Harrington Park home invasion: Bradley Soper likely ‘confused’ in Johan Schwartz break-in
Friends of the bodybuilder who died during a break-in after the homeowner disturbed him have speculated about what he might have been doing inside the Sydney home.
Police say Harrington Park resident Johan Francois Schwartz, 44, was woken about 7.30am on Sunday by his dogs barking and “challenged a male intruder located in the lounge room”.
Bradley Soper, 35, a personal trainer and weightlifter, collapsed and became unconscious after a struggle and died at the scene.
Mr Schwartz was questioned for several hours by police but subsequently released without charge pending further inquiries.
Shocked loved ones continue to ask questions about the bizarre incident, describing Mr Soper’s behaviour in the lead-up to the home invasion as out of character.
“His headspace and thoughts at the time are unknown but I can wholeheartedly say he would not have gone into that house to steal or hurt anyone,” a close friend from his hometown of Dubbo told 9 News today. “Rather, he (was) just confused of his whereabouts.”
Homicide detectives are assisting in the investigation and are awaiting the outcome of a post-mortem examination to determine the cause of Mr Soper’s death.
Mr Schwartz’s wife and young child were home at the time of the incident.
Detective Chief Inspector Shane Woolbank on Sunday said “generally people are entitled to their home, and they’re entitled to use reasonable force to protect themselves and their property”.
Criminal defence lawyer Omar Juweinat says a “reasonable person” would likely feel threatened and fear for their family if they disturbed an intruder in their home.
That could form the basis of a legal defence, he said.
“You wake up to find an intruder … I’d be perplexed if police charged an occupant for defending their family,” Mr Juweinat told AAP on Monday.
“If he was prosecuted it would shake up the law in a way I’ve never seen.”
Comment has been sought from Mr Schwartz.
A Reddit social media account linked to Mr Schwartz commented on February 3 on a video showing an alleged mobile phone thief being held and pulled alongside a car by someone in the vehicle.
In the video, the thief, whose hand was in the car, is repeatedly punched in the head by those said to be the potential victims of the theft.
“If he is committed to crime, he will next time bring a gun and target someone more vulnerable like an 80-year-old,” the Reddit comment states.
“No sympathy. The person on the receiving end of his crime could also be poor, and worked hard at an honest job to buy that phone. What does his theft do to that honest person?”
The comments were made two weeks before the break-in at Mr Schwartz’s home on Sunday.
Soper was a strength and conditioning coach, according to his Instagram account School of Strong, which showed him competing in various Strongman competitions around the world.
In December Soper posted a photo to Facebook of himself third on a Strongman Champions League podium in Goa, India.
Another post showed him dead-lifting 250kg more than a dozen times.
Friends and clients paid tribute to Soper on social media on Monday, with one describing him as “a great bloke, an inspiration and an awesome coach”.
“Very sad news — I cant believe it — RIP Brad Soper,” said another.
Originally published as Intruder likely ‘confused’ during break-in