Ice addict stole cars, fled police

Matthew Lee Ireland, 22, from Nebo pleaded guilty to car theft and burglary, among other charges.
Matthew Lee Ireland, 22, from Nebo pleaded guilty to car theft and burglary, among other charges. Facebook

A NEBO ice addict with a history of car theft fled police in a stolen car while on parole, tearing over median strips and into the path of oncoming traffic.

The 22-year-old made off with two cars in July - stealing a Holden ute which had the keys in the ignition, and snatching keys off a kitchen bench to take a Holden sedan.

He later sold the ute for $2000 by using a fake Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and engine number

But Matthew Lee Ireland could be free by the new year, despite his 10 page criminal record, which includes similar offences.

Ireland fronted Mackay Magistrates Court via videolink from jail on Wednesday, represented by Legal Aid Queensland solicitor Erin Beer.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of stealing, dangerous operation of a car, burglary and failing to stop a car for police, between July 13 and July 19.


LOCKED UP: Matthew Lee Ireland, 22, pleaded guilty to car theft and burglary, among other charges.
LOCKED UP: Matthew Lee Ireland, 22, pleaded guilty to car theft and burglary, among other charges. Facebook

Ireland was recently jailed for car theft and had been forced to detox in prison, where he required medical intervention from prison authorities, the court was told.

Prosecutor Shelby Larcombe detailed Ireland's crimes, which he had admitted to during interviews with police.

On the night of July 13, Ireland entered a garage on an Ooralea property and stole the ute, finding its keys in the ignition.

"The victim woke up on July 14, 2017 and noticed his vehicle was missing at approximately 4am," Ms Larcombe said.

Days later, about 9pm on July 17, Ireland took the keys off a bench while inside the North Mackay home speaking with occupants.

It was later found in Mackay stripped of parts, " including rear tail lights, the wiring under the dashboard, the glovebox had been removed, as well as a CD player". Ms Larcombe said.

On July 18, Ireland was spotted by patrolling police driving on one of the stolen cars around Nebo Road and officers switched on lights and sirens.

Ireland "accelerated away", drove on "the incorrect side of the road", then turned a corner and had been seen "driving against the flow of traffic".

Eventually, Ireland ran over a median strip to get to the correct side of the road, failing to give way to traffic, and drove off.

Ms Beer, on behalf of Ireland, said Ireland had been an ice (methamphetamine) addict since the age of 14, in the midst of a rough upbringing, influenced by associates.

She submitted Ireland was previously jailed for offences which occurred after the crimes before the court, and may have received a fairer sentence if sentenced cumulatively.

Ms Beer emphasised the burglary involved entering a garage, as opposed to a home itself, and said there was no allegation before the court that Ireland was speeding or drink driving when he fled police.

Magistrate Scott Luxton said Ireland would be sentenced in consideration of time he was already serving.

He considered early guilty pleas and eventual cooperation with police and sentenced Ireland to 15 months jail in total; extending parole eligibility by three months, until January 1.

Ireland was disqualified from driving for three years.

Topics:  burglary car theft editors picks mackay mackay court mackay crime mackay magistrates court mackay police nebo north mackay ooralea queensland police service

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