Boys' toy gun stunt ends in court

A GROUP of teens terrorised a mother and her three young children by simulating a drive-by shooting in Ipswich.

The teens, all 17, videotaped their prank and later admitted they thought it would be fun.

One of their victims, a mother who was walking with her children, was so scared by what she thought was a real gun she ran to dial triple-0.

The young Ipswich men drove around town in Matthew Kevin Westphal’s car on December 4, while Jesse James Butler, wearing what looked like a balaclava, pointed a toy gun at pedestrians.

Jordan Heath Waters sat in the back recording their foolish prank with a video camera.

About 6pm the trio drove past the mother and Butler yelled out an expletive-laden threat, claiming she was a terrorist while pointing the gun at her.

She ran to a nearby service station and dialled triple-0.

Ipswich Magistrates Court heard police rushed into action to track down the car.

Ten minutes later the teens pulled up next to a jogger on Ash Street, Flinders View, and asked for directions.

Butler pointed the gun at the woman and said: “You’re going to die, (expletive)”.

Prosecutor Sergeant Kerry Allison said the jogger saw the video camera and realised the gun was a plastic toy.

They later admitted they pointed the gun at six more people.

“I cannot think of a more horrifying situation for a mother to be put in with young children,” Sgt Allison said.

Butler, Waters and Westphal, who had no criminal history, all pleaded guilty to committing a public nuisance and going armed to cause fear.

They were ordered to perform 180 hours of community service with no convictions recorded.

Defence lawyer Matthew Fairclough argued his clients should receive good behaviour bonds or fines as they had already learnt their lesson from the shame of appearing in court.

But Ms MacCallum said she had considered jailing the trio.

“It’s frightening that you could behave like that with your background,” Ms MacCallum said.

“I just think this conduct is so appalling – it beggars belief.

“We live in strange times now and it would not be unreasonable for people to think that someone had gone ballistic and there were some young men driving around firing indiscriminately.

“This woman – how could she know?

“Some in the community might call you yobbos.”

Mr Fairclough said the incident was an “act of sheer stupidity” by private school-educated teens from good families with bright prospects for their futures.



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