Tenant describes returning to ransacked apartment in burglary trial
A woman left her Warwick home for an hour and returned to find it ransacked, a Supreme Court jury heard yesterday.
Holly Murphy told the court that more than $825 worth of clothing, jewellery and other items were stolen on the morning of November 13, 2020 – but added that the intruder left a knife on her kitchen counter.
Zywonde Lema, 20, has pleaded not guilty to the charge of aggravated burglary of Ms Murphy’s home.
Ms Murphy, who has since moved, told the court that she lived in the apartment for four and a half years with her husband and children.
She said that she left her house at around 8.45am on November 13, 2020 to take her son to nursery school.
She said when she returned to the house an hour later, she discovered a dresser in her room had been opened and the contents thrown across the room.
She said: “I saw the TV room open as well – that’s when I noticed something was wrong.
“That’s when I texted my landlady, shut the door and called my husband.”
Ms Murphy said that she discovered a glass sliding door in her son’s bedroom had been shattered and that several drawers and closets had been emptied.
A scan around the house also revealed that earrings, a ski jacket, a knapsack and a kitchen knife had all been taken.
Ms Murphy told the court that the knife had been a wedding gift with her and her husband’s initials and wedding date engraved on the blade.
But she added that a black-handled kitchen knife that she had never seen before had been left on the kitchen counter.
The sliding door was valued at $945.
The next witness, Pc Shandora Burrows, told the court she was conducting roadside checks at White Sands Road, Paget, on April 14, 2021, as part of Covid-19 regulations when she stopped a car at around 10.30am.
Mr Lema, who had a warrant out for his arrest at the time, was in the front passenger’s seat.
Ms Burrows told the court that she spoke with Mr Lema briefly before placing him under arrest for suspicion of aggravated burglary.
Mr Lema said: “I dealt with this already. Let me call my lawyer.”
The trial, in front of Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe, continues.
• It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.