Hermit jailed after punching camper

A HERMIT with dissocial and narcissistic traits was sent to jail for one year after pleading guilty to seven charges.

Benjamin Joseph McGrath, who lived in a tent in Agnes Water, was convicted by Gladstone Magistrate Court this week of assault occasioning bodily harm, public nuisance, possessing drugs and utensils and assaulting two police officers.

At 1.30am on April 12 McGrath was at a camp site at Agnes Water when he started yelling obscenities about a "black Kiwi".

He disturbed a number of campers and four families left the following morning.

Later that morning at 7.30am he approached a group of people having coffee in an aggressive manner and accused one of them of calling the police.

He punched the victim twice with a closed fist.

The first punch loosened two of the victim's teeth and the second landed on the temple causing neck and eye damage.

The public nuisance offence occurred on May 15 at 11.50am when McGrath was observed punching a female in the head numerous times and abusing her verbally before pushing her into a glass window.

Later that day police intercepted McGrath while he was driving.

He became agitated and approached the police in an aggressive manner.

"Are we here to talk or are we ready to go?" he asked before shaping up to police in a fighting stance.

Defence lawyer Bill McMillan from DJP Lawyers said his client was a 33-year-old with a long history of mental illnesses.

"My client's behaviour escalated after the termination of a three year relationship," he said.

Magistrate Penelope Hay said McGrath had a history of violent offending.

She noted he had previously served terms of imprisonment for assault occasioning bodily harm and grievous bodily harm.

"You knew you suffered from mental health issues but you chose to stop taking your medication," she said.

McGrath will be eligible for parole on January 10, 2015.



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