Online meet-up turned toxic with drunken visit
EASTER Sunday turned ugly for one Ipswich woman when a drunken neighbour she had met through a dating site tried to enter her home.
An Ipswich court heard the victim still lives in fear after the man broke into her cat enclosure while she was in bed.
Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said she was most concerned at the neighbour's verbal abuse, and threats to put a gun to the victim's head and to slit her throat.
Going before Ipswich magistrates Court, Jason William Reeve, 37, from Yamanto, pleaded guilty to threatening violence by words/conduct on Sunday, April 21; obstructing police; failing to provide a breath/blood specimen on May 25; failing to wear a seat belt on May 25; and an unrelated offence of contravening a domestic violence protection order.
Police did not detail the specific facts of the charges in the open court, but Ms Sturgess outlined some to provide information of the agreed facts.
"He was drinking a two-litre bottle of wine every two days. Has been seeking help and counselling,” Reeve's lawyer Tom Goodwin told the court.
Prosecutor Acting Sergeant Bernard Elmore said the threatening violence offence was the most serious conduct.
"She says she is frightened living there and knowing he lives next door. She is frightened to take the bins out or have her cats there,” Sgt Elmore said.
Sgt Elmore said the maximum jail penalty for threatening violence was three years' jail.
"His conduct that night compromises her safety in her own home. People must be able to feel safe in their own home,” Sgt Elmore said.
Police sought a jail term of four to six months for the threatening violence offence, to be suspended for 12 months.
Mr Goodwin sought a lengthy probation order that would assist Reeve with his alcohol issues. He said Reeve was intoxicated at the time.
Mr Goodwin said Reeve instructed that the woman had invited him over earlier that day but he couldn't go because it was Easter Sunday and he was spending some time with his children.
Later that night he knocked on her garage door, then went to the back door of the unit and tripped over the cat enclosure.
"He accepts his behaviour would have been frightening to her,” Mr Goodwin said.
Ms Sturgess, after reading the written police facts, said Reeve's threatening violence was "extremely concerning, extremely frightening to her”.
She noted there was "no relationship” between the pair at the time of the offence.
After receiving triple-0 calls, police found Reeve in the woman's rear yard at 8.30pm. Two of the woman's friends had been called to the unit to help her.
"She met you on a dating site, then realised that you were neighbours,” Ms Sturgess said.
"She did ask you to drive her and friends into the city the day before but you were unavailable.”
Ms Sturgess said the woman was lying in bed when she heard banging on the garage door.
She heard the noise at the cat enclosure. She looked through the blinds and saw a person hide from her.
She realised it was "Jason” and they spoke, with an intoxicated Reeve insisting he come inside, which scared her. Reeve pulled on a locked door.
Reeve threatened: "I'm going to put a gun in your head. I'm going to slit your throat.”
The court was told he also said: "If you send the cops, your life is dead. Don't want to mess with me,” while repeatedly pulling hard on the rear door.
Ms Sturgess said police saw a wine cask bladder on the seat of Reeve's car when they spoke to him in May.
Reeve obstructed police by struggling and attempted to kick a police officer.
"Drinking is not an excuse. If you drink and become violent and behave unsociably, you have to take responsibility. You can't blame the drink,' Ms Sturgess said.
Reeve was sentenced to a two-year probation order and must do programs to address his alcohol misuse.
He was fined $1200 and his licence was disqualified six months.