Young man fronts Ballarat Magistrates Court over Lake Wendouree burglaries and car tyre slashings

SCENE: Police pictured in Webster Street after multiple vehicles' tyres were slashed in February 2018. Inset, a man changes a damaged tyre.
SCENE: Police pictured in Webster Street after multiple vehicles' tyres were slashed in February 2018. Inset, a man changes a damaged tyre.

A young man accused of burgling two Lake Wendouree houses told police he saw a mansion and wanted to see how rich people lived, court documents show.

Police allege Benjamin James Hanshaw-Brown burgled the Wendouree Parade house 90 minutes before burgling a Webster Street property on February 12.

The 22-year-old, police believe, allegedly went on a rampage on the same night, targeting parked vehicles in the Lake Wendouree area by slashing their tyres.

A police summary obtained by The Courier states police identified 16 damaged vehicles with slashed tyres.

Hanshaw-Brown was allegedly seen in Drummond Street North on February 11 at 10.40pm holding a knife.

Two hours later, he allegedly entered a Webster Street house via an unlocked door but fled when the owner saw him.

At 2.19am Hanshaw-Brown allegedly used a rock to smash a window at a Wendouree Parade house to gain access.

“At the time the accused entered the house, there were two adults home asleep as well as their children,” the summary states.

“The victims have heard the accused breaking into the house and called triple-0.”

The summary states Hanshaw-Brown told police after his arrest he attended the houses because “he saw a mansion and wanted to see how rich people lived”.

Hanshaw-Brown applied for bail at the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Friday, shortly after his brother appeared in the dock for a separate matter.

The court was told Hanshaw-Brown was arrested on July 6 after he failed to front court for a committal mention and an arrest warrant was issued.

Defence barrister Hayden Rattray said his client missed his court appearance because he was in hospital and did provide a medical letter to the court.

He applied for bail on Friday, which the prosecution did not oppose, and he was released into the community on strict bail conditions.

He is banned from attending Wendouree Parade and Webster and Gregory streets, must comply with the Court Integrated Services Program, abide by a curfew and not contact prosecution witnesses.

In granting bail, magistrate Ron Saines said the charges were unproven and a non-custodial sentence may be appropriate. 

The police summary states Hanshaw-Brown is engaged with Youth Mental Health Services Ballarat and is on a regime of medication to manage his mental health.

The day before the alleged burglaries and property damage to the vehicles, Hanshaw-Brown refused to take his medication, his mother stated in the police summary.

Hanshaw-Brown faces 39 charges, including aggravated burglary, carrying a controlled weapon and intentionally destroying property.

He will return to court in September.