Thug cops nine years for burning inmate with hot paper clip

A ROCKHAMPTON prison thug has been jailed for nine years for burning another prisoner four times when he could not repay a debt for cigarettes and then holding four people hostage at gunpoint within a month of his release.

Steven Cheetham, 37, had barely been out of jail in his adult life and Justice David Reid said he feared the man was institutionalised.

Judge Reid said Cheetham had used a heated toaster rack three times and a heated paper clip, which branded the other man with the letters BB, to assault the fellow prisoner which he described as shameful.

He said it was not surprising Cheetham had to serve out the whole of the sentence that landed him at the Rockhampton Correctional Centre.

Brisbane District Court heard Cheetham had a long history of armed burglaries and robberies while armed, one earning him a 10-year jail stint.

After Cheetham was released from the sentence he was serving at Rockhampton, he threatened violence against the four people he held hostage at a Mount Gravatt home in Brisbane, using two as human shields when police arrived.

Judge Reid said that would have been a terrifying experience and it was fortunate no one suffered physical injuries, though he had little doubt they suffered psychological distress.

He said Cheetham had an appalling upbringing filled with abuse which was likely where he learned violence as a way to resolve disputes.

Cheetham must serve 6.5 years of his nine-year jail sentence before he can be considered for parole.

He has already served 586 days in custody.

Fellow Rockhampton prisoner Nicholas Anthony Esposito, 21, was sentenced, for assaulting the same prisoner, to 53 days already served in 2013.

The court heard he held the man in a chokehold in the kitchen over cigarettes owed to him and questioned why he was no longer "hanging" with him and Cheetham.



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