A former soldier who tied up a woman at gunpoint while trying to get his cat back from Melbourne’s Lost Dogs Home has been jailed for six years.
Tony Wittman was armed with an assault weapon and dressed in full-military style clothing when he went to the Home in January 2021, causing victim Bailey Scarlett to initially believe he was a legitimate police officer due to his appearance.
But when he pointed the gun through her car window as she arrived for a late-night shift, Bailey Scarlett was filled with terror.
“If you do as I say and listen to me, I won’t shoot you,” Wittman told her.
The 45-year-old initially told police his actions were due to a “brain meltdown” stemming from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – the result of 16 years in the Australian army.
Wittman said he had been to Timor-Leste and Afghanistan twice and to Aceh after the Boxing Day tsunami.
But Victorian county court judge Duncan Allen said while he did have complex post-traumatic stress disorder, his army explanation was untrue. Australian Defence Force records showed Wittman was a reservist for two years between 1995 and 1997 and was discharged for failing to provide efficient service.
The judge on Friday said his PTSD was actually the result of “gross trauma” he had suffered, including at the hands of his physically and verbally abusive father.
Allen said the relationship, including corporal punishment and degradation, was extremely painful and Wittman had been too embarrassed to tell police the true reasons behind his disorder.
At the time, Wittman’s cat had been missing for several days and he believed he had found it at the Lost Dogs Home. He had arranged an appointment to pick it up the following day but became increasingly anxious overnight.
“The only thing I really treasure in this world is that cat … and through anxiety, I acted irrationally and did not think of the consequences of my actions or the fallout,” he told police. “I was only thinking about saving…