Man shot in leg during bungled break-in at Teralba

Newcastle courthouse.
Newcastle courthouse.

BENJAMIN Rhodes went to run, but he could only crawl.

His mate, Ryan Jewell, sprinted across the remote property on The Weir Road at Teralba and jumped into Cockle Creek.

The pair had just been confronted by a homeowner, alerted by a security light at his farm shed, who interrupted their bungled burglary attempt.

It was early on May 14, 2016, and the second time in a few hours that the pair had broken into the remote property in search of power tools and firearms.

Rhodes was shot in the left leg at close range, with Jewell later telling the police he saw a flash, heard a loud bang and then heard his mate call out for help.

Jewell said he then heard more shots ring out over his head as he turned and fled. 

Rhodes managed to crawl across the property and was eventually found by a police dog lying in long grass in a ditch, bleeding profusely from a serious wound to his leg. 

He had lost so much blood he was considered critical and was in a coma when he arrived at John Hunter Hospital. 

Rhodes had to have his left leg amputated and now requires a wheelchair to get around, court documents state. 

Jewell and Rhodes pleaded guilty to aggravated enter dwelling with intent, which carries a maximum of 14 years in jail, and larceny.

They will be sentenced in Newcastle District Court in October. The homeowner has not been charged over the incident.

According to a statement of agreed facts, the man told police he saw the shed light come on and then saw two males walk inside.

He told his wife to call the police and went to investigate, confronting Rhodes as he came out of the shed.

“There was a short wrestle and he instinctively tried to point the barrel of the gun towards the ground for safety reasons,” the homeowner told police during an interview on the night of the break-in, according to a statement of facts.

“The gun discharged and shot that male in the leg.

“He picked up some shells, which were on the ground and fired them towards the other male as he was running off.”

Rhodes and Jewell had already broken into the shed earlier in the night and stolen a number of power tools and firearms, court documents state.

But when they returned, Rhodes said “someone started yelling at them and he begged them not to shoot him but he was shot at close range in the leg”, according to an agreed statement of facts.

“That male then threw the gun at him and told him to get off his property. 

“He tried to walk, but couldn’t so he crawled away.

“He heard more gunshots as he was crawling away.”

Rhodes remains on conditional bail due to his injuries, while Jewell is in custody.