‘Burn you alive’: Dad terrorises men with death threats
A man has heard how his victims feel unsafe in their own home after he threatened to burn them alive just weeks after saying he would cut a man's hands off.
Angus Boyd Bennett terrorised two men who lived together on a Merinda property in North Queensland between May and June, last year.
Crown prosecutor Laura Hamilton told Maroochydore District Court on Wednesday Bennett believed his wife was having a relationship with one of the men.
Ms Hamilton said Bennett showed the man a text message he had found on his wife's phone on May 13, last year, before he drove the victim to his house and threatened him in the kitchen.
"(Bennett) … picked up a butchers knife, stood opposite (the man) and yelled I'll take you up to the forestry and kill and burn you, I'll cut your f.....g hands off, I can f.....g kill you, you know that," Ms Hamilton read from the facts.
On May 30, last year, Bennett turned up at the men's home and said "oh this will burn easy" the other man as he patted a wall.
"If you don't get (the man) out of here I'll burn you down alive in it," Ms Hamilton read from the facts.
"I've done it before, I don't care about if there are any kids in there, I'll burn you all alive.
"I'll burn your brother's house with him and his kids in it I don't care as long as I get (the man) off this property."
The court heard Bennett left the property but returned on June 4 with three other people and terrorised the other man again.
Ms Hamilton said one of the co-offenders threw a star picket through a glass window towards the other man before a man hit Bennett and his car with a baseball bat.
She said the men suffered from ongoing effects and felt unsafe in their own home.
Bennett pleaded guilty on Wednesday to four charges including serious assault of a person over 60 and wilful damage.
Ms Hamilton told the court Bennett had criminal history in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria but hadn't committed any violent crimes.
She said one of his co-offenders, by the last name of Green, was given a one-year prison sentence for the serious assault charge and three months for a wilful damage charge on November 27, last year.
The prison sentence was suspended after 160 days that were declared as time already served.
Ms Hamilton described Bennett as the "ringleader" and said he should be given a harsher sentence.
She suggested he serve three to four months of a 15 to 18-month prison sentence that could later be suspended.
Barrister Russell Clutterbuck said alcohol was involved in the offending that started after Bennett found a text message from the man that read "do you want to run away with me?" followed by an emoji love heart.
Mr Clutterbuck said his client followed bail conditions and had since rehabilitated.
"He is extremely sorry for the events and circumstances…," he said.
He said Bennett was the primary career and income earner for his family, who would suffer if he was imprisoned.
"He instructs me that any actual period of imprisonment may have some difficulties in the family household because the two children from a former marriage don't get on very well with his wife," he said.
"He is very much a worthwhile man in his children's lives."
Mr Clutterbuck said Bennett suffered significant injury when he was hit by a baseball bat on June 4 and suggested an 18-month suspended sentence as an appropriate sentence.
Judge Ken Barlow said the now 45-year-old had clearly "rounded up" people to threaten the victims.
" … You could not be satisfied, it seems to me, that you could control that and tell them whether or not to actually do any violence," he said.
"That means you are liable as much as they are."
Mr Barlow said the behaviour was unacceptable and sentenced Bennett to 18 months in prison suspended after 25 days.
He declared 25 days Bennett had spent in custody before he was sentenced as time already served.