Decade in jail for cop impersonator’s bloody burglary
Emily Woods |
When police arrived to find blood splashed across walls and pooling around the bodies of two men, they believed they were dead.
Neil Cairns and Scott Sykes had been viciously beaten with hammers and rendered unconscious by two men dressed as cops.
“This is a police raid get on the floor, face down, where are your drugs?” one of the men yelled at them.
It took more than seven years for William James Scriven to be brought to justice for his part in the bashing.
On July 25, 2016, Scriven and Daniel Thomas entered a Lilydale home, in Melbourne’s northeast, to steal cash and drugs.
Dressed as police officers, the men found Mr Cairns dozing off on a kitchen chair.
He led the pair to a toolbox with drugs inside, where the men stomped on him.
Mr Cairns tried to get up when he was hit on the head with a hammer and repeatedly belted with the tool until he passed out.
Mr Sykes awoke when he heard men yelling, walking out of his bedroom to find one of them screaming “I’ll kill you”.
After a struggle, he was hit from behind and fell to the ground.
While face-down on the floor he was beaten by Cairns and Thomas, and then had his pants pulled down.
The pair ran, taking cannabis and methamphetamines with them.
Neighbours called police, who arrived to find a blood-soaked crime scene and two men they initially believed were dead.
The police heard Mr Cairns scream and found him against a wall with a mask of blood, while Mr Sykes had no signs of life.
Both were taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries, but survived after emergency surgery.
To this day they continue to suffer, with Mr Sykes reporting severe headaches after a piece of his skull was missing and Mr Cairns walking with a limp, the Supreme Court was told.
Scriven and Thomas were initially charged with attempted murder, but Thomas later pleaded guilty to intentionally causing serious injury, aggravated burglary, theft and threatening to kill a police officer.
He was jailed for a minimum of nine years in September 2019.
Scriven, meanwhile, would not be sentenced for another four years.
His first trial, in October 2018, was adjourned because a judge was not available.
A jury was discharged a few days into his second trial, in mid-2019, after he withdrew legal instructions.
Between 2019 and 2022 several trial dates were vacated due to Scriven “chopping and changing legal teams” or because of COVID-19, Justice Christopher Beale said.
He eventually pleaded guilty to four charges, including intentionally causing serious injury in circumstances of gross violence, in September 2022.
Justice Beale jailed the 44-year-old for up to 12 years and nine months on Thursday, with a minimum of 10.
“This was extreme violence carried out in company in someone’s home and has had a profound and enduring impact on the victims,” he said.
Scriven had only been out of prison for three weeks before committing the violent assaults, which the judge said made the offending more serious.
Further, his late plea and violent history showed his rehabilitation prospects were “bleak”.
Scriven has already served more than four years of his term.AAP