Looter regrets further tarring Guildford name

11:50, Jul 31 2013
Vinny Guildford
BURGLARY SPREE: Promising sportsman and convicted burglar Vinny Guildford.

A promising rugby player who has represented New Zealand raided properties on a late night burglary spree.

Last week Vinny Guildford, 17, was representing the Wellington Hurricanes rugby team in an under 18 game against the Chiefs. On Tuesday, he stood anxiously in the dock at the Napier District Court.

Guildford, the cousin of former All Black Zac Guildford, can be named for the first time today because he lost a bid to keep his name suppressed.

He had previously pleaded guilty to six burglary charges.

Guildford had been drinking on the evening of March 30, the court heard. He was walking through the streets of Taradale when he went into an unlocked garage and took a torch before continuing along Moorhouse St. He entered a second garage, taking food from the freezer and a racing bike worth $2000. Guildford stashed the food and bike in some bushes while he went into a third property. He grabbed a pair of jandals sitting by the front door along with perfume, keys and a phone charger from a car.

Guildford then took a skateboard from outside a Surrey St house, which he hid under a real estate sign. He went next door and opened a garage door, giving him access to the house. He took a cellphone before running off because neighbours had woken to the noise.

When questioned by police Guildford denied doing anything wrong. He later said he stole from cars, not houses, and that he sometimes did ''stupid stuff''.

Lawyer Michael McAleer said Guildford was a young man with considerable sporting talent who made a serious mistake while drinking. Mr McAleer applied to have his name permanently suppressed because a ''media sensation'' would cause extreme hardship on his family. He said his client regretted dragging the Guildford name back into the public arena.

Zac Guildford made headlines in 2011 after a booze-fuelled night in Rarotonga where he turned up wet, naked and bleeding at a bar and assaulted two holidaymakers.

Guildford lay low until January this year, when it was alleged he assaulted a man at a Christchurch party.

Last year his brother Victor was handed a community sentence and disqualified from driving indefinitely for his third drink-driving charge.

Mr McAleer said it was the ''salacious'' nature of media reporting he was opposed to, rather than the straight reporting of his name.

Judge Geoff Rea dismissed the application because the court could not control the nature of reporting.

Judge Rea suggested that Mr McAleer was trying to minimalise Guildford's offending as a youthful adventure by applying to have him discharged without conviction.

Judge Rea said Guildford went into the properties with the intent to steal. He concluded that Guildford hid his loot so he could come back and collect it later.

The judge did not believe the argument that Guildford had ''blacked out'' because he was still able to commit six burglaries.

''It was deliberate surreptitious behaviour.''

Judge Rea convicted Guildford on all six charges and sentenced him to 200 hours' community service and nine months' supervision.


The Dominion Post