‘A roadmap to crime’

Shaun Francis Whittaker claims he has been “incarcerated in some form” for 27 of his 41 years.

He made the claim in his “Memoirs from Inside the Wire” which was handed to Christchurch District Court Judge Alistair Garland at his home invasion and robbery sentencing.

Judge Garland jailed him for six years six months on nine charges, but he also referred to Whittaker’s “anger and grief” about his upbringing.

He said: “It would be no exaggeration to say that if half of what you have said is true, it reads like a road map to crime.”

Defence counsel Tony Garrett said that Whittaker’s “miserable, oppressive, abusive background” would not be apparent to the victims. He claimed in his memoir – which was handed up and read by the judge – to have been in some form of incarceration for 27 years throughout his life.

Whittaker has attention deficit syndrome and 150 previous convictions. They include theft, obtaining by deception, burglary, assault, assault on a woman, assaulting the police, dishonestly using a document, receiving stolen property, threatening to kill, possession of an offensive weapon, and eight previous convictions for driving while disqualified.

Now he has been sentenced for a home invasion aggravated robbery, unlawfully getting into a car, another disqualified driving, multiple frauds for attempts to use a bank card taken in the robbery, possession of an offensive weapon – a crossbow – and assault.

Mr Garrett told the sentencing of a three-and-a-half year period from 2012 when Whittaker’s record showed no offending. At that time, he was placed on a drug called Concerta to deal with his attention deficit syndrome and had a job with a geo-technical company.

Unfortunately, when he moved to Canterbury, clinicians decided he would no longer be prescribed the drug and he drifted back into drug use and offending.

Whittaker carried out an armed home invasion on a couple he knew, aged 67 and 64. The woman’s victim impact statement was read out by Crown prosecutor Chris Bernhardt. She said she was now terrified to be in the dark, and only really left the house for her cancer treatment.

“You attempted to ruin our lives for the sake of a few dollars, a cellphone, and bank cards,” she told Whittaker, who had written letters of apology to the victims.

The incident happened at a Templeton house on September 3, at 7.15pm, when Whittaker went in through an unlocked door and demanded money from the safe. “I know there’s a safe,” he shouted.

There was no safe, but Whittaker tapped a fake firearm against the woman’s chest and stabbed the man in the hand with a screwdriver, causing a small graze. He also produced a bullet and pretended to load the “gun”. He took $30 and bank cards, and then used one card to repeatedly try to get cash, but only managed to buy some cigarettes.

A week later, he pointed a crossbow at another man outside a bar at Edgeware, from the roadway, and then went over to him and knocked him down.
Probation assessed him as being a high risk of causing harm to others. His offending factors were seen as “a harmful pattern of drug use, a propensity for violence, attitudes, anti-social peers, and lifestyle”.

The judge reduced Whittaker’s sentence for his guilty pleas, and jailed him for six years six months. He disqualified him from driving for two years, but made no order for reparations because there was no prospect of Whittaker being able to pay any.

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