Drugs, grog were to blame First date leads to court date

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Roanne John­son roanne. john­son@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.