HE HAS been labelled a callous killer, a murderer, even the worst criminal in the state, but only during yesterday’s sentencing was a more detailed picture of Michael Allan Jacobs revealed.
His background is a chilling mark of social tragedy – a 49-year-old with a lifelong addiction to drugs who started on them from about 15, whose father died when he was seven, and who had lost three brothers to drugs.
The court was yesterday told Jacobs lost his father in an industrial accident when he was seven; his mother later remarried.
He dropped out of school in Year 9 and spiralled into a life of crime that would ultimately seal his fate in prison.
“I infer that his upbringing was not attended by privilege or indulgence,” Justice Button said.
The court was told how Jacobs suffered learning difficulties and never lasted at school, abandoning it in Year 9.
“By that stage he was already suffering from a serious problem with prohibited drugs, including heroin, and that issue has dominated and damaged his life for many years since then,” he said.
“Sadly, his three brothers have died as a direct or indirect result of abuse of the same substances.”
Justice Button detailed Jacobs’s lengthy criminal history.
When Jacobs was just 15, he was charged with a criminal offence.
Malicious damage, common assault and driving offences – all relatively minor – litter his record.
But in 1987 came an exception.
He was convicted of multiple armed robberies and sentenced to a maximum of 15 years in prison.
He served seven years after remissions.
“I accept, on the balance of probabilities, that at the time of the commission of those armed robberies, the offender was suffering from a drug addiction that was out of control,” Justice Button said.
Jacobs injected himself with methylamphetamine the night before last year’s fatal shooting, but it couldn’t be proven in court that this was a way out for his actions.
“It is also clear that he was well-entrenched in the drug scene of Tamworth,” Justice Button said.
But ever since he had been remanded in custody, after a lengthy hospital stint, Jacobs had put his time to use, Justice Button said.
“He is not unintelligent and has sought to use the past 18 months in custody constructively, by reading and developing an interest in botany,” Justice Button said.
But taking responsibility for his action since March 2 was something Jacobs had failed to do, Justice Button said.
“The offender ran a trial founded on an effort to shift blame to another,” he told the court.
“I am unable to be satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the offender is remorseful for this murder.”