Dylan Jade Clarke
Dylan Jade Clarke Contributed

Bundy man's life spirals out of control after parents' death

THE death of a Bundaberg teenager's mother and step-father in a car crash almost two years ago was the catalyst for a downward spiral of drug abuse and crime that eventually landed the 18-year-old behind bars.

Dressed in a prison issue tracksuit, Dylan Jade Clarke appeared in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court via videolink and pleaded guilty to a drug-affected crime spree on March 12.

Clarke's mother and step-father, Caroline and Steve Hutchinson, were killed in a single-vehicle rollover at Welcome Creek on July 2, 2016, just 300m from their family home.

Defence lawyer Lavonda Maloy told the court Clarke had been in the car crash that killed his mother, step-father, and critically injured his then-girlfriend.

 

TRAGEDY: Dylan Jade Clarke's parents were killed in a crash at Welcome Creek in July 2016.
TRAGEDY: Dylan Jade Clarke's parents were killed in a crash at Welcome Creek in July 2016. Craig Warhust

She said the teenager was only now coming to realise the impact the crash had on his mental health.

"He's a very young man, he's had some significant trauma in his life," she said.

But Magistrate Belinda Merrin said the excuse was wearing thin for a man with a significant drug issue who'd been before the court in January, February and March.

"He's continued to commit offences and it's escalated," she said.

The court heard Clarke's offending on March 12 included the break and enter of a Bundaberg florist, the theft of a mini van from a backpackers, driving without a licence and stealing pencils and a phone charger from Target.

 

TRAGEDY: Dylan Jade Clarke's parents were killed in a crash at Welcome Creek on July 2, 2016.
TRAGEDY: Dylan Jade Clarke's parents were killed in a crash at Welcome Creek on July 2, 2016. Craig Warhurst

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Andrew Blunt told the court a drug-affected Clarke was picked up by police on the same day after he gained entry to the backpackers through a laundry window and took the keys to the mini van.

He also stole a CCTV camera and computer from the reception area.

However, police were still able to obtain CCTV footage which showed Clarke driving off in the mini van, and at the time he was not the holder of a driver's licence, Snr Const Blunt said.

Clarke was given a four-month head sentence but released having served 32 days.



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