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The Canberra Times
The Canberra Times
Tim Piccione

Armed home invasions committed during sleepless 'ice bender'

A man committed consecutive armed home invasions during an "ice bender" that kept him awake for several days, a court has found.

The ACT Supreme Court heard one of the ordeals had left a young brother and sister with emotional and psychological scars marked by "fear, anxiety and nightmares".

Ivan Stephen Djerke, 47, faced the ACT Supreme Court on Tuesday, when Chief Justice Lucy McCallum sentenced the man to a three-year-and-eight-month jail sentence for two counts of aggravated robbery.

However, the judge ordered the offender, who has a lengthy history of methamphetamine and heroin abuse, to serve the sentence by way of intensive correction order.

"There is no doubt his use of drugs was the reason for his offending on this occasion," Chief Justice McCallum said in her sentencing remarks.

The offender burgled the homes of people he knew in search of drugs and money.

Upon finding out he would be heading to a residential rehabilitation facility rather than back into the court cells, Djerke said: "Thank you, your honour."

"If you're lucky, you get 70 summers on earth. I've pissed away 47 of them," the offender previously told a pre-sentence report author.

The man's offending took place in April 2022, when he and a co-offender entered a Kambah home in the early hours of the morning wearing masks, gloves and hoods, with a 12-inch long knife.

A woman in the home was punched in the face twice during the home invasion and the court found Djerke had held the knife to her neck.

There is no evidence to support which of the offenders committed the physical assaults.

The two men took off with the woman's phone, laptop, toolboxes, car and $300 she was made to send them via a bank transfer.

The following night, the two men broke into a Holt home, again while wearing masks and this time brandishing a machete and crowbar, by forcing a hole in the house's laundry door.

After a physical altercation with an 18-year-old man in the house, and threats made to an 18-year-old woman and a dog, the two offenders left with a CCTV hard drive and a speaker.

In an impact statement, the young male victim described the night-time break-in as an "utterly terrifying experience".

Chief Justice McCallum said the offending must have involved some degree of planning as Djerke targeted homes of people he knew.

"Thinking they may have some drugs or money, and attending those homes armed and masked," she said.

The ACT Supreme Court, where Djerke was sentenced on Tuesday. Picture by Sitthixay Ditthavong

The judge also remarked the crimes were not particularly sophisticated, exampled by Djerke and his co-offender using the stolen funds to have food delivered to one of their homes.

Djerke has already spent more than 18 months in custody related to his offending.

The judge ordered the offender to travel directly to the rehabilitation facility upon his release on Tuesday, when he will begin a 12-month program.

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