Joy-rider back in prison after writing off car

Fresh out of prison, a 19-year-old is now heading back after a drunken joy-ride went wrong.

Johrell Hayes Preston, unemployed of New Plymouth, went into a friend's grandmother's house, stole her car keys and wine and headed off with his mates.

This week in the New Plymouth District Court, he admitted an under 20-year-old drink-driving charge, burglary and unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle.

Judge Allan Roberts said the grandmother, who for 14 years had brought up two of her grandchildren, left the back door unlocked to allow her granddaughter in when she returned home.

Preston took the car keys from the grandmother's flat when she was home and took his four friends to City West Church grounds and they drank the wine stolen from the house.

But he then reversed the car into a tree, denting the boot, and then got the car stuck on a pile of roofing iron.

The incident was seen by a member of the public and Preston was arrested.

"This was a brazen target burglary," the judge said.

"Your victim is a 71-year-old. She now feels insecure in her home."

She was angry at the inconvenience of not having a car - a major asset. It was written off and she had lost money.

Preston was jailed for 12 months and ordered to pay $300 to the grandmother and disqualified from driving for 3 months.

Taranaki Daily News