DNA match leads to identification of over-excited burglar five years later

The details of Toa Morgan's deeds while burgling homes were revealed at his sentencing in the Hamilton District Court on ...
KAYCIE O'CONNOR/FAIRFAX NZ

The details of Toa Morgan's deeds while burgling homes were revealed at his sentencing in the Hamilton District Court on Tuesday.

A burglar's intimate moment with a victim's knickers has come back to haunt him five years later. 

It was a DNA match from a sample left by Toa Morgan on a pair of women's underpants he'd found on a clothes horse during a burglary in 2011 that finally caught up with the Hamilton man when he appeared in court on Tuesday for a botched bag snatch in January.

Morgan, 21, was sentenced to 18 months of intensive supervision when he appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Tuesday, after earlier pleading guilty to two charges of burglary for the 2011 incidents and and one of indecent assault in relation to the bag snatch. 

It was around 6am on Tuesday, January 26 as Morgan was driving to work on what was the first day of his new job, when Morgan spotted his victim walking to her own work near the intersection of Tristram and Thackery Streets.

He had been out of work for a week and, as he later told police, he had no money to buy himself lunch.

He drove into and parked in the car park outside the Anglesea Clinic, where he intercepted the woman, grabbed her from behind, and attempted to wrest her handbag off her.

The woman clung on to her bag and, in the ensuing altercation, Morgan put his hand up the woman's skirt and grabbed her buttocks.

The woman screamed and Morgan put his hand over her mouth in a bit to stop her from alerting others.

He fled. However the entire incident was captured on the close-circuit security cameras. Morgan was identified and later arrested.

DNA taken by police from Morgan in the course of their inquiries revealed a surprise link to two burglaries he committed as a 16-year-old.

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The first of these happened at a house in Fairview Downs on October 6, 2011, in which Morgan stole a child's tricycle, a laptop computer, a hard drive, Wii and PlayStation consoles and a camera.

It was while he was in that house that he apparently left a sample on a pair of women's underpants he found on a clothes horse. 

This was followed by another burglary on October 14, in which he covertly entered another Hamilton home, while there were children in the property. This time he took another laptop, Nintendo and PlayStation consoles, a set of keys and 15 games.

Before he left, he ransacked a bedroom.

Prior to sentencing, defence counsel James Buckle said the claims of masturbation were entirely speculative. His client maintained he had actually had sexual intercourse on the bed with a co-offender, and had used the pair of underwear to clean himself.

It was, Buckle conceded, no less offensive.

The indecent assault in January this year was opportunistic and "merely bad behaviour", rather than symptomatic of any kind of ongoing sexual deviancy, he said.

His client had made numerous positive changes in the time since his offending. He was now a good father and had found steady work to support his family.

Judge Merelina Burnett commended Morgan for what a pre-sentence assessment had declared a substantial improvement in his attitudes and prospects - however she sternly denounced his historic offending as "appalling conduct", as well as his "worrying" indecent assault.

"[The underwear incident] was revolting and frightening behaviour for the occupiers to have to contemplate," she said.

As well as his intensive supervision, Morgan was ordered to undergo counselling and judicial monitoring.

He was also issued with a final warning and had his details entered on the nationwide sex offenders' register.

 - Stuff

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