Crime spree couple put lives at risk

A COUPLE charged with 18 offences following a four-hour crime spree in Gladstone in May was sentenced to time behind bars in Rockhampton District Court yesterday.

Matthew John Coyle and Courtney Hawking, both 22, previously pleaded guilty to charges including arson, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, stealing a motor vehicle, wilful damage, failing to stop for police and assault or obstruct police.

The court heard Coyle stole and torched cars with a damage bill of more than $54,000 when he set fire to two cars and caused $11,000 damage to another.

Crown prosecutor Susan Hedge previously told a Gladstone court the couple went on a four-hour crime spree after Coyle stole a green Commodore which he drove on the Bruce Hwy at speeds of 165kmh, overtaking multiple cars.

She said lives had been put at risk when Coyle overtook on corners and hills, driving erratically.

Judge Michael Burnett said Coyle and Hawking acted together.

"At the outset it should be noted much of the offending was committed jointly however many of the features of the offending are regarding individual circumstances," he said.

"Plainly they were co-offenders in respect to the three stealing motor vehicle charges with each committing other offences."

Mr Burnett said Hawking had a "significant difficulty" with drugs.

"She was in a particularly bad place and was using ice heavily, she used ice on that day," he said.

"She had not slept because she was using ice."

Hawking was sentenced to two years, five months and two weeks in prison with parole eligibility on February 16, 2016 after serving 190 days pre-sentence custody.

Coyle was sentenced to four years in prison with parole eligibility on September 18, 2016 after serving 188 days pre-sentence custody.



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