‘Cut his toes off’: Inside horror break-in
Three men have been told to clean up their lives and stop using drugs after they were jailed over a brutal home invasion, during which a man was tied to a chair, bashed and threatened with having his toes cut off with a shovel.
Jake Nikolas Hall, 26, Drazsic Wheatley, 20, and Brendan Parsons, 27, faced Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court on Monday where they learned their fate for the invasion.
The trio pleaded guilty to a slew of offences including a common charge of specially aggravated detaining in company with intent to obtain an advantage.
Hall also pleaded guilty to robbery armed with an offensive weapon, aggravated break and enter and being an accessory after the fact to an armed robbery, while Wheatley pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery.
Judge Siobhan Herbert told the court the group forced its way into a unit at Tullimbar, south of Wollongong, on the afternoon of November 8, 2021, where the victim was playing Xbox.
The victim was not aware the men were in his unit before he was punched in the head, causing him to fall forward at his desk.
When he turned to see the attackers, the victim saw Wheatley with a stubbie of VB, but otherwise didn’t recognise any of his attackers.
Judge Herbert told the court Parsons grabbed the victim by the collar and threw him on the ground, demanding to know where the victim’s brother was.
“The victim was in shock and raised his arms in defence, saying ‘what the f**k did youse (sic) want?’” the judge said.
When asked again where his brother was, the victim said he had “no f**king clue”.
Parsons punched the victim and accused him of lying, before threatening to make his life “hell” if he didn’t reveal the whereabouts of his brother.
The court was told Hall grabbed the victim and dragged him along the floor, as Wheatley and Parsons punched and kicked him.
Hall threw a chair at the victim, before making the victim sit on the chair and pull out shoelaces from his sneakers.
Judge Herbert told the court the victim was tied to the chair with his arms behind him with the shoelaces, while Parsons held fishing scissors to the victim’s throat.
“He said ‘stop bullsh**ting, it’s not going to f**king help you, tell us the truth’,” Judge Herbert told the court.
The attackers went into the bathroom where they loudly discussed what to do with the victim.
One of the men suggested “cut his toes off with a shovel”, the court was told.
When they returned to the room, the victim was again threatened, this time by Wheatley, but the victim said he wouldn’t “die over this c**t”.
Hall, Parsons and Wheatley eventually grabbed him and put the victim in the laundry cupboard, unbeknown to the fact the shoelaces tying his arms together had come loose.
While in the cupboard, the court heard the victim could hear the offenders trashing his unit before they eventually left with his phone, iPad and Xbox.
Judge Herbert told the court when he emerged moments later, he found his unit completely ransacked, with the couch on its side.
The victim called his mum, who alerted police.
Judge Herbert told the court the offending didn’t end there, with Wheatley running into a Friendly Grocer nearby on November 17 while holding a hatchet and wearing a face covering.
The court heard he yelled “this is a robbery c**t” and shattered the Covid-19 dividing screen before smashing open the till drawer and taking $664.
He ran onto the street and got into a white Ford Fiesta, which was being driven by Hall, before the pair went to Central Hotel and drank alcohol while playing on the poker machines.
On another occasion, the court was told Hall drove to Shellharbour, where Wheatley was captured by CCTV running into a Pizza Hut with the hatchet and his face again covered.
He again told the staff it was a robbery and ordered them to open the till before taking cash and walking out of the store.
Judge Herbert said the staff were fearful of Wheatley as he looked agitated and they didn’t want to antagonise him. Hall again picked him up and drove away at a high speed.
Judge Herbert said each offender had an active role in the offending, with threats of serious harm made to the victim.
She said Wheatley was a “young offender” with little criminal history, but the use of gloves and face coverings in the robbery offences meant it was clearly planned.
“His youth and immaturity would go into the offending,” Judge Herbert said, in regards to Wheatley.
All three men have struggled with substance abuse issues as a result of their difficult upbringings, the court heard, but the judge conceded no penalty other than imprisonment was appropriate.
“Each offender bears criminal responsibility for the others,” Judge Herbert said.
She sentenced Hall to an aggregate term of imprisonment of four years and four months, with a non parole period of two years and seven months. Hall will be eligible for parole on June 17, 2024.
Parsons was sentenced to an aggregate sentence of three years and five months with a non parole period of two years. This means he will be eligible for parole in November this year.
Wheatley, who spent time on bail, was handed an aggregate sentence of four years and 10 months with a non parole period of three years.
Wheatley will not be eligible for parole until October 8, 2025, but Judge Herbert referred him to the drug court.
The Judge warned the men to clean up their act so they can be released on parole.
“What you need to understand is, that is not an automatic date; you will still be subject to the parole board,” Judge Herbert said.
“If you don’t straighten yourself out, you’re not likely to get released on that date … take every opportunity to get drug rehabilitation.
“If you start using drugs in jail, if you don’t follow the programs, you’re not likely to get released on the day I’ve said.”