City home invasion

May 25, 2018

Four men appeared at Shepparton Magistrates’ Court yesterday accused of an aggravated home invasion.

The men allegedly broke into a house at Jonagold Crt, Shepparton, about 11pm on September 7 last year by smashing a window and breaking the front door.

The four accused are Brandon May, Daniel Knight, and Shannon Martin, of Shepparton, and Joshua McLean, of Murchison. They faced a committal hearing yesterday, having pleaded not guilty.

Two alleged victims, Beejay McGarry and Maddalyn Antonowicz, were at home at the time of the alleged attack, eating pizza and watching a movie in bed.

A loud noise outside led the pair to approach the front door when the window was smashed, knocking a slice of pizza from the woman’s hand, according to witness testimony.

The court heard an alleged attacker entering the house shoved Ms Antonowicz aside into a bedroom.

Mr McGarry fled down an adjoining hallway, he testified.

Ms Antonowicz proceeded to shut the bedroom door, yelling, ‘‘I’m calling the police’’, before she fled into an ensuite and phoned 000.

It was alleged the four men entered the house, pursuing Mr McGarry until he was knocked against a window, smashing it in the scuffle.

Mr McGarry alleged while on the ground, he was subjected to a vicious beating.

Ms Antonowicz said before being thrust into the bedroom she observed four men, two of whom she identified as two of the accused, and one who she misidentified as another person due to confusion over a tattoo on the man’s neck. She later retracted her statement about the man with the neck tattoo.

It is alleged weapons were involved in the assault, including a plank of wood and a bottle of Jim Beam.

Mr McGarry alleged multiple attackers kicked him multiple times while he was on the ground.

The origin of the Jim Beam bottle was the focus of much of the defence’s questioning.

‘‘I know that this bottle didn’t belong in the house because Jim Beam is not something myself or Maddalyn drink,’’ Mr McGarry said.

Following the alleged assault, Ms Antonowicz drove Mr McGarry to Goulburn Valley Hospital, where he received treatment, including stitches for two separate cuts.

All those involved were known to each other, according to witness testimony.

Mr McGarry claimed his memory had been impaired following the attack.

‘‘When you cop some head injuries, things come back to you after a while,’’ he said.

During the committal hearing, barrister for Mr McLean, John Miller, asked Mr McGarry if he had phoned Mr McLean last New Year’s Eve, three months after the alleged attack, andthreatened to rape and kill him.

‘‘I cannot deny having made the phone call, I just can’t recall what I said on the phone call,’’ Mr McGarry said.

Magistrate Ian Watkins found there was enough evidence for the four accused to stand trial and ordered them to appear before a County Court directions hearing next Friday.

All four men pleaded not guilty and were released on bail under their own undertaking, with orders not to approach any witnesses.

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