A man needed surgery to repair damage to tendons and nerves in his foot which he suffered during an encounter with a knife-wielding burglar in his home, a court has heard.
Jade Mangino, 24, pleaded guilty in the County Court in Bendigo to aggravated burglary with an offensive weapon, recklessly causing injury, five charges of theft, burglary, and two charges of intentionally damaging property.
The court heard it was about 1.45am on April 23, 2016 when Mangino entered the garage of an Echuca home and searched the car inside.
He grabbed a box cutter from a bench before making his way to a rear door of the Hare Street home.
A 63-year-old man was asleep in the lounge room when Mangino asked through the sliding door if he could use the toilet.
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The man refused but Mangino entered through the unlocked door and demanded the keys to the car.
Mangino followed the man towards the bedroom and became agitated, striking at the man twice and slashing his chest and neck.
He then began smashing framed pictures on the wall to the ground.
One of these hit the victim's foot and caused a deep cut that required surgery.
The man's wife woke and began yelling at Mangino, who fled with a laptop computer.
About 3.45am that same morning, Mangino broke into a business in Matong Road and took two sets of car keys.
He used one vehicle to ram open the gates and left the scene in another, to which he affixed number plates stolen from a third vehicle
Mangino then drove to a petrol station on Ogilvie Avenue and stole petrol.
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He was arrested the following month in Charleville, Queensland, where he was wanted on a warrant, and admitted to his offending in Echuca.
He was extradited to Victoria last July after finishing a term of imprisonment in Queensland.
Defence barrister Greg Buchhorn told the court his client had used driving as a way to clear his head and that night was looking for a car after falling into a depressive episode.
His client had been drinking that night, Mr Buchhorn said, and experienced alcohol abuse that stemmed from a disadvantaged and deprived childhood in which he was introduced to alcohol and other drugs at a young age.
He said Mangino's offending in Echuca was not planned and he brought the knife into the home with the intention of only scaring the occupants.
Mr Buchhorn said his client pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, and argued Mangino's mental health concerns reduced his culpability.
He submitted his client was also a young offender and rehabilitation should be an important consideration in sentencing.
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The court heard Mangino had spent two years and nine months in custody prior to this matter for other offending interstate.
Judge Michael Murphy noted the risk of institutionalisation had to be taken into account.
Prosecutor David Cordy agreed, and noted his youth also ought to be considered.
But he said it was "breathtaking" to suggest Mangino's culpability was reduced, arguing he knew his tendency towards such actions when drinking.
He also rejected Mr Buchhorn's assertion the offending was at the lower end of the scale in terms of seriousness.
"This is every homeowner's worst nightmare," Mr Cordy said.
Mangino remains in custody and will be sentenced on Friday.
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