Locked up for rock rampage: man sent to prison for ‘unforgivable’ crime

Victim's pain: Life as I knew it was over

A QUEENSLAND man will spend up to 10 years in a prison cell for his part in a dangerous police pursuit and rock throwing spree that almost killed a Guyra painter.

Robert Joseph Jackson, 22, was part of a gang of five that terrorised police and motorists during a 168 kilometre rampage down the New England Highway near Glen Innes.

Rocks, gravel and bottles were thrown out the window at police and other cars during the horrific incident on November 1, 2012.

Patrick Garrett, now 30 years old, was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was driving home from work along the highway.

The gang were being chased by police when a stone was pelted out of the Holden Commodore into the path of his 4WD.

The rock smashed the window and hit Mr Garrett in the head, pushing bone and fragments of rock into his brain.

His father Steve, who was in the passenger seat, cradled his unconscious son as he managed to stop the car.

Mr Garrett detailed his horrific injuries in a victim impact statement, readout by his brother Shane, to the Sydney District Court yesterday during Jackson’s sentencing hearing – the first time he has come face to face with his attacker.

“I am angry that my life has been hijacked from me,” he told the court.

“What you have done to me is unforgivable.”

The court heard the gang’s car drove erratically, often on the wrong side of the road, forcing oncoming traffic to swerve. 

Jackson, who was one of the passengers, pleaded guilty to using an offensive weapon in company to prevent detention and causing grievous bodily harm to a person with intent to resist arrest. 

He was ordered to serve eight more years behind bars for both charges with varying non-parole periods.

In sentencing, the Chief Judge of the District Court Reg Blanch said the rocks were deliberately put in the car to throw at police should they be pursued.

“It is an astonishingly reckless and irresponsible course of behaviour,” Judge Blanch said.

“It has had some dire consequences for perfectly innocent people going through the course of their lives, in particular, Mr Garrett.”

Judge Blanch said Jackson had shown some remorse, telling a psychologist, “It was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done”.

Following the sentencing, another passenger, Kelvin Mark Muckan, pleaded guilty to similar charges and will be sentenced in April.

The driver of the car, Aaron Robert Dare, pleaded guilty to a number of offences and will be sentenced today.

A fourth male and a female passenger will stand trial next month.

Jackson will be eligible for parole in 2018.

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