BEHIND BARS: Christopher Neale Roberts climbing into the police van after his appearance in Maryborough Magistrates Court on Thursday.
BEHIND BARS: Christopher Neale Roberts climbing into the police van after his appearance in Maryborough Magistrates Court on Thursday. Eliza Wheeler

Dangerous car thief who ripped through Gympie jailed

A CAR thief, who led police on a chase up the Bruce Hwy, ripping through Gympie, before crashing in Maryborough, will be off the road for more than six years. 

The Toowoomba father will also spend almost a year in jail.  

Christopher Neale Roberts, 30, pleaded guilty in Maryborough Magistrates Court yesterday to 13 charges including dangerous operation of a vehicle, wilful damage and unlicensed driving.  

This is after he stole car from a Sunshine Coast dealership last week and headed north, evading police at Gympie and Gunalda before crashing at a busy Maryborough intersection.  

Before being sentenced, the court heard the details of the four-hour chase that started on the Sunshine Coast where Roberts walked into a Sunshine Coast Hyundai dealership and stole Isabella Wood's car. 

After driving the white Hyundai out of the dealership, he headed north where he failed to stop for police in Gympie, Gunalda and Maryborough before the crash. 

The crash scene at the corner of Alice and Pallas St, Maryborough.
The crash scene at the corner of Alice and Pallas St, Maryborough. Eliza Wheeler

During the chase, Roberts reached speeds in excess of 145kmh, and police were called off from intercepting on three occasions. 

Police Prosecutor Kathryn Stagoll told the court Roberts' actions could have had far more serious consequences.  

"Most important is the danger inflicted on other drivers on the Bruce Hwy," Sgt Stagoll said. 

"I note [Roberts] clipped another car while on the highway, it was very fortunate that it did not end another way." 

Defence lawyer Travis George said his client was extremely remorseful for his behaviour. 

"He accepted the police facts 100%," Mr George said. 

"He doesn't have a good explanation for what happened." 

Roberts will be eligible for parole in March next year.

Gympie Times


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