Addict steals car, firearms sparking manhunt by police
A DRUG addict who stole guns and led police on a wild car chase through North Queensland cane fields has been jailed.
Patrick John Ransley pleaded guilty to 18 charges including breaking and entering, stealing firearms, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and five counts of supplying dangerous drugs.
In Townsville District Court on Thursday, Crown prosecutor Monique Sheppard said Ransley's most serious offending occurred on October 2, 2017.
Ms Sheppard said Ransley took a friend's car without permission, and used it to drive from Townsville to Ingham. In the early hours of the morning Ransley broke into the home of a former employer at a farm south of Ingham.
"The defendant knew the house well given that he was employed there for a number of months," Ms Sheppard said. "He used his knowledge of the house, not only to enter the house but steal four firearms and ammunition which was securely stored at the property."
The court heard the 76-year-old male owner of the house woke and spotted the figure of a man attempting to hide behind a car in his garage.
He called out but the man ran off. It was not until sunrise that the man realised the guns had been stolen and the police were called.
Officers received reports of a stolen car in an area nearby, which was being driven by Ransley.
When police attempted to stop the white Holden Commodore the driver sped off.
"The defendant veered off the bitumen and headed into the cane headland," Ms Sheppard said.
"The defendant accelerated away … when it was clear that the defendant wasn't going to stop (the police) didn't pursue further."
A short time later more police arrived and tried to stop the Holden but Ransley continued to drive in and out of cane fields to avoid detection.
He twice rammed into police vehicles during the dramatic incident.
At one stage Ransley's car appeared to be bogged and several officers approached the vehicle on foot only for him to accelerate and an officer narrowly avoided impact.
Eventually Ransley drove into thick cane and the Commodore became bogged.
Police then drew arms, knowing Ransley likely had guns with him, and managed to arrest him along with his passenger.
The court heard Ransley had supplied methamphetamine on five occasions in 2017 in which amounts of up to 3.5g was either offered or exchanged for commercial profit.
Defence barrister Harvey Walters said his client's offending was linked to drug abuse and he still had strong family support and therefore prospects for rehabilitation.
Ransley was sentenced to five years' imprisonment to be eligible for parole after serving 20 months.
He has already spent more than 13 months behind bars.