Prison breakout earns man more hard time

ON THE RUN: The car in which three escaped prisoners led police on a high-speed chase.
ON THE RUN: The car in which three escaped prisoners led police on a high-speed chase.

THE second of three Townsville prison escapees to appear in Gympie Magistrates Court was sentenced to 18 months jail this week.

Jacob Ben Allen had only 10 days remaining on his sentence before he escaped a minimum security prison with two inmates on December 30 and took police south past Bundaberg on a New Year's Eve manhunt ending in Gympie.

The 26-year-old man, who pleaded guilty to escaping jail, evading a taxi fare, using a car unlawfully and evading police, appeared in court with fellow escapee Claude Cobbo, 26, last Tuesday.

Cobbo was jailed, but due to complications surrounding Allen's previous parole release date, his matter was adjourned to Monday.

The story of the men's hotly pursued escape unfolded in court last week.

The men, who had accessed drugs in prison, were high on ice when they jumped the small fence at the prison, the court heard. They caught a taxi, which they ran from without paying, and then hitched a lift to Rockhampton with an unknown man in a car brightly-signed Hound Dog Hairdressing.

Police were alerted to the car travelling through Kaumala, south of Mackay at 8.40am, and later at Marlborough, where police chased the escapees, but stopped when it hit speeds of 140kmh.

Later that night the car sped from police through a busy Bundaberg St, then in Childers before they were eventually stopped with the use of stingers on the Bruce Hwy in Gympie.

Defence lawyer Mark Oliver said his client, who had been held in a maximum security prison since his Gympie arrest, "got the shock of his life" when they were pulled from the car by police and held on the ground at gunpoint.

"Whatever possessed you to break out of prison 10 days before your release is beyond imagination," Magistrate Maxine Baldwin said to the man.

Not only was it "sheer stupidity", she said, while running from the law he had endangered the police and the public by failing to stop.

The man was sentenced to 18 months prison and will remain behind bars until his new parole release on August 26. He was disqualified from driving for two years and ordered to pay $3105.60 restitution.

The remaining co-accused escapee Craig Jackson will appear in Gympie Magistrates Court on March 15.

Topics:  court police prison break

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