Meth-fuelled burglaries ‘frightening’

During a spree of "methamphetamine-fuelled" burglaries, a blood-covered criminal gave one of his victims a hug.

Balclutha man Ricky James Soper, 39, appeared in the Invercargill District Court on Tuesday on a raft of charges, including three of burglary.

On February 19, the defendant drove an unregistered and unwarranted car on to a closed road.

The vehicle got stuck, so he abandoned it and travelled on foot to North Rd in Invercargill.

He forced his way into a house, damaging the front door and waking up the residents in the process.

This caused an 8-year-old boy to wake up and find Soper wandering around the house in his underwear.

Another occupant came out and stood between his stepson and the defendant.

The court heard Soper was pacing around and speaking gibberish when the man ushered him out of the house. On his way out, Soper got into the occupant’s parked car and asked for a ride.

Yesterday, the court heard how the incident had caused the young boy to have nightmares.

The 42-year-old occupant said the experience was frightening.

He did not know what Soper’s intentions were and two young children were in the house that night.

"[It] could’ve gone a lot worse if it wasn’t for my son. My son probably saved [Soper’s] life," the victim said.

The defendant then entered another property on North Rd, waking up the family inside.

Soper was interfering with a car when an occupant yelled at him from inside the house, causing the defendant to leave.

Soper’s blood was smeared all over the vehicle as a result of his attempt to start it.

But shortly after, Soper came back, ran at the victim and said "let’s sort this out" before lunging at the victim with his fist raised.

The defendant was pushed away and he left.

Soper continued on to a third property where he smashed two glass panes in the front door and manipulated the door handle to let himself in.

A resident came out to see what was going on.

The defendant took a bottle of fizzy and drank it while pacing the house.

He asked the victim if he had any drugs and searched the kitchen cupboards.

Suddenly the defendant straightened and said "hold me". He stepped into the victim, holding him in a tight embrace.

The victim was covered in blood from his shoulders to his feet, and suffered a cut to his foot from glass that was stuck to Soper.

Counsel Tanya Surrey said the offending was "methamphetamine-fuelled fury".

At a previous court appearance, Judge Duncan Harvey said "the defendant engaged with the complainants in an unusual and frightening way".

"Domestic burglaries don’t get much more serious than that.

"I am heartened to hear that you are prepared to accept treatment, because you clearly need it," he said.

Judge Harvey sentenced Soper to three years’ imprisonment and ordered him to pay $1450 reparation.