Shots fired at women and toddler

A CAR load of young Ipswich men pursued and fired a gun at a fleeing car that had two women and a toddler on board in a terrifying chase to a country police station, a court heard.

Ipswich District Court heard one of Mitchell Dennis Waerea's friends had a disagreement with a man who lived at Lake Clarendon, about 10 kilometres north-east of Gatton.

Deciding to “sort out the dispute”, Waerea and a group of friends drove over to the man's house.

Fearing an attack, two women at the house and a two-year-old boy jumped in a Toyota Landcruiser and sped away.

But, after spotting the fleeing vehicle, the car in which Waerea was a passenger followed in hot pursuit, believing the subject of their animosity was on board.

Waerea grabbed a .22 calibre rifle and fired it twice.

The women sped down dark roads, crossing on to the wrong side of the street, and drove over a roundabout on the way to the Gatton police station.

The men abandoned the pursuit and hid the gun behind some bushes before going home.

Crown prosecutor Rachelle Logan said the trip from Lake Clarendon to the police station would usually take about 20 to 25 minutes but they completed it in 15 minutes in the early hours of December 11 last year.

“They feared for their safety,” Ms Logan said.

The court heard one of the women had wasted away since the terrifying ordeal, her weight having dropped from 60 to 35 kilograms.

The co-accused in the case have yet to face court.

Waerea pleaded guilty to threatening violence, dangerously operating a motor vehicle, going armed to cause fear and unlawful possession of a weapon.

The court heard Waerea had been sentenced to three years jail in March last year before Judge Gregory Koppenol but he was released immediately on parole after he pleaded guilty to an armed robbery of a taxi driver.

But by re-offending he had breached his parole and had been held in custody since January.

Waerea was sentenced to two years and six months jail and is eligible to apply for parole immediately.

Defence barrister Robert Carroll said his client, a father of three, went along with the offence due to immaturity.

Judge Koppenol told Waerea he was a fit, young man and urged him to find a job.



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