A homeless man has been jailed over a “terrifying” attack on Melbourne radio host Kate Langbroek during which he repeatedly kicked her front door as she tried to protect her three sons.
“You were completely and utterly out of control,” Melbourne magistrate Fiona Hayes said on Tuesday as she jailed Defa for 14 months after he pleaded guilty to several charges. The incident struck fear into Ms Langbroek’s family and changed the way they – particularly the children – view their safety at home.
“Their feeling of safety in their own home has been substantially affected,” Ms Hayes said. “For kids that’s a really big thing. That will take them a long time to feel safe again in their home.”
Ms Langbroek and her husband Peter Lewis had just returned from a night out to relieve their babysitter when Defa launched the attack.
Defa first came at the babysitter on the street, banging on her car as she sat inside, before rushing Ms Langbroek’s home. He pushed past Ms Langbroek as he made his way through the front gate, knocking her down and causing grazes.
Ms Langbroek then ran inside and locked the front door before Defa could get inside.
She braced against the door as Defa yelled “this is my f***ing house and I’m f***ing coming in”.
“He continued to kick the door a number of times until Ms Langbroek thought the door was going to fall in,” a prosecutor said. “This would’ve been quite a terrifying experience for all involved.”
Defa eventually stopped kicking and approached a neighbouring house, yelling out "I'm going to drug all of you".
By this stage police had been called, arriving to subdue and handcuff Defa. Defa was deemed unfit for interview at the time and has been in custody since.
He pleaded guilty to seven charges, including assaulting Ms Langbroek, trespass, possessing a dangerous article and resisting arrest.
Defa's lawyer Chris Hooper said his client, in his drug-affected state, really thought Ms Langbroek's home was his.
"He genuinely believed he resided in those premises," Mr Hooper said. "He's really sorry. He appreciates the wrongfulness of his behaviours."
Defa, who came to Australia from Ethiopia in the 1990s, has struggled with homelessness and mental health issues for a long time.
He was jailed for at least eight months, and given time already served he will be eligible for parole in less than four months.
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