Youth's slide into crime abruptly arrested

MARTIN VAN BEYNEN
Last updated 05:00 29/07/2014
Porou Wrathall
Fairfax NZ
AWFUL FIX: Porou Wrathall leaves the Christchurch District Court after he was ordered to come up for sentence if called upon within 12 months on a conviction for burglary. 

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A couple of hours trapped in grime ended Porou Wrathall's career in crime.

Police found the skinny teenager stuck in a fatty pipe at Mr Fish and Chips shop in Langdons Rd, Papanui, about 2.30am on June 17, after they were alerted by neighbours who heard Wrathall's cry for help.

Yesterday an embarrassed but relieved Wrathall, 18 and a first offender, told The Press the offence had occurred during a drunken moment and was "the start and end" of his criminal career.

He had just appeared in the Christchurch District Court, where his conviction for burglary was penalised with an order he come up for sentence if called upon within 12 months.

In some ways, he had already paid dearly for his stupidity. He was stuck in the greasy fish and chip shop extractor vent for several hours. A steel support was jammed between his buttocks, he was caked in fat and he was cold and sore. He then spent four days in hospital due to hypothermia and kidney problems caused by the confinement.

Although he wasn't saying much yesterday, he may have also realised his misdeed would go down in the annals of criminal cock-ups.

"It is a rather embarrassing lesson to learn about the effects of alcohol," Judge Stan Thorburn, who chuckled when shown photographs of Wrathall in the vent, told him in the Christchurch District Court.

"When I chuckle, I hope he realises it's not with derision. This is such an ironical situation isn't it," the judge said to Wrathall's lawyer, Donald Dixon.

He also ordered Wrathall to pay $1563 in repair costs and $200 for the police's costs in rescuing him.

"The police have got better things to do than get blokes like you out of pipes," he said.

"[I'm] expecting you have got enough stuff in your cranium to work out what's going on here that we oughtn't to see you back here again. Take care."

Dickson said his client had not had a drink since the event.

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