Drug addict strangles dealer after being overcharged

JOSEPH Leefe's addiction to morphine led him to break into a drug dealer's home and strangle the man with a mobile phone charger cord.

But the New Zealand man was courteous by nature, according to his defence lawyer Jeff Clarke.

Doctors prescribed Leefe with morphine after a motorbike accident some years ago. His addiction to the pain killer led him to force his way into the Rockhampton drug dealer's home and beat him, Mr Clarke said.

Leefe and co-offender James Pattenden yesterday pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton District Court to aggravated robbery, burglary and assault charges after they broke into a Rockhampton man's home in October 2012.

The court yesterday heard the pair's single motive was to "punish" their dealer over a drug transaction they weren't satisfied with.

Crown prosecutor Russell Hood said the complainant was asleep when the pair broke in. Mr Hood said they "punished" the victim for charging them too much money in a previous dealing.

The victim was threatened and repeatedly punched. It was heard in court that one of the offenders used a baseball bat to strike the complainant.

Leefe's defence lawyer Jeff Clarke told the court, despite his client's actions, Leefe, 43, was a courteous man who struggled through a tumultuous upbringing.

Pattenden's defence lawyer Tom Polley said his client also suffered from a tough upbringing in Sydney.

Mr Polley told the court his client was at one point living on the streets but was trying to turn his life around, having stayed off drugs since the beginning of this year. Judge Kerry O'Brien sentenced Pattenden to four years in jail. He will be eligible for parole in July next year. Leefe was sentenced to six years jail with a parole eligibility date of October 25, 2014.

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