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'I've not always been a drugged-out criminal' man tells court

Mark Murdoch
Mark Murdoch File

ACCUSED of car thefts and stealing offences in a crime spree between Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, Mark Alan Murdoch failed to make bail when a magistrate deemed him to be a risk.

In Bundaberg Magistrates Court, police strongly opposed bail, saying Murdoch (pictured) had changed his appearance, used stolen number plates on the vehicles he is alleged to have stolen, and was found with a clown mask.

Prosecutor Sergeant Dean Burgess said Murdoch had refused to hand himself in and police were investigating further offences on top of the 36 he is now charged with.

"On October 1 he decamped on foot from police and was actively avoiding police by changing his appearance, and changing registration plates," Sgt Burgess said.

Police feared his propensity for violent conduct was escalating, and alleged he had a replica firearm.

Murdoch, 32, faces charges including nine stealing offences between September 22 and September 29 that involve fuel, tobacco, deodorant and car registration plates.

He is charged with failing to stop for police on the Gin Gin Road at Maroondan on September 28; four counts of unlawful use of a motor vehicle; dangerous operation of a motor vehicle; two counts of unlawful possession of weapons; having unauthorised explosives; possession of a knife; three counts of unauthorised dealing with shop goods; possession of dangerous drugs; and two counts of failing to appear in court.

Murdoch, 32, appeared from jail via video-link before Magistrate Belinda Merrin to represent himself in his bail application.

"Since I've been in custody I'm off the meth. I've not always been a drugged-out criminal," Murdoch said.

"I've worked since I was 14 and I've owned a house.

"Since I've been off the drugs (in jail) it's opened my eyes, cleared my head a bit. No way I want to go back. And I'm happy to do urine analysis to make sure I'm not off the track.

"I want to do something out there to help repay the businesses I ripped off. To show a bit of redemption and remorse."

And if given bail Murdoch said he would live with family in Hervey Bay.

In opposing bail, Sgt Burgess outlined the various offences Murdoch allegedly committed.

Police accuse him of stealing, with a co-offender, by running from a Foodworks store with $81 worth of items.

He is also accused of stealing a Ford ute from a car dealer on September 26 where, after the salesman popped the bonnet so he could look at the engine, he allegedly drove off.

He is also charged with taking fuel in drive-offs from service stations including Childers, Torbanlea, Isis River and Avondale.

He faces charges alleging he took a Nissan Navara ute from Bargara Rd - in which police found a clown mask afterwards, and that he stole registration plates off other vehicles.

Sgt Burgess said CCTV images of Murdoch wearing high-vis work gear, and his mobile phone, also placed him in the vicinity of some offences.

Ms Merrin said the allegations were of effectively being on a crime spree, and Murdoch also had a relevant criminal history involving counterfeit money and drugs.

She said if Murdoch was convicted he would likely receive a significant jail sentence.

She refused bail.

Murdoch's matters were adjourned to late November.

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