A young man described by his alleged co-offender as an “apprentice in training” has been sentenced over his role in a terrifying attack in which petrol was poured over a man and his dog during a late-night home invasion.
Court documents show it was the day after Kye Jayden Rowe’s 20th birthday when he carried a jerry can filled with petrol and a lighter into the man’s home in Kambah at around 11:30 pm on 1 September 2020.
Wearing balaclavas, he and a co-offender woke up a housemate who was asleep on the lounge room couch and asked to see their target, who was in his bedroom.
Inside the room, Rowe pointed at the man and said, “you owe someone thousands of dollars”. He threatened to splash petrol on him and set him on fire if he did not hand over money. He made the housemate tie the man’s hands and legs with an iPhone charger cable and an extension cord.
“Look, I don’t know what this is about. I don’t know who I owe money to. But if I can give you money just to have all of this over and for you guys to leave the house, I will,” the man told the intruders.
He tried to call a friend to bring over money, but the calls went unanswered.
While Rowe was walking around the house, the co-offender told the residents that Rowe was his “apprentice in training” for “this sort of stuff”.
The two residents were later talking to each other when one of the intruders told them, “if you keep talking, we will slit your throats”.
When both intruders were distracted, the housemate managed to escape and ran to a neighbour’s home, chased by Rowe.
The court documents say the co-offender then allegedly poured petrol on the man, his bed and his dog, as the man yelled, “oh mate, please don’t do this. I’ll get you the money. Just don’t do this“.
The co-offender allegedly lit a lighter and was about it throw it when the man kicked him in the stomach, knocking the intruder backwards out of the bedroom. He then slammed the door shut and pushed himself against it.
The intruder allegedly tried to get back into the room before finally leaving. The home invaders stole the housemate’s car when they fled.
The man rinsed petrol out of his eyes and mouth and left the house with his dog. He found his housemate at their neighbour’s.
Rowe was taken into custody on 11 September 2020.
On Monday (11 October), the ACT Supreme Court heard no beds available for Rowe, now aged 21, in residential rehabilitation facilities. But Chief Justice Helen Murrell said even if he had a bed, his behaviour suggested he may be unable to comply with what was required to keep it.
“His behaviour in custody has been quite poor,” she said.
Rowe pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary over the home invasion, as well as to charges of aggravated dangerous driving and driving a motor vehicle without consent over incidents on 2 September 2020.
He was sentenced to several years jail, ending in February 2024, but will be eligible for parole after serving one year and 10 months in August 2022.
The co-offender will face a trial next year.