Rockingham: Navy serviceman fined for drunken threats and damage to property at guest house

A 22-YEAR-OLD Able Seaman with the Royal Australian Navy has been fined after threatening to shoot the owner of the Anchorage Guest House in Rockingham.

William Peter Russell pleaded guilty to two charges of damaging property and disorderly behaviour in public when he appeared at Rockingham Magistrates Court last Friday.

The prosecutor said Russell had been staying at the guesthouse on September 18.

He said about 3am Russell went to the property and ripped mesh from a door frame and the noise woke the property’s owner.

The owner confronted Russell, who began shouting abuse and swearing and then held up his arms in a way that made the owner believe Russell was holding a rifle.

Russell said he would shoot several times and as it was dark the owner could not clearly tell if he had a real gun.

The commotion also woke other guests staying at the house.

Russell then left but later returned and kicked in a glass windowpane to one of the rooms.

Police arrived and found Russell heavily intoxicated and that the ‘gun’ was a mobile phone.

Russell’s lawyer said his client had little recollection of the events after he left a nightclub earlier in the night, but did remember being in a police car.

He said Russell was extremely embarrassed and remorseful of the incident and admitted immediate responsibility.

He added he was upset about how he treated the victims.

The lawyer asked for a spent conviction and said his client was prepared to pay restitution to the victim.

Magistrate Leanne Atkins said Russell’s actions would have caused extreme fear due to current issues facing society.

“Even though you’re out at sea you must know that people are terrified of being terrorised with guns. It’s all over the media and newspapers,” she said.

“It is absolutely shameful; do you realise how that man, how those other guests, must have felt?

“It was dark, they could not know if it was a real gun or not; they would have been terrified.

“Your references do speak highly of you; particularly in emergency situations and that has earned you the respect of your colleagues.

“But your conduct was totally out of order, unacceptable and reprehensible.”

She granted a spent conviction and fined him $1000 with $680 to paid to the victim to cover the costs of the damages.