SAD HISTORY: Matthew Bell (left) outside the Lismore Court House in 2010.
SAD HISTORY: Matthew Bell (left) outside the Lismore Court House in 2010. Ross Irby

Drunken rampage day after release lands man back in jail

THE VERY same day he was released from prison for high range drink driving, Goonellabah man Matthew Ronald Bell went on a drunken rage, crashing his car and making violent threats outside the home of his ex-partner.

The incident put the 37-year-old, who already had a substantial record of alcohol and anger fuelled crime, straight back into jail.

It was around 6pm on Thursday, June 16, 2016 when Bell turned up on the doorstep of his ex's Goonellabah home "intoxicated, slurring his words and smelling of alcohol", according to Judge L Wells.

It was the afternoon of his release after six months in jail, but contemplating his future was not on Bell's mind.

After threatening that he would jump through the window if his ex did not hand over the keys to his black Holden Statesman, she gave into his demands.

But less than a minute after he roared off, she heard a loud bang.

Walking out on the street to investigate, she saw Bell's wrecked car crunched into a power pole.

Police attended and searched the area, but Bell was nowhere to be found.

That was until about 10pm, when Bell returned to the home, this time demanding entry.

He shouted, "if you don't let me in there will be a bloodbath later", according to her statements, and "let me in or I will burn the place down".

The threats lasted several hours, during which time Bell went on a rampage, damaging several fly screens, smashing the veranda light, and kicking and denting his ex's two cars.

It wasn't until early the next morning that police apprehended Bell at Goonellabah shopping village, bleeding from a gash to the head.

In August he was convicted of stalking or intimidating to intend fear, physical or mental harm, reckless damage, as well as driving while disqualified, and drunk driving.

His two year prison sentence was upheld this month following an appeal in the Lismore District Court.

Bell will spend slightly less time in jail due to his jail sentence start date being brought forward by four months.

But Judge L Wells was eviscerating of Bell's behaviour on the night of June 16 this year, and concluded that he "must do something about his anger management problems".

She noted his 2010 conviction and subsequent two-and-a-half year jail sentence in 2010 for dangerous driving occasioning death.

She also noted Bell's "appalling" history of drink driving offences which followed his release from jail in 2012.

He will be eligible for parole in February 15, 2018.



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