Killer driver escaped from jailers ‘to apologise to victim’s family’

PRISONER Aaron Hyde will spend at least seven years in jail after escaping from custody and leading police on a high-speed chase.

Aaron Hyde, 22, pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court to running off from his jailers after a medical appointment and leading police on a high-speed chase in April last year.

 

Aaron Hyde before his arrest in 2016. Picture: NT Police
Aaron Hyde before his arrest in 2016. Picture: NT Police

 

The court heard Hyde was about to be taken back to prison following the appointment at Royal Darwin Hospital when he hit a female guard in the face, ran away and stole a car.

Hyde then spent the rest of the morning driving away from police, going through several roundabouts on the wrong side of the road and reaching speeds of up to 130km/h while still handcuffed.

When he finally crashed and was arrested by tactical police Hyde told the officers he "just wanted to say sorry to the family" of Ashley Richards who was killed in an earlier crash that followed the drug-fuelled crime spree he was jailed for in 2016.

But in extending that 11-year sentence by two years on Wednesday, Justice Jenny Blokland rejected Hyde's reasoning, describing the escape attempt as "fairly spontaneous".

"It do not accept this prior motivation was around an apology, (but) I do accept he was not in a sound emotional state," she said.

 

"I'm not sure he was thinking completely rationally when he escaped - I do not mean suffering form a particular illness - but his chances of getting very far in handcuffs if he really thought about it would have to be assessed as slim.

"Even if I am wrong in largely rejecting his stated motivation, as he described it, for the offending, his motivation could not be given any weight given the way he proceeded to offend by driving in a culpable manner again."

 

In setting a new non-parole period of seven years, Justice Blokland said: "It is one thing to escape lawful custody - which is always a serious matter - it is another to go on and start committing offences of the magnitude already outlined".

"It was a miracle no one was injured or worse, something Aaron Hyde knows full well can be an outcome of driving of this kind," she said.

In sentencing Hyde for the 2015 crime spree, Justice Stephen Southwood noted the former Don Dale inmate did not have a difficult upbringing that might have otherwise explained his criminality.

"The offender does not come from a deprived background," Justice Southwood said in 2016.



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