EVIL EFFECTS: A glass pipe, commonly used by ice addicts to vaporise the drug before inhalation.
EVIL EFFECTS: A glass pipe, commonly used by ice addicts to vaporise the drug before inhalation. Contributed

Man's 'raging drug habit' sparked terrifying crime spree

A NORTHERN Rivers man who went on a frightening crime spree to fund his out of control ice addiction will spend at least three more years in jail.

In January 2015 Andrew James Smith broke into a random Lismore home while a mother and her four young children were sleeping, stealing the woman's wallet and car.

A few weeks later the then 24-year-old invaded a Tweed couple's Terranora home while they were sleeping and stole a black Mazda and the woman's handbag and wallet.

The car was involved in a serious crash and Smith fled the scene bleeding from the face.

The following day he broke into a rural property at Terragong on Kyogle Rd where he ransacked the home and again stole a vehicle.

Police later found a crashed ute with a glass pipe in it, which was matched to Smith's DNA.

Smith was on bail, parole, and subject to a good behaviour bond at the time of the offences.

The court also heard he had a criminal record 16 pages long, including a 16-month jail sentence for a serious assault in 2013.

At Smith's sentencing in the Lismore District Court, Judge G Hosking said Smith's victims must have felt a sense of "violation and apprehension" from the experience of "not being able to sleep securely in their homes".

Singling out the Lismore home invasion, he said it was not hard "to imagine the sense of violation and probably anger... to think about what might have happened to [the mother] and her children with an unknown intruder entering her premises late at night".

Judge Hosking noted the "considerable misery" Smith dealt others was motivated by a "very serious and longstanding drug habit".

Smith had started using ice at 21, and his addiction "rapidly escalated to high levels" with a peak of 1.5g consumption a day.

Judge Hosking said Smith himself had admitted his ice addiction had "cost him everything" - including his relationship with his partner and children.

He said he was "impressed" by Smith's evidence, including his "genuine remorse", insight into his crimes, and current "desire to improve himself" now he was off the drug.

He noted that Smith was born to a drug-using parents well known to Family and Community Services and had a tumultuous upbringing, attending 10 different primary schools.

He was also "likely to have unresolved feelings of grief" over the death of one of his three daughters as an infant, after which he embarked on the latest pattern of self-destructive behaviour.

Despite his "relentless offending", Judge Hosking argued Smith had "some prospects" of rehabilitation but had clear "psychological issues that need to be addressed".

He took into account the impact of his "deprived background" but said any special consideration in the sentence needed to be balanced by the seriousness of the offences.

Smith was given a total sentence of eight years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of three years and nine months.

He will be eligible for parole on June 6, 2019.

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