Former AFL state champ imprisoned for violent break-in
A former AFL state champion punched an elderly man in the face during a spate of meth-fuelled robberies at Regents Park, the Beenleigh Magistrates Court heard on Wednesday.
Woodhill man Reece van der Meche, 26, pleaded guilty to 11 charges including one count of a serious assault of a man over 60 years old and six counts of unlawfully entering a premises and committing an indictable offence.
According to his lawyer, van der Meche once had a promising future as a talented AFL player, but lost it all when he developed a "serious ice addiction".
He was homeless by the age of 24 and received his first prison sentence, for drug offending and assault, by age 25.
The court heard that on this occasion, van der Meche broke into four houses on Emerald Dr the morning of December 13.
The commotion woke resident Mark Malone at around 2.20am.
Mr Malone grabbed a torch and walked outside to see van der Meche rummaging through his boat and filling up a wheelbarrow with the stolen items.
He confronted van der Meche, who "made up some excuse as to why he was there" then began to walk off.
Mr Malone followed van der Meche to ensure he vacated the property in what Magistrate Louise Shepard described as a reasonable response to the intrusion.
Nevertheless, the action enraged van der Meche, who turned and punched Mr Malone in the face, causing his lip to split and bleed.
The victim retreated into his home to call police who arrived several hours later to find van der Meche wandering around the neighbourhood with a wheelbarrow full of stolen goods.
He was arrested and taken to prison, where he has since served 100 days of pre-sentence custody.
Magistrate Shephard sentenced van der Meche to nine months imprisonment for the serious assault and enter premesis offences and six months imprisonment for the dangerous drug offences, to be served concurrently with immediate eligibility for parole.
Convictions were recorded.
Originally published as Former AFL state champ imprisoned for violent meth-fuelled break-in