Drug addict's slide ends in jail
Aaron Gary Southee used to be a long-haul driver who had kept on the straight and narrow after some early brushes with the law.
But once the 40-year-old Palmerston North man started taking methamphetamine to stay awake at the wheel, things went downhill, Palmerston North District Court was told yesterday.
Southee was in court for sentence on eight charges, including burglary, illegally using a document and possessing drugs and utensils to consume them.
On June 13 last year, Southee broke into a house on John F Kennedy Dr, in Palmerston North.
He had tampered with the switchboard to try to cut power to the house to switch off the alarms.
Once inside, he took 12 items of jewellery worth about $5000 before escaping through a back window. However, police traced fingerprints left on a window back to him.
In January this year, Southee was given an ANZ eftpos card and a GE Money card, which were both obtained by someone else in a separate burglary.
He then withdrew $500 with the eftpos card, but was spotted on security cameras in the act.
On February 21 this year, he was pulled over while driving on Ferguson St, in Palmerston North, and admitted to police he did not have a driver's licence.
On February 24 this year, he was found at his house with the GE card, as well as some methamphetamine, cannabis and utensils for consuming both.
Crown prosecutor Andrea Read said the offending was substantial, as the jewellery was "highly personal and valuable to the owners".
Defence lawyer Simon Hewson said Southee had a criminal past, but had not offended from 1996 to 2005.
But after being introduced to methamphetamine, Southee's casual use turned into a full-blown addiction which cost him dearly, Mr Hewson said.
Judge Les Atkins sentenced Southee to two years and three months in prison and ordered him to pay $250 reparation to the victims of the burglary, and $500 to ANZ Bank.