'Prison escapee at trashed property': owner
IF POLICE want to know where an on-the-run prison escapee was hiding out for several days, a Sarina investment property owner thinks he can provide the answer - the escapee was at his house, which was being trashed.
Paul Bonello claims that when he went to visit his investment property in Sarina this week, the escapee was one of a small group of people he didn't know at the house. And it had been so badly damaged it looked like it was out of "an episode of Housos".
After the owner of Pauly's Security Services hadn't received rent for three weeks, he decided to check in on Tuesday to discover the property in a sad state - cars with no bonnets and doors missing on the lawn, caravans, lawn mowers, needles, syringes, bongs - and even spew all over mattresses.
When he turned up, a woman immediately fled the property as soon as his car pulled up. "When I rocked up it looked like a bloody episode of Housos... I was disgusted," he said. "The whole neighbourhood had s--t there."
He then walked around the back to see three men, one who he said was Capricornia Correctional Centre escapee Brian Illington Trent Tapim, and another woman "all skinny in their mid 30s... missing teeth and the rest of it" making themselves at home.
Mr Bonello said after he ordered them to leave, the man thought to be Tapim claimed he was only there to pick up his car.
"The car started in gear. I thought 'that's f---ing stolen that car'... all the wires were ripped out," he said. "He would've been living there I'd say, hiding there."
He said they all left without any trouble as they were "a bit scared I think".
Mr Bonello said the male tenant on the lease wasn't present at the property and that he usually kept the house and yard tidy.
He'd tried to make contact with the tenant but hadn't received a response.
"I just said, I'm very disappointed in you. If he comes back he owes me a fair bit of money," he said.
Mr Bonello also informed the local police station and was advised to call 000.
He has spent the last four days cleaning up the property with his employees, getting measurements for new carpets and flooring, and still has a day of work ahead of him.
The worst part, he said, was the amount of needles and syringes - three boxes of used syringes in a room, two boxes in a garden bed and after mowing he found another 15-20 needles.
Paul said he burnt the rubbish, dropped off two trailer loads of lounge chairs, put the rest of the furniture on the road and "most of it was gone within two hours".
"I went home and had a bath and scrubbed myself with Dettol. I felt dirty. I couldn't believe it," he said. Once I saw the needles I thought what's the point of having an investment property? I was better off leaving them in there and letting them burn it down."
"I wont be getting any more (rental properties). Once the market goes up I'm selling them all."
Columnist, principal of McKays and Mackay's only QLS Business Law Accredited Specialist Suzanne Brown said we are seeing these situations occur all too often.
"The tenancy laws favour tenants' rights and have no teeth when it comes to protecting landlords," she said.
"Landlords who have their properties trashed often have difficulty, and a long drawn out, stressful process, of removing the tenants from the property and the bond almost always falls significantly short of what it costs to rectify the damage.
"This is not to mention the loss of income in rent to landlords, for the time it takes to fix the damage and make the property liveable again. There needs to be tougher penalties for delinquent tenants. Most simply lose their bond and walk away...and move on to the next victim property."