South Western Times




The meth-addicted South West gang member who sparked a tense stand-off with police when he was armed with a gun inside a suburban home with a woman and her child inside has been jailed.

Travis Wayne Thorn-Bell, 24, set off the four-hour siege in April last year outside a house in Dalyellup, when he grabbed a firearm and began acting erraticall­y.

The woman inside the home with her child sent text messages to her friends, prompting police to arrive and set up a command post, before extra reinforcem­ents were sent to the street, including additional officers, a tactical response group armoured vehicle, aircraft and a negotiator.

Thorn-Bell, who is a member of the Naala Moort gang, was finally arrested after about four hours and the woman and her child were able to leave the home safely.

During his first month in custody the man made several phone calls to friends and family in an effort to convince the woman to drop charges of aggravated assault and deprivatio­n of liberty.

According to phone call transcript­s he claimed he would “make her piss” among other derogatory remarks and threatened violence if she did not drop the charges.

Thorn-Bell appeared in Busselton District Court on Monday where his three-day trial was cancelled due to a change of plea to guilty to charges of possession of an altered firearm while unlicensed and attempts to defeat the course of justice.

It was revealed in court ThornBell was likely affected by methamphet­amine on the day of his arrest having been addicted to the illicit drug since he was 17 years old and cannabis since the age of 14.

The man was also originally charged with deprivatio­n of liberty as well, however, the charge was dropped after last-minute negotiatio­ns.

The court was also told that the firearm he brandished was a sawn-off shotgun with the make and serial number filed off and had been reported as “disposed of” in 2002 after being rendered inoperable.

However, it was revealed in court the gun could have easily been put back into working order with a few modificati­ons and Thorn-Bell had admitted to buying it “for protection”.

State prosecutor Simon Huggins urged for prison time given Thorn-Bell’s “gang connection­s” with the Naala Moort Aboriginal criminal gang and history of gunrelated offences including a shooting, a stolen car and police pursuit in Armadale in 2020.

The Naala Moort organised crime gang is understood to have been operating for more than 10 years and is based on Aboriginal heritage with an identical structure and appearance as an outlaw motorcycle gang.

While defence lawyer Steven Shadgett refrained from touching on the gang links, he told the court his client was ready to turn his life around after the “sobering” experience of prison and appealed for a suspended prison sentence.

He explained his client had spiralled into a life of drugs and crime after the loss of his brother and uncle, having become addicted to methamphet­amine by injecting it intravenou­sly.

Judge Belinda Lonsdale, however, felt the risk of reoffendin­g was too high to pass down anything other than immediate imprisonme­nt.

“Your offending was very serious, the firearm could have caused serious harm to others if it was repaired,” she said.

“But I think more importantl­y having firearms like that would have been very frightenin­g for anybody who came into contact with you.

“The other thing is the victim was entitled to go to police to make a complaint and to feel safe and the fact that you thought having others put stress on her to withdraw her complaint, suggests that she was right to be worried about what you might do.

“The way that you spoke on the telephone to others was derogatory of the complainan­t . . . it really demonstrat­es that you were not concerned about her dignity as a person and showed that you regarded the enforcemen­t of law as optional.

“You appear to have adopted the view that it was up to you whether or not you submitted to the judicial process . . . if you continue to behave in a way where you’re thumbing your nose at the law and doing your own thing then you’ll receive penalties which will almost invariably involve jail.”

For each charge, Thorn-Bell was sentenced to 12 months jail, totalling two years, but with time in custody he is eligible for parole.

The South West man will return to the Bunbury Magistrate’s Court in the coming months to deal with a charge of aggravated assault of a threeyear-old in the armed stand off.

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 ?? Pictures: Shannon Verhagen ?? T a c t ic a l response group officers and other police at the Dalyellup home where the stand-off occurred.
Pictures: Shannon Verhagen T a c t ic a l response group officers and other police at the Dalyellup home where the stand-off occurred.
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 ??  ?? Tactical response group officers and other police cordon off an area in Dalyellup.
Tactical response group officers and other police cordon off an area in Dalyellup.

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