Pauline Bates sentence hearing for breaking into elderly woman's East Maitland home

VICTIM: Janina Misiak, then 91, woke to find an intruder in the bedroom of her East Maitland home in November, 2015. Pauline Bates has pleaded guilty to aggravated break, enter and steal and inflict actual bodily harm. Picture: Perry Duffin
VICTIM: Janina Misiak, then 91, woke to find an intruder in the bedroom of her East Maitland home in November, 2015. Pauline Bates has pleaded guilty to aggravated break, enter and steal and inflict actual bodily harm. Picture: Perry Duffin

SHE survived World War II, the Gestapo and a Nazi concentration camp. 

But it’s the thought of a woman standing over her bed that still keeps 93-year-old Janina Misiak awake at night.

The great-grandmother, who emigrated to Australia in 1950, was asleep in her East Maitland home on the morning of November 7, 2015, when Pauline Elizabeth Bates, 47, broke in through a window and confronted her in her bedroom.

Bates, who was after money for drugs, had Mrs Misiak’s handbag stuffed into a shopping bag, and when the then 91-year-old went to grab it back, Bates kicked her in the leg. 

“I will never forget this,” Mrs Misiak said in an emotional victim impact statement, tendered during a sentence hearing for Bates in Newcastle District Court on Friday.

“I am 93. I have survived a war, the Gestapo and a Nazi concentration camp.

“I have lived a long life, I have lost loved ones, but I never had any problems with anyone, people have always liked me. In November, 2015, I was a 91-year-old independent great-grandmother.

“Now I am still scared, fearful and nervous.

“I am jumpy still and always look over my shoulder.

“I don’t trust people anymore. It’s not good for me at 93.

“It keeps me awake at night, or I wake up stressing during the night.

“I am always picturing her, I go to sleep and close my eyes and still see her staring at me.”

After kicking Mrs Misiak in the right leg, Bates said “I’m going” and fled through the front door.

Police were called and searched the area, eventually arresting Bates in the backyard of a home in Bruce Street. 

When police searched Bates they found a Mary MacKillop commemorative gold coin that was stolen from Mrs Misiak’s dressing table. 

Bates, who is in custody after a district court judge issued a warrant for her arrest, has pleaded guilty to aggravated break, enter and steal and inflict actual bodily harm. Judge Tanya Bright adjourned the matter to next month when Bates will be sentenced. 

In November, 2015, I was a 91-year-old independent great-grandmother. Now I am still scared, fearful and nervous.

Janina Misiak's victim impact statement