Shepparton News

Man jailed for three years



A Shepparton man who was caught after leaving his DNA on Zooper Dooper wrappers he ate while robbing a Broadford home has been jailed for three years.

Tyson Ralph, 35, pleaded guilty in the County Court to two counts of burglary, theft of a vehicle, theft of a firearm, theft, and handling stolen goods.

The court was told Ralph broke into the Broadford house and stole a Winchester .22 calibre rifle from a locked gun safe, as well as a Honda CRF70 motorbike from a garage.

After rifling through the house, Ralph also stole items including an heirloom pocket watch that had belonged to the owner’s great great-grandmothe­r as well as other jewellery, a handbag, .22 calibre cartridge ammunition, a jacket, camera, $300 cash, two sets of car keys and a packet of Zooper Doopers.

He then broke into a shed at Broadford Secondary College and unsuccessf­ully tried to break into a staff room at the school.

During the robbery, Ralph ate two of the Zooper Doopers he had taken, leaving behind the empty wrappers that contained his DNA.

When police searched Ralph’s house they found power tools, a machete and number plates that had all been stolen.

In handing down her sentence, Judge Gabriele Cannon said while the burglary on the house was not pre-meditated, Ralph had ‘‘systematic­ally rifled through every room of the victim’s home, taking everything of value’’.

She expressed her disbelief at a defence suggestion that Ralph had disposed of the gun in a river as he had ‘‘panicked about the possession of it’’.

‘‘The explanatio­n rings rather hollow in circumstan­ces where you went to no end of trouble to access it from the safe and wrap it and hold onto it to the point where you still had it at the school,’’ Judge Cannon said.

‘‘I strongly suspect you sold the firearm and the jewellery, just as you sold the motorbike, but I can’t say.’’

Judge Cannon also spoke about the life changing impact the burglary had had on the home owners and their heartbreak over the loss of sentimenta­l items.

She found that Ralph had a ‘‘lengthy’’ criminal history that was ‘‘filled with burglaries, thefts and handling stolen goods’’ and said his prospects of rehabilita­tion were ‘‘fairly poor’’.

She took into account Ralph’s abusive childhood and noted he had an ‘‘entrenched and longstandi­ng methamphet­amine addiction’’ that needed to be addressed.

Ralph was sentenced to three years’ prison, with a non-parole period of 18 months.

The 227 days he has spent in pre-sentence detention will count as time already served.

Ralph’s driver’s licence was also suspended for 12 months.

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