UNIVERSITY student Blain Swinford's descent into ice addiction drove him to carjack a mother and her 11-year-old son in a Buddina street, a court has heard.
Swinford, 25, was freed from custody on Thursday having spent nearly seven months in jail after being caught shortly after the incident on December 17 last year.
Maroochydore District Court heard Swinford was not armed but had put his hand on the woman's shoulder about 8.20am and applied some pressure when asking her for the keys.
Once she had left the car and told her passenger son to get out, the court heard Swinford had unsuccessfully tried to hotwire the vehicle.
He was caught by police who arrived promptly.
Judge Gary Long said the woman had been in a very vulnerable position.
He said a victim impact statement tendered to the court detailed the very significant effect the event had on the woman's son.
"No doubt it was frightening and disturbing for him and his mother," Judge Long said.
Defence barrister Stephen Courtney said his client was born in South Africa and moved to Australia when he was 16.
Mr Courtney said Swinford had started studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2011 but his use of the drug ice had started to take hold of his life by mid-2012.
Swinford had attempted to kick his habit through attendance at a rehabilitation facility but ultimately relapsed.
Mr Courtney said Swinford had been discharged from Nambour General Hospital the day before the carjacking after being admitted overnight for issues relating to his drug use.
He said his client remembered little of the carjacking incident and was under the influence of ice and prescription drug Xanax at the time.
The court heard Swinford hoped to start back at university and wanted to undertake a degree that would lead to him becoming a paramedic.
An apology letter written by Swinford was tendered to the court in the hope the prosecution would be able to forward it to the carjacking victim.
Judge Long sentenced Swinford to 21 months in prison for the carjacking offence.
"The test will be in what you do from now and how you yourself deal with the situation," Judge Long said.
Swinford was also convicted for summary offences including driving without due care and attention and drug possession.
He was released immediately on parole after consideration was given to the time he had already served.
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