Criminal trapped by flooding pleads guilty to 37 offences

A WANTED man, trapped in Gympie by floodwater in February, was sentenced to almost 30 years jail after pleading guilty in Gympie Magistrates Court to 37 charges.

Brisbane man Brett Stevens Athorn, 38, was stuck in Gympie by road-cutting floodwater and caught by police in Gympie on February 27, after failing to stop for police in Gin Gin and committing offences in Helensvale, Burleigh Waters, Toowoomba, Gilston, Pacific Pines, Eagleby and Elanora, among others areas.

Athorn was caught by Gympie police near Mellor St and charged with failing to take responsible care and precaution in respect to a syringe or needle, possessing drug utensils and possessing a mobile phone suspected of having been used in connection with the commission of a drug offence. The phone had text messages linked to the supply and production of dangerous drugs.

The three charges joined a series of 37 others facing Athorn on Tuesday. They included 20 of stealing, five of failing to stop a motor vehicle for police, four of driving without a licence and one of dangerous driving.

The majority of the stealing charges were for failing to pay for petrol.

Other charges included possessing tainted property (a Toyota station wagon and a Holden Commodore) and possessing items used in the commission of a crime after he was found with hydrochloric acid, caustic soda, iodine, syringes, cold tablets, filter papers, a PH test kit and a portable gas stove.

He pleaded guilty to all 37 charges and was jailed. Athorn will serve only one year in prison followed by a remaining year-and-a-half sentence, suspended for three years for dangerous driving, despite receiving sentences totalling 30 years-worth of jail time.

Prison sentences, each between six and 12 months, were handed down for individual offences including stealing, failing to stop and driving without a licence and were ordered to be served concurrently with the dangerous driving sentence. His 10 licence disqualifications added up to 20 years. He was also ordered to pay $5971.29 restitution for the stealing offences.

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