Man's despair over ex-girlfriend's court drug 'lies'
A GLADSTONE man says his good name has been smeared by lies and false accusations made in court by his drug-taking ex-girlfriend who he now wishes he never became entangled with.
Darren Austin, 50, said he wanted people to know that he is an honest man with no criminal history and is not involved in any criminal activities, drugs, prostitution, or outlaw bikie groups.
He said he was horrified and dismayed when he read what his former lover Shyahne Stevenson, 18, alleged about him in Gladstone Magistrates Court after she pleaded guilty to stealing $6000 cash from him, alleging it was drug money. She also pleaded guilty to drug charges.
Mr Austin said it was over $15,000 and came from money left to him by his late father.
He showed The Observer bank statements that give credence to his story that the money was taken from his bank account. He said it was meant to be paid into another bank account to pay off his Harley Davidson motorbike and pay a big electricity bill.
However, he missed that bank's closure time and briefly kept the cash in a bum bag from which Ms Stevenson stole it to spend on drugs.
Mr Austin, a rigger/crane driver, said he lives an honest life and has "old fashioned morals" from being brought up in Gladstone by his nan Gwen Austin, and tried to help Ms Stevenson with her ice problem.
The former Australian Navy mines clearance diver said he served in the first Gulf War and now suffers a post traumatic stress disorder as a result.
"I'm a good person and as a single father I taught my son to be the same," he said.
"I was taught in the navy that without honour you have got nothing. And I have never laid a hand on a woman in my life.
"When I met Shyahne she was 17 and I didn't want to get involved because I was 49 but she showed me a side of her that was nice, she sucked me in.
"I did know she had a drug issue and I spoke to her mum about it.
"Her mother told me she had been shooting needles in her arm since she was 14."
Mr Austin said she went to Brisbane to friends then he learned that she was associating with "a creepy guy" who was licensed for prostitution.
He rode down to Brisbane and said he found her in a mess from methylamphetamine use.
"I am not an ice or drug user. My only addiction was my gym, a gym junkie, but I haven't gone now for two years," he said.
"I have never, never, never dealt drugs. I have no criminal convictions.
"It was all lies in court. She was trying to get a lesser sentence by falsely saying it (the money she stole) was from drugs."
Mr Austin said she stole the money from him on the day of her 18th birthday in March despite him giving her money for clothes and a new laptop computer.
He said he didn't realise what she did until he tried to contact her that day and saw an Instagram photo he alleges Ms Stevenson posted showing wads of $50 notes with the words 'new laptop plus da stash'.
"I was in shock," he said.
"I went into a cold sweat, I was screaming. I was angry."
Mr Austin said she later told him the money was all gone and that the people she went to buy drugs from had bashed her and stole the money.
He believes her, saying that when Ms Stevenson returned to his home and was arrested there by police, her face was swollen.
"I've been a victim for sure and I know I'll never see the money again," he said.
"She's lied. She has destroyed my reputation, people always believe the worst.
"My big mistake was getting involved with her."