Love saves perfume burglar

A MAN who pleaded guilty to burglary, including stealing at least 18 bottles of perfume, escaped jail after the court heard his new love is helping him turn his life around.

Mark Andrew Harris, 30, was convicted in Hervey Bay District Court yesterday of breaking into a woman's home in Caboolture in 2010 and stealing a number of items, including silver jewellery, a laptop, a Sony PSP and more than 18 bottles of perfume.

Harris was caught through DNA evidence, after leaving a trail of blood around a broken window he smashed during the break in.

Harris was able to walk out of court with a suspended prison sentence however, after his barrister argued Harris was turning his life around.

The court heard the new love of Harris' life was a nurse who was helping his rehabilitation from a problem with illicit drugs such as ice, speed, ecstasy and marijuana, and he had been off all drugs for the last four months.

Judge David Reid ordered a 12-month prison sentence, to be suspended immediately for three years, in spite of Harris' "extensive criminal history".

"It appears you have had a certain degree of contempt for the system,"; said Judge Reid, however he went on to say he had hope for Harris' future and gave him the chance to continue on his path to redemption.

"Don't let me down," Judge Reid told Harris.

Earlier, Crown prosecutor Shauna Rankine said she accepted that Harris' actions were motivated by his dependence on drugs.

"He needs all the help he can get," Ms Rankine said.

Defence barrister Lars Falcongreen said Harris had already spent two months in prison for other offences which occurred at a similar time to the Caboolture burglary.

Judge Reid said this made finding the appropriate sentence more difficult, as the court would have taken the burglary into account had it known about it at the time of the original sentence.

Topics:  hervey bay court

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