News

Bizarre escapades as drug-fuelled pair go on a crime spree

3 hour Police persuit stopes train as stolen 4WD gets stuck on track and offenders flee. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer
3 hour Police persuit stopes train as stolen 4WD gets stuck on track and offenders flee. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer Mike Richards GLA160515POLI

CONFESSED ice addict Mathew Coyle has pleaded guilty in the District Court to stealing and torching cars causing over $50,000 damage.

In his drug-fuelled escapades around Gladstone described by the Crown prosecutor as 'bizarre', Coyle also dumped a stolen Landcruiser on rail tracks.

Coyle, 26, a spray painter, pleaded guilty before Judge Michael Burnett to 18 charges that include two counts of arson; dangerous operation of a motor vehicle; three counts of stealing a motor vehicle; wilful damage; three counts of failing to stop for police; and assault/obstruct police.

Susan Hedge for the Crown said Coyle had previously been sentenced over dealing cannabis and methylamphetamine with convictions for trafficking drugs and his many speeding offences had shown his "disregard for the law and safety of others".

Ms Hedge said that after his prison release Coyle was not able to stay away from the drug scene which resulted in his serious offences in April and May.

On May 2 he set fire to a borrowed red Holden Commodore. Ms Hedge said he drove away from a police RBT before using it to do burnouts in bushland, crashing and setting it alight. The uninsured car was destroyed.

On May 15 he and a co-accused Courtney Hawking went on a four-hour crime spree after Coyle stole a green Commodore which he drove on the Bruce Highway at speeds of 165km/h, overtaking multiple cars.

She said lives had been put at risk when Coyle overtook on corners and hills, driving erratically.

Ms Hedge said Coyle parked the stolen Commodore in a house driveway then poured a bottle of liquid onto it and set it alight. He and Hawking then stole a Pajero with Ms Hedge saying the 'bizarre' behaviour continued.

Police pursue as the offenders flee on foot.
Police pursue as the offenders flee on foot. Michael Richards

After driving into another yard they drove off with the owner's Landcruiser after reversing into a van and a gate.

The Landcruiser was found sitting on rail tracks with over $11,000 in damage. When police found them hiding beneath a house Coyle struggled violently.

3 hour Police persuit stopes train as stolen 4WD gets stuck on track and offenders flee. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer
3 hour Police persuit stopes train as stolen 4WD gets stuck on track and offenders flee. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer Mike Richards GLA160515POLI

Ms Hedge said Coyle was the leader of the offending but Hawking had gone along and was no innocent bystander.

At the time Coyle was on parole.

Defence barrister Tom Polley said Coyle had an addiction to the drug ice and after his release from prison ran into old mates and "simply fell off the wagon".

Mr Polley said Coyle had been using amphetamines and has only varying recollections of the offences.

"He is surprised at his conduct. Says it was drug fuelled. He can't explain it.

"He is a hard worker but when he is under the influence things go horribly wrong."

Judge Burnett will sentence the pair tomorrow.

Topics:  crime spree, district court, gladstone, ice addict



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