Virgin staffer’s job loss sparked a spiral into drugs and crime
A FORMER Virgin Australia worker who lost his job through COVID and went into a “downward spiral” of drugs, crime and homelessness has escaped convictions for more than 20 offences after a magistrate said aviation had “suffered greatly” because of the pandemic.
Trent Connor Weidemann, 42, pleaded guilty in Southport Magistrates Court yesterday to 21 charges, including burglary, stealing and drug offences. The court heard that Weidemann worked as an airline dispatcher for Virgin and a flight attendant for Emirates during a 10year career in aviation.
But he lost his job at the start of the pandemic and began using methamphetamine and committing crime, including breaking into Gold Coast apartment buildings to steal goods, including push bikes.
Defence lawyer Rachel Barnes told the court that Weidemann was in a downward spiral and became homeless. “He was using drugs throughout this period … he looks back and can’t believe it was him,” Ms Barnes said.
“It was a really difficult time.” Ms Barnes said that Weidemann was now drug-free and having ongoing counselling.
She said he had enrolled in a child, youth and family intervention course at TAFE and a conviction would impact on his chances of getting a Blue Card,
Magistrate Kathleen Payne said
Weidemann had previously had an “exceptional career” in aviation, an industry she noted had been “hit harder than most” by COVID.
Ms Payne said she took into account the fact that the aviation industry had “suffered greatly” from COVID-19 and that convictions could harm Weidemann’s rehabilitation prospects. She sentenced him to two years on probation, but did not record convictions.
Weidemann told her that his behaviour had been “abhorrent”.