21 February 2023

Knife-wielding intruder demanded cash after waking sleeping mother

| Albert McKnight
ACT Law Courts Photo: Michelle Kroll Region Media

Mitchell John West, 25, pleaded guilty to several charges, including attempted robbery and burglaries. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A mother was sleeping in her daughter’s house when she was woken by two men inside her bedroom, including one who pointed a knife at her, demanded cash and searched her bed.

It was around 2 am on 30 April 2021 when Mitchell John West broke into the house in Throsby with another man, court documents say.

All three residents were asleep when they went inside, but the mother was woken up by the two men when they entered her room and started to search the wardrobe and drawers.

West pointed a curved knife towards her and demanded her wallet, money or keys before looking underneath her pillow and removing her blanket to see if she was hiding anything they could steal.

The mother later said she had been “terrified” and stayed on her bed while trying to tell the intruders that she had no money or a wallet.

The pair left her room and her son-in-law was woken up by noises in the kitchen. He spotted the intruders in the house, so he locked his bedroom door and asked his wife to call police.

Officers arrived and learned the pair had stolen two laptops, an iPad and a Honda CRV.

READ ALSO ‘Bad neighbours’ not reason enough to set door on fire, court told

At about 4 am the same morning, two residents of a home in Casey were woken by their dogs barking and looked out their balcony to see two people trying to steal their cars.

They raced downstairs to their garage, but West drove off with the other man in the residents’ Suzuki Vitara. Other items had also been stolen from their home.

It took about 15 minutes for police to find the two stolen cars, but both men fled, kicking off a chase.

A tyre deflation device was used to puncture a wheel on each of the vehicles, but they continued fleeing police before stopping in Charnwood.

West, who had been driving the Suzuki, abandoned the car and jumped inside the Honda, which then continued to flee.

At one stage, the Honda crashed into a wooden barrier in Belconnen and then into the front of an unmarked police car but continued driving.

It tried to drive into a car park but crashed into several shopping trolleys before finally stopping.

The Honda’s driver got out and fled, but West was arrested after a short foot chase.

READ ALSO Teenager arrested by police for the fourth time in seven weeks after ‘near miss’

He pleaded guilty to charges of attempted aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, failing to stop for police and theft, and driving and riding in a vehicle without consent.

West had already spent over 400 days in jail before being scheduled to be sentenced by the ACT Drug and Alcohol Court on Monday (20 February).

But when the 25-year-old’s case was called, Acting Justice Richard Refshauge said he had not been able to complete the “complicated” sentence by that day.

He was remanded in custody until 2 March.

One of his co-offenders, a former dump truck driver and father-of-one, Bradley Caine Dawson, aged in his early 30s, had pleaded guilty over his role in the Casey incident.

He was sentenced to three years and eight months’ jail with a non-parole period of 18 months in March 2022.

The other man in the Throsby incident and the driver of the Honda has not been identified.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.