Crime spree admitted


File image. © Andrew Bardwell

A Canterbury man faces a long jail term after admitting 44 charges from a crime spree that ended with a police pursuit in September.

Matthew John Woods has agreed that $18,500 cash the police found when they arrested him can be forfeited and paid to his victims.

He pleaded guilty during a video-link appearance at the Christchurch District Court today, and Judge David Saunders remanded him in custody for sentencing on January 30.

Defence counsel Tim Fournier acknowledged that a jail term of six or seven years was likely for the 43-year-old, who is listed on the charge sheets as having no fixed abode.

Woods admitted 27 charges of receiving stolen property, eight charges of burglary, possession of cannabis, morphine, and methamphetamine, failing to stop for the police, breach of a community work sentence and five charges of obtaining items by deception.

Mr Fournier acknowledged there was a “huge” number of victims. The police have provided a list of victim contact details so that they can be contacted by the restorative justice team.

Judge Saunders warned Woods that many victims might not want to meet him at a restorative justice conference, because of the time of year.

But if the meeting could not be held ahead of his sentencing in January, it could still take place after his jail term had begun, said the judge.

Woods was arrested after police went to a Sydenham address looking for him on August 23, because he was wanted on a warrant to arrest. Other property was found at other addresses linked to Woods.

They found a large amount of stolen property at the address, linked to burglaries and thefts in which property worth well over $200,000 was taken.

He was found and arrested after the driving incident in early September.

The police account of the offending refers to Woods being linked to a burglary because his DNA was found on a glove left at the scene.

The stolen items included big ticket items such as trailers, a mower, power tools, and laser levels.

Woods was caught after a police chase, which included road spikes being deployed.

Police originally laid a charge of aggravated assaul, alleging he had tried to run down an officer laying out road spikes during the chase. However, that charge was withdrawn ahead of his guilty pleas to the other charges. Woods did not accept the police allegation that he had swerved towards the officer.

Police also amended some charges from burglary to receiving, and reduced a charge of possession of the class A drug methamphetamine for supply – which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment – to a charge of simple possession.

The offending took place in Christchurch and Timaru from February 2016 until September this year.



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