Garry Walter Fields jailed for Northern Tablelands crime spree after ramming police car near Glen Innes in 2017

File photo.
File photo.

A GLEN INNES man who sparked a major manhunt after ramming a police car has been jailed for more than five years.

Garry Walter Fields was on parole for a violent carjacking and police pursuit in the New England at the time of the six-week crime spree through the Northern Tablelands between March and May, last year.

Fields, who appeared via video link from Cessnock prison where he is being held, will now spend at least three years behind bars for 20 offences after pleading guilty.  

He admitted to a string of charges including aggravated enter land with intent and stealing, dishonestly obtaining property, assaulting and intimidating police, stealing cars and using an offensive weapon like a motor vehicle to avoid apprehension – an offence that carries a maximum of 12 years behind bars.

Each count on the indictment is aggravated by the fact he was on conditional liberty at the time.

Judge Jeffery McLennan

“Each count on the indictment is aggravated by the fact he was on conditional liberty at the time,” Judge Jeffery McLennan said in sentencing in Tamworth District Court, adding much of the offending occurred in a few days.

Judge McLennan detailed Fields’ “deliberate attempt to T-bone a police car”, and collided with part of the police vehicle.

He said the senior constable’s life would “clearly have been endangered” and “it was only a matter of good fortune the offender did not succeed”.

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The court heard police were searching for Fields near Glen Innes after he stole a car when he saw officers, who tried to intercept him near Glen Elgin.

He rammed the police car on the Gwydir Highway and attempted to hit another, but the officers got out of the way.

The court heard Fields had limited education or work experience and he began using drugs about the age of 10 before turning to daily alcohol use at 13, and amphetamine at 15.

He was “using ice and cannabis at the time of his offending” and had a long history of health issues.

Judge McLennan said Fields had “very poor prospects of rehabilitation” and a “high likelihood” he will re-offend because of his limited education, health issues and drug abuse.

The 29-year-old was given a 25 per cent discount for his early guilty pleas and was jailed for a head sentence of five-and-a-half years, backdated to his May 2017 arrest.

After time served, he will be eligible for parole in May 2020.