Vic man used crossbow to blackmail aunt

·2-min read

A Victorian man who dressed up "like an SAS solder" and threatened his aunt with a crossbow to force her into signing away control of his dead father's estate has been jailed.

Zach De Visser on Tuesday faced the Victorian County Court, where he was sentenced to a total of five years and six months behind bars.

The 32-year-old had pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and blackmail at the Swan Reach home of his aunt and uncle, Tristesse and Harry De Visser, in July 2020.

De Visser had become angry, the court heard, at the couple's management of his deceased father's estate, which included properties and businesses.

The trio had once sat down for a mediation before De Visser decided to take the matter into his own hands.

He bought three 10-litre jerry cans and rented a car under his mother's name before making the four-hour drive from his home at Dromana, on the Mornington Peninsula, to Swan Reach, in east Victoria.

Sporting a balaclava, gloves and a headlamp, which Tristesse De Visser said made him look like an "SAS soldier", the offender told his aunt to sit down and place a pillowcase over her head.

The 32-year-old then held a crossbow next to her right ear and fired a bolt into a picture behind her.

De Visser told his aunt to sign documents he thought would give him control over the estate.

He said if Mrs De Visser, who had become executor after her husband had a stroke, did not sign the document, "bigger" people would be coming to make her do it.

She complied, rang police and found a jerry can on her verandah after her nephew left.

Its purpose remains unknown, the court heard.

Judge Angela Ellis said De Visser's life had taken a downward spiral after the 2015 death of his father.

He stopped taking medication for his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and started using ice.

But she said this did not excuse his actions, which had traumatised his aunt, who now spent most of her days "consumed by this invasion of her home and her mind".

"This was not a spur of the moment offending.There was a considerable degree of planning and preparation over a number of days," Judge Ellis said.

"Your eventual trip to Swan Reach occupied a number of hours in which you had ample opportunity to reconsider the folly of your behaviour."

De Visser must serve at least three years and six months before being eligible for parole.

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