DNA the downfall of burglar who stole to fund ice addiction

13th October 2017 7:05 AM
Leigh Symons Leigh Symons

A WEST Mackay ice addict and long-time burgler interrupted by a woman while he raided her home tried to lie his way out of trouble, pretending he simply needed a bike pump.  

Leigh William Symons slipped into the woman's Nebo Road, West Mackay home through an unlocked door on February 6, 2016 while she was in a greenhouse.

When Symons left, seemingly empty-handed, the woman spotted him on her property and the 40-year-old asked for the pump to inflate a flat bicycle tyre.

The kindly resident gave Symons a glass of water, filled his water bottle and loaned him a pump and screwdriver.

In return, Symons snatched a laptop and purse while she was distracted by a phone call, a court was told.

The woman was out of pocket about $1500 - horrible, but a far cry from the $21,000 in camera gear Symons stole in another burglary on November 28, 2016 at Kindermar Street, South Mackay.

In that instance, Symons removed a flyscreen from a rear window, clambered in and took a haul of cameras and lenses.

In another burglary, dated between December 28, 2015-January 1, 2016, Symons forced the door of a Taylor Street, West Mackay home and stole cash, jewellery, mobile phones and ID, such as a passport and birth certificate.

About $2500 in property and cash was taken..

Meanwhile, on October 1, 2015 Symons' penchant for illegally acquired camera gear came to the fore.

A photographer snapping birds at Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens placed his camera bag down while chasing a shot, Symons swooped and about $3000 worth of accessories were stolen.

In each of the burglaries, Symons left DNA evidence which police linked to him, such as fingerprints, a palm print and a small blood spatter.

Much of the property stolen had not been recovered.

The crimes, used to fuel an ice addiction, landed Symons in Mackay District Court on Friday, where he pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary and one charge of possessing tainted property.

He served about 11 months in jail before facing Judge Paul Smith.

Symons' partner wiped tears from her eyes during the hearing, while Symons sat quietly in the dock, glancing at her on occasion.  

Crown prosecutor Joshua Hanna said Symons had lengthy criminal records in both Queensland and Victoria, mostly related to dishonesty offences, such as burglary.

Some of Symon's offending occurred while he was on parole, bail and an Intensive Corrections Order.

Instructed by Fisher Dore Lawyers, Defence barrister Scott McLennan described Symons as a dad of three who had "periods of productivity" as a plasterer, interrupted by "periods of ice use".

Methamphetamine also known as crystal meth
Methamphetamine also known as crystal meth kaarsten

Symons struggled to find work after upgrades at Mackay Base Hospital finished in 2014 and returned to intravenous ice use, in the midst of relationship drama and homelessness.

Mr McLennan said Symons completed a number of courses, such as substance intervention, in prison and underwent treatment to "cure" hepatitis C contracted through needle use.

"He understands meth has been ruining his life," the barrister said.

Judge Smith described crystal methamphetamines (ice) as the "scourge of the community" and said drug addiction explained Symons' actions.

He took into account an early plea, the courses completed in jail and considered Symons was "at the crossroads".

" ... you're a person who people think can change and be a better person," he said.

"You can be selfish and take it (drugs), ignore your children. You can do that, can't you? And then you'll be back there going out the side door for four or five years.

"Or you can be a decent person and say 'no' and be good to your partner and your kids."

Symons nodded and repeatedly answered 'yep' as the judge lectured him at length.

Eventually, Judge Smith sentenced Symons to a three year head sentence, with parole eligibility from December 5, considering time already served.