Elizabeth Burns tried to escape Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday.
Elizabeth Burns tried to escape Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday. Contributed

Woman flees courtroom in bizarre Gympie case

A YOUNG woman's desperate escape from Gympie Magistrates Court lasted only seconds before she was recaptured.

Elizabeth Marie Burns, 27, struggled and swore at police as four officers wrestled her to the ground before escorting her back to the watchhouse.

The drama began as Magistrate Graham Hillan attempted to sentence Burns for a bizarre burglary and vehicle crime.

Burns' car had become bogged and, instead of calling a tow truck, she broke in to a nearby house, took car keys and used the resident's car to tow hers out of the bog, the court was told yesterday.

She returned the vehicle after unlawfully using it and left a note apologising for her actions.

"A normal person would have called a tow truck or a friend," Mr Hillan said.

Burns had denied the charge until being confronted with DNA evidence obtained from a cigarette butt at the scene, the court was told.

After that, she refused to participate further in her police interview.

As Mr Hillan was still delivering his sentence, which included actual jail time, Burns turned her back on the magistrate and took two steps towards the public gallery.

She then suddenly dashed for the door and escaped, but only managed a few steps into the foyer before being recaptured and arrested.

Mr Hillan had announced that she would go to jail for four months, with parole after that for the rest of a 12-month sentence.

She was tackled in the foyer by two police prosecutors and two detectives who responded instantly to the emergency.

Burns is now due to appear in court again this morning to allow her sentencing to be completed.

Gympie Times


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