Burglar’s sentence cut

A man who broke down the front door of a Collie home to attack the woman inside has had his jail term cut by 15 months after the Court of Appeal ruled the original sentence was “manifestly excessive”.

Michael Dean Humphreys, 33, was originally sentenced to three years and nine months in jail over the incident after pleading guilty to one charge of aggravated burglary and one count of aggravated assault.

At the time of the incident, in September 2016, he was also subject to an intensive supervision order, which related to earlier convictions for twice breaching a violence restraining order and also damaging property.

In sentencing Humphreys over the incident in Collie, Judge Ron Birmingham said the attack constituted “a very serious offence” because he used violence against a vulnerable victim whose children were present.

But the Court of Appeal found Humphreys, who was under the influence of methylamphetamines at the time of the incident, had been sentenced too harshly and should only have to serve a maximum of two years and three months in jail.

The maximum sentence for aggravated burglary is 20 years. Humphreys is also eligible for parole.

“The offence committed by the appellant did not have features seen in the more serious cases,” Chief Justice Wayne Martin and Justices Robert Mazza and Robert Mitchell said in their written judgment.

“The offence was not premeditated and occurred at the spur of the moment. It did not involve the use of a weapon or occur at night and the appellant was not in company. The level of violence used by the appellant was not as extreme as the violence perpetrated in the more serious cases.”

During the appeal hearing, the court was told Humphreys had used methylamphetamines on a daily basis since the age of 17. He had tried drug rehabilitation programs three times, but had not succeeded and had a long criminal history. But he had never served a term of imprisonment.

On 17 September, 2016, Humphreys went to the woman’s Collie house to collect a small amount of money he claimed was owed to him by the victim’s ex partner.

The victim opened the door without unlocking the security chain. Humphreys demanded money from her and abused her, before being told to leave.

But he turned towards the door as the woman removed the security chain and “body slammed” it open.

He then grabbed the victim by the neck with both hands.

The woman called to her children, aged four and nine, to leave the house. She eventually broke free from Humphreys before the police were called.