Sixty minutes of home terror

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Two home invaders have been jailed over a terrifying 60-minute rampage while wielding an axe in a Hallam residence.

Samuel Jackson, 23, threatened to chop off a male resident’s foot and his fingers as well as to rape his petrified wife in front of him.

He was assisted by Lachlan Hole, 19, who was armed with a bike fork during the ransacking in the early hours of 12 March 2018.

In sentencing on 14 February, County Court of Victoria judge Patricia Riddell said they had performed one of the most serious examples of a home invasion, punishable by up to 25 years’ jail.

Earlier that night, the pair – wired on booze and Xanax tablets – had been turned away from Dandenong railway station by PSOs due to their intoxication.

They broke into a van parked outside an air-con store in Hallam, tried to steal it and then Hole set it alight.

At 2.15am, Jackson then smashed three windows and woke a male occupant in a failed attempt to break into another Hallam home.

Later on, they broke into the home-invasion address and walked in on a male occupant shaving in the bathroom.

The resident faced Jackson wearing a hoodie, a handkerchief over his face and holding an axe. His co-offender also wore a hoodie and held a bike fork.

Jackson, who was regarded as the “leader” of the pair, then forced entry into a husband and wife’s bedroom.

Among the stolen goods were jewellery, wallets and the husband’s $1400 takings for the day.

Jackson smashed a mobile phone and two laptops after the residents were unable to give passwords or reset the devices.

After a series of violent threats, the husband and wife escaped the house. They found police attending the nearby aggravated burglary committed by Jackson.

Jackson and Hole, who had met through mutual friends only a few days earlier, were arrested at the scene.

Jackson was assessed not to be in a fit state for a police interview.

Hole claimed he could barely remember anything, denied taking alcohol or drugs, denied stealing anything and denied knowing Jackson.

In their victim impact statements, the householders described their ongoing terror, sleeplessness and to no longer feeling safe in their homes.

The wife described being scared for her and her husband’s life. “I’m not the person I was,” the previously “happy” and sociable victim stated.

The husband thinks over what could have happened that night.

“I have nowhere to relax. My whole life has changed.”

Judge Riddell took into account Jackson’s abusive childhood under a violent, drunken father, his youthfulness and efforts to reform himself while in custody.

At the time of the home invasion he had been on bail for family violence, dishonesty and burglary offences.

Hole, who grew up in Pakenham and Kooweerup, had a “short and appalling” criminal history, Judge Riddell noted.

He was a traumatised bystander when James Gargasoulas murderously drove down Bourke Street’s footpath in 2017, and was one of the youngest prisoners while held in adult remand.

He had demonstrated remorse and insight into the victim’s plights.

Jackson was jailed for up to six years, three months with a non-parole period of four years.

Hole was sentenced to three years’ detention in a youth facility.

Both had already served 339 days in pre-sentence detention.