Squatters damaged house with meth smoking

A Christchurch man will spend years paying for the damage to a close friend’s house, caused when he squatted there and invited around mates who smoked methamphetamine.

The Spencerville home had been rebuilt because of earthquake damage.

Now another $8474 will have to be paid by 31-year-old Jermahl Mathew Carroll for repairs needed because of contamination from the meth-use in the home, and missing items.

Defence counsel Sunny Teki-Clark said Carroll was sorry for the offending. “He has learnt the error of his ways, and wants to make amends.”

The owner of the house was a close friend “who had supported him through a number of previous life challenges”, he said.

The family went away on holiday to Nelson on December 21, 2016. Carroll had previously visited the house, and went there on December 28, knowing the family was away, and got in through an insecure laundry window.

He invited friends around and they smoked methamphetamine, used the house’s facilities, and items went missing including men’s watches, an engagement ring, and cash. Testing when the family returned showed meth contamination inside the house.

Mr Teki-Clark said Carroll accepted his responsibility. He would be able to get work after his release from prison and he wanted to repay the owners for the damage. Carroll’s partner was a pro-social influence on him, along with his infant daughter.

Carroll admitted charges of being unlawfully in the house and recklessly causing the damage.

Judge MacAskill said Carroll had admitted using methamphetamine three times around the time of the offending.

He had gone to the house because he had missed a court date and thought the police would not look for him there.

The offending had a serious impact on the victims financially, emotionally, and in terms of inconvenience. They declined a restorative justice meeting with Carroll.

Carroll had been jailed for 18 months in January for other offending. Judge MacAskill decided to add four months imprisonment to his current sentence and ordered him to pay the reparations at $70 a week after his release from prison. During six months of special release conditions, he will have to do a departmental rehabilitation programme, and drug and alcohol assessment and treatment as required.

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