Justice for all.
Justice for all. John Weekes

23 years on the run: How Yeppoon man's crimes resurfaced

YOU can run, but you can't outrun the long arm of the law.

That's what Dale Richard Jenkins discovered after being on the run for almost 23 years.

Some might call it karma that Jenkins, a man guilty of multiple assaults, attracted the attention of the police and his outstanding arrest warrants after being hospitalised in Yeppoon by an assault in March.

Jenkins, 54, who was born in Rockhampton, finally had his day in Rockhampton District Court on Tuesday to answer to six historical charges - 4 of common assault and 2 counts of house breaking - stemming from a series of incidences that occurred in 1994.

Crown Prosecutor Molly Mahlouzarides said the incidents took place when Jenkins, who was 31 at the time, had an argument with his then-partner, 23, in their home in Dimbulah (near Mareeba) in Far North Queensland.

She said there already was a protection order in place at the time due to a previous incident.

Ms Mahlouzarides recounted the series of events that took place on November 27, 1994 at approximately 7.30pm, Jenkins returned from a local pub after drinking for most of the afternoon.

An argument soon erupted which culminated in him telling her to get out of the house and when she refused, he grabbed her around the throat.

Following this incident the woman collected her belongings to stay next door with Neil Stewart, aged 66 at the time, and his wife.

The neighbours set up mattress in their living room for her to spend the night.

"A couple of hours later, Jenkins arrived at the front steps of the house yelling and screaming, he pulled open the screen door and entered the house, he ran straight to where the woman was lying, kicked her in the stomach multiple times,” she said.

"He went on to punch her in the head two or three times as she cowered.”

It was at that time that Mr Stewart restrained Jenkins and pushed him out the front door.

Jenkins went to leave but then spun around and re-entered the house where a fight ensued between the men and during which time he threatened to kill the neighbour.

The woman tried to break up the fight and Jenkins turned on her raining multiple blows on her face and stomach.

Mr Stewart came to her aid again and Jenkins fled when Mrs Stewart called the police, who attended the scene and interviewed Jenkins a couple of days later.

Ms Mahlouzarides said he made no confession to the police and had no recollection of the events due to his level of intoxication and was subsequently charged and released on bail.

She tendered a victim impact statement to the court by his then-partner revealing the physical and mental effects suffered in the days and years following the incident.

Defence Barrister Ross Lomonaco said his client Jenkins had lived a hard life and been on a disability pension since he injured his back 2006.

He said talking with his client, a constant theme emerged with Jenkins claiming his life "went off the rails” in 1992 after the death of his father after which time he was "grieving hard” abusing drugs and alcohol for years.

Mr Lomonaco said Jenkins couldn't recall much about the incident as he and his then-partner were both heavy drinkers and always fighting during their two year relationship.

"He has a recollection of going to court on one occasion and ended up getting work in Cairns with a fisherman, that took him out to sea and he never made it back to court,” Mr Lomonaco said.

"From what I understand, he got on with his life until in recent times when he was bashed in Yeppoon.

"Police visited him in hospital as a result of that and this warrant came to notice which resurrected that Cairns indictment.”

Judge Michael Burnett described Jenkins's offending as "abhorrent” and he needed to keep in mind that it was a different time when the offences had taken place with "the community's attitude subsequently hardening towards this sort of offending”.

He raised questions of whether Jenkins could prove his rehabilitation given that he absconded and didn't face his punishment and also whether he needed to be made an example of to discourage others from taking a similar path.

"Your behaviour while you have been 'at large' has shown evidence of good rehabilitation and you had not come to the attention of police until recent times when they came to speak about the assault upon you,” he said.

With those considerations in mind, Mr Burnett sentenced Jenkins to 18 months imprisonment, wholly suspended with a significant operational period of three years to discourage the possibility re-offending.

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