Couple jailed over meth-fuelled crime spree
A couple embarked on a two-day crime spree involving home invasions, car jackings and a dangerous police pursuit at speeds of up to 180km/h before hitting and swinging a handbag at police during their eventual arrest, a court has heard.
Luke Deane Brandon - who was then a wanted parolee - and his partner Dianne Gail Wilson had turned to drugs in the days before their offending began on October 28, 2019.
The court had previously heard Brandon was suffering "the most significant personal crisis he'd ever faced" in the days before the offending, which included the death of their beloved dog, a Boxer named Tzu.
Their offences were committed against seven victims and extended from Parkside to Tailem Bend, through Strathalbyn and across to Goolwa before they could be heard yelling "love you" to each other during their arrests in a shopping centre carpark.
In sentencing, Judge Adam Kimber said the couple first stole a car from an 83-year-old woman at Parkside about 5pm on October 28, 2019. Wilson pushed the victim to the chest before they drove away.
Early the next morning the pair stole fuel totalling $80 from service stations in Murray Bridge, Tailem Bend and Strathalbyn.
Police spotted the pair in Tailem Bend and gave chase but terminated the pursuit when their car, driven by Brandon, reached speeds of about 120km/h in a 60km/h zone.
"Police lost sight of the vehicle as it was (then) estimated to be travelling at 160 to 180km/h," Judge Kimber said.
The couple were again spotted about 4.30am on October 29, 2019, at Strathalbyn and reached speeds in excess of 160km/h in a 100km/h zone.
"You travelled on to the wrong side of the road and towards oncoming vehicles," Judge Kimber said. "Your vehicle had no lights on."
The pair then drove into a paddock and later were detected speeding about 120km/h in a 50km/h zone.
"At one point the vehicle reversed heavily, colliding with a police vehicle which was stationary before the vehicle accelerated through the intersection," Judge Kimber said.
"The front of the police vehicle was extensively damaged."
The couple's offending also included entering a home at Goolwa South, damaging tools as they drove over them and stealing another car from a woman they knew.
They were eventually tracked to a shopping centre carpark in Goolwa where Wilson had pushed another woman, stole her keys and got into her car.
During his arrest, Brandon resisted police "yelling and throwing (his) arms around", hitting an officer in the face, while Wilson hindered his arrest by swinging a handbag at an officer.
They each pleaded guilty to multiple offences including aggravated robbery, theft and making off without payment.
Brandon had also admitted an aggravated count of driving dangerously to escape police pursuit, damaging property and resisting arrest. Wilson had also pleaded guilty to charges of trespass and hindering police.
"Your offending is serious. There is a need to deter you and others from offending of all of these types," Judge Kimber said.
He said their pursuit was extensive.
"There is a need to protect police who commonly deal with people seeking to flee, who are on drugs, and are prepared to expose others to risk," he said.
Brandon and Wilson, who smiled at each other as they entered the dock, have both previously apologised for their offending.
Brandon was jailed for six years and eight months with a non-parole period of four years and seven months. Wilson was jailed for six years with a non-parole period of three years and 10 months.
Judge Kimber disqualified Brandon from driving for three years upon his release from prison.
Outside court, Tim McGrath, for Brandon said his client genuinely hoped to reform and had "a long time in custody to think about that".
Originally published as Couple jailed over meth-fuelled crime spree