Victorian Trainer Remanded For Sentencing

A greyhound trainer preyed on the elderly in a spate of burglaries across rural Victoria, a court heard yesterday. Serial thief Neville John Martin, 63, committed 44 burglaries across 33 towns between August 2000 and November 2006.

The County Court heard Martin would drive to country areas on his way to or home from greyhound meetings and enter the homes of his elderly victims while they were outside doing chores.

His victims included a 91-year-old and three people who have since died.

Prosecutor Mark Regan said Martin entered homes through unlocked doors to steal wallets, purses, bank cards, cash and jewellery.

“This is a protracted episode of calculated, predatory offending on vulnerable elderly victims,” he said.

The court heard Martin used stolen bank cards 13 times to withdraw cash from his victims’ accounts in amounts of up to $6600.

Mr Regan said if victims confronted Martin he would remain calm and claim to be looking for a lost animal or a non-existent “Mrs Raymond”.

Martin was captured when he tried to rob a neighbour of an earlier victim. She recognised him and called police.

Mr Regan said “outstanding police work” then tracked Martin’s previous crimes through witness descriptions, bank account records and phone intercepts.

Judge Frances Hogan said victim impact statements revealed Martin had left some people afraid and overly conscious about security.

“They are most brazen, premeditated offences. It is just extraordinary behaviour and has gone on for so long,” she said.

Judge Hogan said Martin’s offending was appalling and he seemed to have “no moral qualms whatsoever” about victimising the elderly.

Martin, formerly of Munro in Gippsland, pleaded guilty to 110 offences including theft, burglary and obtaining property by deception.

Defence lawyer Timothy Bourke said his client’s health was ailing after the discovery of a kidney tumour.

He said Martin had been a successful greyhound trainer who had got into financial trouble.

Martin was remanded in custody for sentencing on a date to be fixed.

Courtesy : Katie Bice, News.com.au