A lower-tier Wests Tigers player served as the driver in an armed break-in and robbery incident, where police allege a gun was discharged, and one of the victims was informed their friend had been killed.
Iverson Fuatimau, a 23-year-old winger with Western Suburbs, who had been on a train-and-trial contract with the Tigers’ top squad during the summer of 2022, has pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated break and enter and robbery in company. His sentencing is scheduled for next week in Campbelltown District Court.
In May 2022, Fuatimau drove two other men to a residence in St Helens Park, during which the break-in occurred. As per the statement of agreed facts in relation to Fuatimau’s case, the two men scaled the back fence of the house while Fuatimau stayed in the car as a lookout. One of the residents, who was present at the time, noticed the intruders and called two friends for help.
Allegedly, the two men forcibly entered the house, with one of them brandishing a silver pistol. The only resident who managed to escape alerted the authorities, while Fuatimau remained in the car. The two intruders purportedly threatened the lives of the friends of the occupants, emptied their pockets, and confined them to separate rooms.
Despite the victims claiming not to live in the house or know the whereabouts of valuable items, the intruders demanded information on “papers” and other valuables. Additionally, one of the men wielded a knife, while the other had a firearm. The one with the gun reportedly pressed it against one victim’s temple and made threats.
This individual then went on to place the gun against the other victim’s head, cocked the pistol twice, and removed two bullets. One of the bullets allegedly ended up in the shower, and the gunman retrieved the other, warning the victims about the consequences if they didn’t comply.
The gunman is said to have reloaded the bullet, fired a shot into the wall near one victim’s head, and threatened the other victim. The victims were further menaced as the two intruders ransacked the house, with one of them suggesting they needed to harm both victims since they had seen their faces.
The intruders eventually departed after taking two handbags, old mobile phones, an iPad, jewelry, a bottle of perfume, and a box of Christmas lights. Before leaving, they confronted another friend of the residents who had arrived in response to an SOS call.
Fuatimau urged the others to leave, saying, “Let’s go, let’s get out of here.”
When the authorities eventually stopped the group, one of the two men allegedly claimed he was a “victim” of a kidnapping.
During a search of the allegedly stolen vehicle, the police discovered a silver .38 super automatic calibre Strayer Voigt pistol with a spent cartridge in the chamber and a black Glock-style Gel Blaster pistol. Fuatimau, who was driving the Haval, was also arrested. The prosecution does not allege that Fuatimau was aware of the presence or use of weapons during the incident.
Fuatimau, who made three appearances for the Magpies in 2022, was seen as a potential candidate for his NRL debut prior to the incident. In February of that year, Tigers winger David Nofoaluma had praised Fuatimau’s performance during the pre-season.
Fuatimau is no longer contracted with the Tigers, and the club declined to comment on the matter. Fuatimau has retained prominent lawyer Elias Tabchouri as his legal counsel, but Tabchouri has not provided any comments.
These revelations follow the recent charges against Tigers junior Masei Tavui, who was charged with the murder of Dejan “Danny the Serb” Radulovic in Sydney’s inner west.