Sep 19, 2007

The Strange Tale of Jamie Lacey

Sometime in September 2004, Jamie Lacey took a lot of drugs. Amphetamines, mainly, but also some acid. He was in a pretty hyped-up state by the time he decided to break into a neighbour's house in Milmerran, west of Brisbane. He knew the tenant was away, the house had been dark for days, and he scoped it out thoroughly before forcing his way in through a window.

Jamie Lacey doesn't remember a lot about that night. He doesn't remember exactly which night it was - only that it was sometime between the 1st and 23rd of September, and that's only because that's what the police told him. He credits his memory loss to his drug abuse, something he's struggled with since his late teens. What details he does remember are far too embarrassing to talk about. He's a bit ashamed.

The tenant came home at the end of September, and found her bathroom in disarray. Pornographic magazines were strewn around the floor, and on the benchtop, and the shower screen was broken. She called the police.

Attending officers soon realised the case was not the straight-forward break and enter they'd been expecting. For starters, nothing was taken. However, the vaccuum cleaner had been removed from its normal resting place, and left scattered on the floor. Their attention was also drawn to a strange construction that had been left in the bathroom - a Toilet Duck detergent bottle, with a wooden "protrusion" sticking out of it, and a latex glove covering said protrusion.

It seems both had been used as sex aids.

Police didn't charge Jamie Lacey over the offence at first. They questioned him; and even went as far to search his room, discovering a black bag filled with condoms, latex gloves, cream and a tapered wooden stick. Jamie Lacey told police it was his "masturbation bag". But the recovery of DNA samples took time, and successful matching took even longer, and it was only in the early months of 2007 that Jamie Lacey was arrested.

Jamie Lacey fronted the Brisbane District Court on Wednesday September 19, 2007. He pled guilty to one count of break and enter and one count of wilful damage, in relation to the broken shower scene.

The nature of his awkward and somewhat bizarre activities during the break in was discussed in detail by the prosectutor, defence lawyer and judge during sentencing. Jamie Lacey had not been charged over the apparent misuse of household appliances, but the fact something of a serious sexual nature had occurred necessitated the discussion of a possible prison term. However, the fact that Jamie Lacey had been high on a drug known for its side-effect of increased sexual stimulation was taken into account. Jamie Lacey's lawyer also argued that it couldn't be conclusively proven that he had abused the vaccuum cleaner. To which the judge replied, "I'm sure your client didn't hoover the carpets".

After an hour or so of to-ing and fro-ing, the judge brought down a sentence of 12 months' jail, to be served as an intensive correction order in the community. He took into account the fact that Jamie Lacey had been performing community service admirably (after a previous offence), had stopped breaking into properties, moved to a different town, tried to get over his drug problems, maintained a steady job at a meatworks for two years (inspiring his boss to write a glowing reference), and was supporting a partner and a seven-month-old baby son.

The mother and son sat in the public gallery, directly behind the plexiglass back wall of the dock in which sat Jamie Lacey himself, while all of this went on. The baby, who had the sweetest face you're ever likely to see on a child, behaved well, apart from the odd "goo-goo" sound. When the judge announced that it would be counterproductive to put Jamie Lacey in jail, forcing his partner and son to live with relatives, the mother contained the big smile that wanted to burst out over her face, and settled instead for bouncing her knee up and down, faster and faster, for the little boy's amusement.

When the judge was finished, and Jamie Lacey was allowed to leave the dock, he made straight away for the stroller, which had been parked on the right-hand side of the courtroom, just in front of a bench at which sat several journalists. He quickly made sure the safety break was off, and followed his partner and son out of the court.

Jamie Lacey was gone. His story made the wire service, and at least one radio news bulletin. How much his story will be re-told, giggled at and goggled at, is up in the air. How much Jamie Lacey will regret that strange night when he took too many drugs is indeterminable. How responsible a partner and father Jamie Lacey will turn out to be is the only thing that matters now.

Based on a true court story I attended today. Names are true, as the matter is on the public record. However, it is not my intent to cause further harm to Jamie Lacey, merely to recount this strange tale.

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