The Cairns Post

Jailed for crime spree


A HOPE VALE man who went on a drug-fuelled crime rampage and broke into 26 homes and stole items worth more than $88,000 has been sentenced by a Cairns court.

Wayne Lloyd Hardman, 22, pleaded guilty in the Cairns District Court before Judge Julie Dick on Thursday to a string of charges from a brief period in early 2020.

The offences included 21 burglary charges, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, entering premises and stealing, assault (domestic violence offence) and serious assault of a Lotus Glen prison officer who was spat at.

Crown prosecutor Jodie Crane told the court the elderly burglary victims had suffered significan­t stress and worry, and one had lost an inscribed ring that dated back to 1942.

“His offending is quite prolific over that one-month period of time. The value of damage and loss to those complainan­ts … is significan­t at $88,942.14,” she said.

“That property can’t be replaced, and that has caused – at least that complainan­t – great concern, they feel unsafe in their houses now, a lot of them have taken steps to increase the security.”

The court heard the crimes were committed while Hardman was on parole, and he had a “significan­t” criminal history.

Defence barrister James Sheridan told the court Hardman had a “grossly dysfunctio­nal upbringing”.

“His mother was in prison at a young age; he spent time being cared for at Hope Vale (by family friends), who were elderly,” he said.

“They (couldn’t) look after him. He moved from home to home, no boundaries, no structure or proper behavioura­l advice.”

Mr Sheridan told the court Hardman had the support of a YETI youth worker who was present at court and he had participat­ed in the Straight Talk program while locked up on remand.

“And also he’s been placed on a waiting list for a number of courses. In other words, he is attempting to improve himself,” Mr Sheridan said.

Judge Dick said Hardman was “very lucky” to have the support of people who understood having “that background is part of making you who you are”.

“That’s the part that has to be addressed first. If you can fix up that and learn to cope with that, then the other issues of mental health and drugs will not be a problem,” she said.

Judge Dick took into account an early guilty plea and difficult time served during the Covid pandemic.

Hardman was sentenced to five years on all charges, all to be served concurrent­ly, taking into account 624 days already spent in custody.

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