Troubled Gympie trio sentenced over drug debt shoot-out
THREE Gympie friends have been sentenced over a drug-fuelled gun fight in which a Caboolture man was shot in the face over an outstanding debt.
They are Tallen Steven Hames, 25, Sean Owen Denning, 35, and Maddison Paige Brown, 20.
With loaded guns on board, the three drove from Gympie to a home at Morayfield where they planned to either recover cash from a man or take his car as payment in March, 2015.
Unfortunately for them, their intended target was also armed and shots were fired from both sides before the assailants fled, leaving their seriously injured victim to fend for himself.
They were originally charged with attempted murder but the charge was downgraded after the victim recovered and was left with only minor scaring.
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Instead, the trio pleaded guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday to burglary whilst armed and malicious act with intent.
The court heard it was Hames who fired the first shots and caused the man's injuries.
He was on parole at the time having previously been jailed for two other violent home invasions.
His life, the court heard, had been a troubled one since his father shot dead his paternal grandparents before turning the gun on himself.
Hames was then raised by his maternal grandparents after his heroin-addicted mother, who also died recently, could not care for him.
Denning was said to have fired shots back towards the victim's house as they left.
His barrister, Catherine Cuthbert, said her client had a good work history which included stints at an abattoir and as as an agricultural weed sprayer.
She said her client had not offended since the late '90s until the 2010 breakdown of his relationship with the mother of his two children, which triggered his "descent into drug addiction”.
The debt the trio was chasing was owed to Brown's former best friend Jessica Groves, who was also involved in the attack and ironically, was the first of the group to come clean with police.
She will be sentenced at a later date.
Brown received a four-month suspended sentence in Maroochydore District Court last year after she threatened to kill Groves via a Facebook post. She had spent most of her 19th year behind bars awaiting the outcome of that charge.
Now pregnant with twins, Brown collapsed briefly in the court dock on Thursday and had to be caught by her co-accused.
Her barrister Stephen Courtney said while his client was aware the two men she was travelling with had guns, she thought they would be left in the car.
He said Brown's parents planned to sell their home at Gympie and move to Tasmania so she could raise her children away from bad influences.
Justice James Douglas said while the shooting victim was not injured as seriously as first thought, the trio's behaviour was "not on” and "society just can't operate” if people threaten others with guns to recover money.
Brown was sentenced to three years, wholly suspended, meaning she will not have to serve her time behind bars unless she reoffends.
Hames was sentenced to six years in jail which must be served in addition to the time he is already serving for breaching his parole. He will next be eligible for parole on June 20, 2019.
Denning was sentenced to five and a half years in jail and will be eligible for parole on September 23, 2018
- ARM NEWSDESK