Victim warned of gang reprisals

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 12/11/2012

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A 78-year-old man living alone is still having trouble sleeping after he was faced with a drunk man trying to break into his flat, the New Plymouth District Court heard.

The man was just one of the many victims 31-year-old Leonard Fenton left in his wake after burgling properties in the city in August and again in October while on bail, Judge Allan Roberts said.

Fenton pleaded guilty to four burglaries, wilful damage, unlawfully being in a yard, possession of cannabis and receiving when he appeared for sentence on Thursday.

In his victim impact statement the elderly victim described how Fenton knocked on his door, abused him and threatened him with gang retaliation. Fenton smashed a window, then took off on a bike.

A female victim said it made her feel sick that someone had come into her home, and she was upset her property was stolen.

A third victim in Fitzroy disturbed Fenton on his property and pursued him.

The owner of a city motor lodge where Fenton broke in in an audacious daylight burglary, helping himself to a TV, wrote to the judge that "he obviously doesn't give a crap and thinks he can flog something I own".

The struggling motel owner was left out of pocket by $800.

Judge Roberts said alcohol was bringing Fenton - a sickness beneficiary - down. Fenton had been in a rehabilitation programme but did not complete it because of substance abuse.

Fenton's defence counsel, Eleanor Cannole, said her client was remorseful and recognised he should focus on his family.

Judge Roberts said he warned Fenton he would jail him next time when sentencing him in July for a shoplifting scam.

Judge Roberts said Fenton, who was associated with the Nomad gang, had threatened the elderly man with gang reprisals, typical behaviour when Fenton went out "plundering the community" in an alcohol and drug-induced fog.

Fenton was jailed for 18 months, ordered to pay $2400 and sent off with a warning that a law change now allowed for unpaid reparations to be punished with a prison term.

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- Taranaki

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