A DRUG addict and career criminal who threatened a 75-year-old man with a knife during a brazen daylight break-in at Mayfield West has been jailed for a maximum of eight years in Newcastle District Court.
Matthew Paul Firth, 36, of Tighes Hill, appeared in handcuffs in court on Friday for sentencing after pleading guilty to a number of offences, including aggravated break and enter and commit a serious indictable offence.
The elderly man confronted Firth – who was in the middle of an early morning crime spree that included breaking into garages, houses and as many as six cars – in the bedroom of his Gregson Avenue home about 8am on November 24, 2015.
The elderly victim told the Newcastle Herald later that day that he was shaving when he heard a noise coming from another room.
He went to investigate and was heading towards the front door when he saw a man in his bedroom.
“I said: “Bugger me, what the hell are you doing here?” the man told the Herald.
“It took me a minute because I was a bit startled.
“At that stage he started trying to come out of the room to push his way through and I grabbed hold of him and I said: “Hey, what are you doing?
“Where do you think you're going?”
“Because he had my laptop under his arm.
“He turned around and held a knife in his hand, about a six inch blade, and he held it above his head.
“He didn't say anything, I think he had something in his mouth, but he didn't say anything.
“He looked very menacing and I'm not as fit as I once used to be so I thought I better let him go, so I did.
“I followed him out and saw he went down towards Werribi Street so I called the police.”
Police later determined Firth had gained access to the house by cutting a slit in the screen door.
He still had the property stolen from the elderly man when he was arrested 40 minutes later.
Firth also appeared in Newcastle District Court on Friday to appeal the severity of a maximum 18-month jail term he received for threatening a man with a knife at Bar Beach a week before the Mayfield West break-in.
On that occasion Firth was caught stealing the man’s bicycle from a garage in Wrightson Avenue.
But when the victim grabbed him by the shoulder, Firth pulled a knife out of his bag, held it towards the victim and said: “Just let me go or I’ll f---ing stab ya”, police facts state.
Judge Penelope Wass allowed the appeal and reduced Firth’s jail term to 15 months with a non-parole period of 10 months.
But for the Mayfield West break-in and other related offences, Judge Wass jailed Firth for a maximum of eight years, with a non-parole period of five years.
Firth will be eligible for parole in October, 2021.