Drugs, grog were to blame First date leads to court date
A FIRST date turned to terror for a Townsville woman who was severally beaten with a crowbar outside a fuel station in broad daylight.
David Richard Benson, 41, pleaded guilty yesterday in t h e T o wn s v i l l e D i s t r i c t Court to a charge of assault occasioning bodily harm while armed on February 25, 2005.
Crown prosecutor Kelly Stone said the 27-year-old woman, who was left with bad bruises and multiple grazes, made contact with Benson after seeing his tribal artwork on display at Shalom College.
The female made a connection with the defendant, who belongs to the Wiwadjari tribe in New South Wales, which is the ‘‘ sister’’ tribe of the complainant’s, t h e Dunghut t i t r i b e , i n northern New South Wales.
The pair communicated by text message, agreeing to meet on February 25 for a swim at Paluma with the woman’s nephew and her daughter.
Benson picked them up at 2pm and the group swam for three hours until it got dark, but when they were asked to leave, the defendant, who had been drinking, suddenly changed and began raising his voice.
‘‘ He said ‘ f** k this, I came out here to go camping, I was allowed out of rehab,’’ Mr Stone said.
‘ This is my time, no people are going to f** k around with my time.
‘‘ Now the cops will pick me up for drinking and I am not going back to jail.’’
The man eventually agreed to take them home but pulled over at the BP service station on Ross River Rd and said: ‘‘ Get out of the f** king car’’.
When the woman refused, he pulled her out of the car and ‘‘ laid into her with something hard’’ as she crouched down covering her head yelling at him to stop.
‘‘ He continued to hit her saying ‘ Shut up, shut up, I am going to jail now because of you’, then drove off,’’ Mr Stone told the court.
Defence barrister Michael Hibble said that on the day in question, his client – who suffers mental health problems – had been drinking and taking his medication for his conditions which was ‘‘ not a good combo’’.
‘‘ It was a very simple argument asking her to get out of the car and then he’s completely lost it,’’ Mr Hibble said.
The barrister said Benson’s short fuse was due to a combination of bipolar disorder, depression, psychosis and post traumatic stress which was caused by a severe assault in 2005.
‘‘ He was subject to a significant assault where his skull was fractured and he was stabbed seven times,’’ Mr Hibble said.
Benson also used speed from his early teens which had also contributed to his anger management issues.
‘‘ When he is not on medication, he flies into a rage,’’ Mr Hibble said.
‘‘ He is paranoid and thinks people are watching him . . . if he doesn’t take his meds he is very volatile.’’
Judge John Baulch said Benson, who had committed eight violent offences since 1989, acted ‘‘ cowardly and viciously’’.
‘‘ It was entirely unprovoked and a culmination of increasingly erratic behaviour on the day,’’ he said.
The defendant was given eight months in prison with a parole release date of November 28, 2011.
He has been in custody for the past two years on other matters.