Extra jail for escapees
THREE Queensland jail escapees on the run in the Northern Rivers went on a crime spree before one was caught by police at Wardell, and the other two at Evans Head after a minor road crash in a stolen car.
Casey Bignell, 23, from Queensland, and Max Bourbaud, 27, a former Goonellabah resident, will serve at least 18 months jail after pleading guilty to a variety of stealing offences in Lismore Local Court yesterday.
The third man, Daman Tait, 28, arrested at Wardell after helping businessman Peter Moore recover his stolen mobile phones, was sentenced to serve 15 months’ jail for his role in the crimes after pleading guilty last week in Lismore Local Court. He was not charged with a Tregeagle break-in.
The trio escaped from the Palen Creek Correctional Centre near Rathdowney on July 30 and stole a Commodore wagon belonging to a prison employee before driving to Northern NSW. The car was found abandoned at Tregeagle.
Bignell and Bourbaud pleaded guilty to break, enter and stealing from a home at Tregeagle, and taking and driving a motor vehicle from the house – a VW Golf. They also pleaded guilty to break and entering a home and a nursery office at Wardell.
With Tait the men drove the stolen Golf south to Urunga and Hungry Head, and then north to Wardell where they stole three mobile phones from a house and adjoining landscape business premises – all owned by Mr Moore and his wife Gayle.
Annoyed by the theft after the men asked him for directions early one morning, Mr Moore went looking for the culprits and found Tait walking along the Pacific Highway. He convinced him to help find the other pair.
Mr Moore came across Bignell and Bourbaud in the stolen Golf. They briefly helped in the phone search before driving off. Police arrested the two men on August 3 at Evans Head sitting in the vehicle ‘drowsy and incoherent’ following an accident. Items found in the car were stolen from the Tregeagle house.
When arrested they told police they were affected by drugs and had no or little recollection of their activities.