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Zeehan man jailed for attacking roommates after saying they would move out

Written by Javed Iqbal

An 83-year-old Zeehan man who attacked his two roommates with an ax after telling him they wanted to move out has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Richard Andrew Burke appeared in Launceston’s Supreme Court and admitted to having attacked his roommates while sleeping in their bedroom at 1 p.m. 04.00 on 19 June 2021.

The court heard that Burke lived with 80-year-old Wendy Geddes and her daughter, 65-year-old Tracey Geddes.

“You went into their room, armed with an ax, while they both slept and hit Wendy in the head,” Supreme Court Justice Robert Pearce said in his sentencing.

“Awakened by this, Tracy ran over to disarm you … you then hit her on her arm and head.

“Wendy fought with you and disarmed you … then they took their car keys and fled and called the police.”

Tensions flared up according to houseboat plans

The court heard the three had been friends for over a decade and shared a loved one of boats.

The tension between them had arisen when the pike decided to move to Victoria and buy a houseboat.

The court heard that Burke had paid a deposit for the Zeehan house they lived in and the women would contribute the rest after the sale of their house in Queenstown.

But the women changed their minds and told Burke they wanted to move.

“You got angry and upset,” Judge Pearce said.

Burke pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful act, which was intended to cause bodily harm by striking Wendy Geddes in the head, face and arms and causing deep tears.

He also pleaded guilty to intentionally causing bodily harm to Tracey Geddes by striking her in the head and left arm with the same ax.

The court heard the women were deeply religious and had suffered mentally since the attack.

Justice Pearce also said that Burke and his mother were prisoners of war in World War II.

Burke will be eligible for parole after serving half of his sentence.

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Javed Iqbal

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