Man killed during violent home invasion

·4-min read
Michael Menzel was killed during a violent home invasion.
Michael Menzel was killed during a violent home invasion.

Two men involved in a violent home robbery where a man was killed while his 13-year-old daughter was metres away in the next room have been sentenced.

Beau Edward Cunningham, 36, and James Carstairs-Patten, 36, each pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday to the manslaughter of Michael Menzel.

The 48-year-old died from a gunshot wound to his leg during a violent home invasion at Gleneagle, southwest of Brisbane, on October 14, 2019.

Michael Menzel was killed during a violent home invasion.
Michael Menzel was killed during a violent home invasion.

Cunningham and Carstairs-Patten were a part of a group of five people who broke into Mr Menzel’s home while disguised wearing Halloween-style masks before the killing.

The court was told the pair, along with three other co-accused, had gone to Mr Menzel’s house to settle a drug debt he allegedly owed one of the group.

Crown prosecutor David Nardone said while Cunningham and Carstairs-Patten did not shoot Mr Menzel, their involvement in the plan to rob him while armed with weapons made them accountable for his death.

The court was told Cunningham had been involved in planning the home invasion and had assisted in purchasing weapons and “menacing-looking skull masks”.

Mr Menzel’s family leaves court after Beau Edward Cunningham and James Carstairs-Patten were sentenced for manslaughter. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall

He said Carstairs-Patten had met with the group the night before the home invasion and agreed to help.

The group of five arrived at the Gleneagle home in a stolen car about 5.30am before Cunningham kicked the front door down.

The court was told each member had been given a task once they entered the house, with Cunningham and Carstairs-Patten ordered to make sure Mr Menzel’s housemate was “controlled”.

Mr Nardone said while Cunningham’s “role isn’t clear” once inside the house, he and Carstairs-Patten entered the front room to find the housemate.

Cunningham kicked the ensuite door down, ordering the housemate out of the shower, the court was told.

Mr Nardone said Carstairs-Patten then threw black zip ties in the man’s direction and when he refused to use them to tie himself up, the man was struck in the head with a hammer by Carstairs-Patten.

The court was told that while Cunningham and Carstairs-Patten were with the housemate, another man shot Mr Menzel in the leg.

The family and friends of Beau Edward Cunningham leave the court after he was sentenced to more than eight years in jail for manslaughter. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall

Mr Menzel’s 13-year-old daughter was also in the house at the time.

Mr Nardone said the young girl had tried to come out of her bedroom to see what was going on when she heard loud noises from the house but was quickly rushed back into her room by a member of the group.

She then heard her father screaming when he was shot.

He said once Mr Menzel was shot at close range in the leg, the group ran from the house and drove off in a car waiting outside that was later set alight by one of the men.

The young girl ran out to see the five people fleeing in the car before she ran back inside to try to help her father.

She called for an ambulance but Mr Menzel was pronounced dead about 7am.

The court was told the daughter, who is now an orphan, continues to learn how to cope following her father’s death.

“She feels lonely all of the time, she realises her father won’t walk her down the aisle if she were to get married, and any children she has will not know her grandfather,” the girl wrote in her victim impact statement that was read out in court.

Mr Menzel’s family shared with the court how his death had affected them. NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall

Justice Sean Cooper said while each member had a different role to play in the home invasion, they were all armed with varying styles of weapons in a bid to cause fear.

“Each of you knew the purpose of the exercise was to get all the money and drugs in the dwelling, none of you were given the explanation where in the dwelling would be,” Justice Cooper said.

Cunningham was sentenced to eight years and six months for manslaughter, stealing, and burglary with violence and assault while armed in company.

He was also sentenced for a separate matter of supplying drugs while in custody.

He was further sentenced to 16 months in jail for that offence.

Justice Cooper ordered Cunningham be eligible for parole in October, having served more than three years in pre-sentence custody since his arrest in 2019.

Carstairs-Patten was sentenced for manslaughter, burglary and assault occasioning bodily harm while armed.

Justice Cooper ordered Carstairs-Pattern to serve five years’ imprisonment immediately suspended for five years, taking into account the 3½ years he had already spent in custody.