Contributed

He fell in love with an escort then held her dog ransom

UNREQUITED love and a history of drug abuse led a couple to break into the home of an escort in South Mackay, assault her and steal her dog for ransom.

Mark Brenton Payne and Jessica Rebekah Hale, both 25 from Mackay, were dating for about three years when they committed the offences last year.

However, it was revealed during the trial that Payne had been using the escort's services for most of that time and that he was in love with her.

In the district court in Mackay, Judge Richards explained the series of offences on May 4 including home invasion and extortion was motivated by Payne becoming infatuated with the escort, then upset after finding out she had started dating an ex-boyfriend.

"So you seized on this idea of going to the house and demanding money with threats you would take property including her dog," Judge Richards said.

Judge Richards went on to explain on the afternoon of the incident Payne had kicked down the door in South Mackay while the woman was in the bathroom.

The woman had then called her boyfriend and asked him to contact the police.

The woman had then opened the door and Payne demanded money and jewellery before he and Hale punched her a number of times.

Payne started damaging the house by kicking and punching the walls before picking up the dog, giving it to Hale who took it outside.

Police arrived about 3pm, but the woman had told police Payne and Hale had been there to help her against others who tried to gain entry to the house.

"Later that day Payne you started to text her demanding $10,000 in exchange for the dog, otherwise it would be taken to Townsville," Judge Richards told the court.

The woman contacted the police, who searched Payne and Hale's home where they found the dog.

Judge Richards said the idea was Payne's and there was no justification for the offences - other than his feelings of hurt.

"It is serious offending, involving actual violence, damage to property, theft of the animal which she was very attached to, and of course extortion demands for large amounts of money," she said.

In sentencing, Judge Richards said Payne had a significant criminal history and Hale had been under his influence.

She explained Hale had been on a "downward spiral" since meeting Payne not long after he had been released from prison.

Judge Richards said Payne introduced Hale to drugs, including ice, and it was clear she was in a fragile mental state at the time of the offences.

Hale pleaded guilty to five charges including burglary, attempted robbery, stealing and possessing drugs and received two years jail.

She was released on parole immediately after Ms Richards said she had a "glowing" probation report and was endeavouring to change her life.

Payne pleaded guilty to 15 charges including extortion, burglary, attempted robbery, stealing, wilful damage, entering a premise with intent, possessing a weapon, possessing drugs, contravening a police order and three counts of breaching bail.

He was sentenced to four years jail and will be eligible for parole on November 6, 2017.



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