By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A Dandenong-raised man who wielded a large knife during a rapid series of aggravated home burglaries has been jailed.
Gregory Stephen Duiker, now 41, “terrified” three separate women in their homes in St Kilda in the early evening of 4 June 2018, Victorian County Court judge Fiona Todd said during sentencing.
“These events unfolded over approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
“And caused very significant distress to the women whose homes were entered, and to their friends, neighbours and family.”
It was only when Duiker was confronted by a tradesman at the third apartment that he “accepted defeat and left”.
“I note that all three women reacted very bravely to your terrifying behaviour,” Judge Todd said.
At the time, a homeless Duiker was barred from the area due to a family violence safety notice. He was also on bail and found with a small quantity of meth.
At the first intrusion, Duiker rung the doorbell then held a 25-centimetre serrated knife at the first victim’s face when she answered the door.
After a struggle, she fled her house and flagged down a passing driver.
Duiker left the house, allegedly telling the victim he’d stabbed her dog.
He stole $5500 of items including her phone, laptop, handbag, drivers licence and credit card.
A short time later, he pointed a knife in the face of a resident in the doorway of another apartment. She managed to slam the door shut on Duiker.
In the third case, he walked through an unlocked door of a nearby apartment.
He told a resident seated in her lounge room to “shut the f*** up, sit down, sit down” as he waved a knife.
A tradesperson working in the apartment confronted Duiker, who then apologised and fled.
“I don’t want to hurt you, I just want to get out of here. Please let me go,” he told the occupants.
Police arrested Duiker in a nearby alleyway, seizing the stolen items and a knife that slid from the sleeve of his jumper.
Judge Todd said Duiker’s intent was to steal, rather than to harm or carry out “acts of anger or punishment”.
“I accept that your offending was chaotic, unplanned and completely desperate, and not motivated by any particular malice towards the owners of the properties.”
Born and raised by a “good“ family in Dandenong, Duiker attended St Francis Xavier College in Beaconsfield up to Year 11.
During an uncompleted carpentry apprenticeship, he used cannabis, injected amphetamine then moved on to heroin.
By the time of offending, he was addicted to meth, alcohol and prescription tranquilisers.
In the days before, he’d presented to The Alfred hospital emergency department and Royal Melbourne Hospital, reporting his homelessness and heavy ice use.
Neither hospital offered ongoing support.
Duiker’s criminal history spanned 20 years – mainly for non-violent crimes to support his drug addiction, Judge Todd noted.
He’d also lacked access to safe, permanent housing, lingering on the public housing waiting list for 10 years.
Eight days after being remanded, he finally received an offer for a public housing tenancy.
While in custody, he completed courses, work certificates, a drug and alcohol course and counselling. His prospects for rehabilitation were “good”, Judge Todd said.
“Your participation in education while in custody has been exemplary and should give you confidence, as it gives me, that there is a different life available to you.”
Duiker was jailed for three years, including a 22-month non-parole period.
His term included 460 days already served in pre-sentence detention.