a possible diagnosis of bi-polar.

At the time of the offence, the woman wasn't taking her anti-psychotic medication because she was pregnant.

Regardless of the reasons, Crown Prosecutor James Marxson said the woman knew what she was doing was wrong and that her actions would terrify the family.

"She smashed a window and claimed she was going to kill their mother," Mr Marxson said.

"Needless to say, vigilantism is not to be tolerated in society."

Judge Homeman-Wren agreed, saying while the background information put the crime into context, it was not an excuse.

"Taking matters into your own hands is entirely unacceptable," Judge Homeman-Wren said.

"These sorts of crimes committed against people in the safety of their own homes are particularly serious.

"It must have been particularly harrowing for the teens in the house."

When sentencing the woman, Judge Homeman- Wren took into account the woman's lack of criminal history, that the behaviour was an "aberration", her unfortunate personal circumstances and her expressions of remorse - detailed in a hand-written letter presented to the court.

"You are now a prisoner, but a prisoner living in the community," Judge Homeman-Wren said.

The woman lost her blue card for working with children and was sentenced to a total of 18 months imprisonment, to be served con-currently, with immediate parole.

Editor's note: The QT has not named the woman in this story to protect the identity of victims of sexual abuse.

Topics:  burglary ipswich crime ipswich district court

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