A woman has been denied bail after allegedly causing $2500 damage to a North Coast church. Photo: file. Bev Lacey / The Chronicle
A woman has been denied bail after allegedly causing $2500 damage to a North Coast church. Photo: file. Bev Lacey / The Chronicle

'HELP ME': How woman caused $2.5K worth of damage to church

A WOMAN had to be pepper sprayed to stop her throwing makeshift projectiles at police from inside a North Coast church, a court heard.

Deborah Murphy, who faces eight charges from two separate incidents, appeared by videolink from custody in Tweed Heads Local Court on Monday to apply for bail.

She pleaded not guilty to break and entering a dwelling-house with intent.

The 59-year-old pleaded guilty to damaging property.

The Tweed Heads woman has not entered pleas to charges of goods in personal custody suspected of being stolen, possessing a prohibited drug, having a knife in a public place, possessing housebreaking implements and break and enter dwelling-house with intent.

Police facts tendered in court allege about 9pm on October 21, police were flagged down by someone who noticed a smashed rear window at St Cuthberts Church hall at the corner of Powell and Florence St in Tweed Heads.

It was alleged Officers heard a female voice saying 'help me, help me' followed by smashing sounds within the hall.

Ms Murphy began bombarding police by throwing items she found in the kitchen area of the church through the smashed window including the hot water urn, kettle, metal bins and ceramic mugs.

Court documents said the disability pensioner was later capsicum sprayed and arrested after causing $2500 damage.

Ms Murphy was on bail at the time for allegedly trying to break into the Coles Express Shell Service station on the corner of Wharf St and Frances St in Tweed Heads by damaging the door sensor and wiring about 2.50am on October 15.

She was also allegedly found with a 8cm knife she claimed was for cutting vegetables, an envelope containing $5800, and a variety of tools including screwdrivers she said were for fixing her car and 10.32g of cannabis she said someone planted in her bag, the police facts say.

Defence solicitor Phil Mulherin said Ms Murphy did not have a fixed address as she had recently had a falling out with her father and had moved from her parents home where she had been caring for her terminally ill mother.

Mr Mulherin explained before the most recent alleged offences, Ms Murphy had been taken to Tweed Heads Hospital by ambulance for a mental health assessment.

Mr Mulherin said his client was released from hospital and was feeling paranoid police were out to get her before seeking sanctuary in the church.

He submitted Ms Murphy was at risk of spending too much time in custody compared to any penalty given, if found guilty.

Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy denied bail and ordered a Justice Health Report.

The case will return to court on December 7.



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