Car thief 'asking for world of trouble' carrying handgun
A CRIMINAL who stole the car of couple dealing with terminal cancer was introduced to methamphetamines by his father when he was 14 years old.
Larry Damien Quartermaine, 20, pleaded guilty on March 24 in Rockhampton Magistrates Court to 15 charges including one of unlawful use of a motor vehicle and all charges in relation to a crime spree in February.
The charges included breaches of bail, stealing fuel, along with being in possession of a shortened firearm and ammunition.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Peter Rumford said Quartermaine had a four page criminal record with 35 entries including two unlawful use of motor vehicles along with enter premises and commit indictable offences.
He said Quartermaine unlawfully took Cara and Peter Bartlett's red Mazda 2 from their Lammermoor home on February 14.
Snr Constable Rumford said the car was Mrs Bartlett's and she was Mr Bartlett's carer as he had terminal cancer.
He said Quartermaine was seen many times driving the car, including in Gladstone.
The court heard Quartermaine was discovered in possession of a shortened firearm while he was at a Caltex service station.
Snr Constable Rumford said the defendant would not co-operate with police to locate the vehicle once he was in police custody.
"It was found burnt out days later," he said.
Snr Constable Rumford said the car's market value was $14,000, which was the restitution amount being requested.
The Bartletts had spent the prior seven months in upheaval following Mr Bartlett's brain cancer diagnosis.
They sold lots of items, including a car, and downsized their house two weeks prior to the car theft.
They even adjusted to restricted finances after Mr Bartlett, a St Brendan's College teacher, was told he could no longer work.
On February 14, as the family sat in their living room, one of their vehicles was stolen from their driveway in a brazen daylight robbery.
The 2015 model operates on a keyless ignition - a push start button - activated when the key is located within a certain distance of the vehicle. Unfortunately, one had been left in a bag in the car.
Magistrate Philippa Beckinsale ordered Quartermaine to pay the $14,000 restitution.
Quartermaine's lawyer Brendan Gimbert said his client had been introduced to meth by his father when he was 14 years old, which was about two years after his mother died.
"His father is a heavy ice user," he said.
Mr Gimbert said Quartermaine relocated from Western Australia when he was 17 with his girlfriend.
He said Quartermaine worked in Mackay and stayed away from drugs for 18 months.
Mrs Beckinsale said Quartermaine was "asking for a world of trouble … carrying around a hand gun".
She said he was putting himself in danger and it was "idiotic".
The court heard Quartermaine also struggled against police when arrested, resulting in the need for four police officers to hand cuff him.
Ms Beckinsale ordered Quartermaine to 18 months prison, declared 33 days presentence custody and set parole release on August 20, 2020.
She also ordered he pay restitution for two fuel drive offs of $40.26 and $14.64. Convictions were recorded.