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Intruder who died in struggle with homeowner got in through the open garage door

A ‘zombie-like’ man who broke into a home and died in a struggle with the owner got into the house through the garage door that was accidentally left open, Daily Mail Australia can reveal. 

Homeowner Francois Schwartz, 44, was woken at 7.30am on Sunday by his dog barking before he found a man in his lounge room in Harrington Park, southwest Sydney.

A fight broke out and the intruder, 35, lost consciousness, went into cardiac arrest and later died.

Homeowner Francois Schwartz (pictured with his wife), 44, was woken at 7.30am on Sunday by his dog barking before he found a man in his lounge room in Harrington Park, southwest Sydney

A 'zombie-like' man who broke into a home and died in a struggle with the owner got into the house through the garage door that was accidentally left open, Daily Mail Australia can reveal. Pictured: Detectives at the house on Monday

A ‘zombie-like’ man who broke into a home and died in a struggle with the owner got into the house through the garage door that was accidentally left open, Daily Mail Australia can reveal. Pictured: Detectives at the house on Monday

A fight broke out and the intruder, 35, lost consciousness, went into cardiac arrest and later died. Pictured: Detectives at the house on Monday

A fight broke out and the intruder, 35, lost consciousness, went into cardiac arrest and later died. Pictured: Detectives at the house on Monday

Mr Schwartz spent more than 10 hours in police custody for questioning but was released without charge around 6pm on Sunday. Pictured: Detectives at the house on Monday

Mr Schwartz spent more than 10 hours in police custody for questioning but was released without charge around 6pm on Sunday. Pictured: Detectives at the house on Monday

Mr Schwartz spent more than 10 hours in police custody for questioning but was released without charge around 6pm on Sunday. 

The intruder, who is yet to be formally identified, got into the house after Mr Schwartz mistakenly left his roller door up on Saturday evening, neighbours told Daily Mail Australia on Monday. 

After entering the garage, the man was able to get through a door inside.

A private security company patrols the Harrington Grove estate and knocks on doors of homes with doors or windows left open.

But it is understood there were no patrols on Saturday night to notice the Schwartz family’s mistake.

Mr Schwartz is said to be extremely shaken after the altercation just metres away from his young child and his wife.

Mr Schwartz is said to be extremely shaken after the altercation just metres away from his young child and his wife (pictured)

Mr Schwartz is said to be extremely shaken after the altercation just metres away from his young child and his wife (pictured)

Detectives have seized CCTV footage from two separate houses which shows the intruder before he approached the Schwartz residence. Pictured: Mr and Mrs Schwartz 

Detectives have seized CCTV footage from two separate houses which shows the intruder before he approached the Schwartz residence. Pictured: Mr and Mrs Schwartz 

South African businessman Francois Schwartz (pictured) spent Sunday in police custody for questioning after confronting a barefoot home invader

South African businessman Francois Schwartz (pictured) spent Sunday in police custody for questioning after confronting a barefoot home invader

Detectives have seized CCTV footage from two separate houses which shows the intruder before he approached the Schwartz residence.

A neighbour who had seen the security vision said the ‘zombie-like’ intruder can be seen walking barefoot though at least 300m of a reserve with dense undergrowth that would have cut into his skin.

The troubled man then ducked under a very low fence, about a foot high, that could easily be stepped over.

Mr Schwartz and his family remained holed up in their Westwood Court home on Monday.

The South African finance worker moved in to the newly built house with his wife and young daughter in 2017 after buying the land a year earlier.

Neighbours described him as a lovely man who would never harm anyone unless he was defending his family. 

‘He’s a nice guy with a wife and a young kid, I hope he doesn’t go to jail. You should be able to defend your home,’ one said.

They added: ‘It’s a quiet neighbourhood, biggest problem we have is kangaroos and spiders.’

Mr Schwartz (pictured) was described as 'respectable and quiet' by his neighbours

Mr Schwartz (pictured) was described as ‘respectable and quiet’ by his neighbours

Following the struggle on Sunday morning, two neighbours ran to the home after Mrs Schwartz raised the alarm.

They unsuccessfully tried to revive him using CPR until paramedics arrived.

On Sunday Mrs Schwartz, who was carrying a toddler, and a teenage girl were spoken to by police at the front of the house before going back inside.

Neighbour Domenic Lombardo said he saw a man running through an adjacent construction site and acting unusually before the incident.

‘My dogs were barking pretty loudly, pushed up against the fence, because there was someone there,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.

The alleged home invasion took place at a newly-built house  in Harrington Park early on Sunday

The alleged home invasion took place at a newly-built house in Harrington Park early on Sunday

‘I heard heavy breathing and I jumped up on my retaining wall and I saw a guy in his 20s, with ginger hair, bare foot. He was breathing heavily and mumbling to himself.’

Mr Lombardo said he watched the man climb another fence and scramble into another property. 

Mr Schwartz and his wife were described as ‘respectable and quiet’ by their neighbours. 

Detective Inspector Shane Woolbank said people were ‘entitled to defend their home’ and could use reasonable force defend themselves and their property. 

The invader had a ginger-like moustache and beard, a scar on his left shoulder, and was dressed in a blue sleeveless top and grey knee-length shorts and no shoes.

The man also had a tattoo on his upper left chest reading ‘true to ourselves is our true honour’ and another in a foreign language on the upper inside of his left arm.  

Two neighbours ran to the home after the owner's wife raised the alarm and tried to revive him using CPR until paramedics arrived, but he died at the scene

Two neighbours ran to the home after the owner’s wife raised the alarm and tried to revive him using CPR until paramedics arrived, but he died at the scene

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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