A man's attempt to travel from Queensland to Ballarat in a stolen vehicle ended abruptly after a "very alarming" series of events lead to his arrest.
Andrew Stanway, 33, of Currumbin Waters, Queensland, appeared at Goulburn Local court from custody on April 21.
He pleaded guilty to receiving property stolen from outside NSW, police pursuit - drive dangerously, stolen goods in personal custody, possession of a prohibited drug, and custody of a knife in a public place.
Magistrate Geraldine Beattie said the charges related to a "very alarming episode" that occurred over Easter on April 3, 2021.
She told the court that on April 3 police in Welby saw a vehicle, with NSW plates, travelling at high speed southbound on the Hume Highway. When police signaled for the vehicle to stop, Stanway accelerated to speeds of up to 190km/h and a pursuit ensued. She told the court the pursuit was called off near Berrima when Stanway used the breakdown lane to overtake multiple vehicles.
The police pursuit recommenced at the intersection of the Hume and Illawarra Highway. The magistrate said Stanway had then exited the highway and driven through Tallong and Wingello before returning to the Hume Highway via Highland Way and continuing south.
"It was highly dangerous. You had no concern for anyone's safety," she said.
Magistrate Beattie said police had unsuccessfully attempted to stop the vehicle with road spikes three times. The pursuit was then terminated for a second time due to foggy conditions.
The magistrate told the court that Stanway was later seen entering Goulburn Speedway. She said police had found the abandoned vehicle at the speedway, now with Queensland plates, but could not locate Stanway.
The magistrate presented to the court that Stanway was later discovered near Coolac. She said police had found the defendant when they pulled over another vehicle for speeding. She told the court that Stanway had hitch hiked and was a passenger of the vehicle.
Magistrate Beattie told the court that police had found on Stanway's phone numerous messages, maps and videos of him hiding from the police which had been sent to multiple people.
Solicitor Tim McGrath told the court that the defendant had slept in a culvert to hide from police before hitch hiking.
The solicitor argued his client was intent on getting to Ballarat to receive support for an ice addiction and hadn't slept for four days before his arrest.
He said Stanway started a "$350 a day drug habit" after a relationship broke down. He said Stanway used ice as a "coping mechanism".
"He's not only ashamed but deeply embarrassed and remorseful," Mr McGrath said.
Mr McGrath said the situation was "puzzling" as his client was "well educated, well cared for" and came from a "middle class upbringing".
He said Stanway's family, former Jehovah's Witnesses, practised "good fellowship and decency".
Mr McGrath told the court the "folding knife" found in his client's possession was usually carried for camping, fishing and other recreational activities.
He said Stanway had told him that he kept the knife on his person in case of an "Ivan Milat situation" while hitch hiking.
He was given an aggregate sentence of 18-months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 12 months. Stanway was disqualified from driving for three years from the date of his release.
Stanway will appear at court in Queensland on May 25 for other matters.
-Southern Highland News