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Photo: Luke Mortimer

Ford Mustang theft accomplice avoids being sent to jail

A MACKAY dad who helped a co-accused man dodge police in a new Ford Mustang stolen from a dealership has avoided being sent to prison, despite his "disgraceful" criminal record.

Laurie Hodgetts, 34, aided the co-accused man known to him due to a "misguided allegiance", a court was told.

However, Hodgetts involvement was described as relatively "low level", in the scheme of things.

It revolved around fuelling up the muscle car taken from Fraser Ford in Proserpine, and accompanying the co-accused in the attempted theft of a stranger's car.

Hodgetts fronted Mackay Magistrates Court on Friday for a part-heard sentencing hearing to be completed.

He had pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a motor vehicle and attempted unlawful use, both dated to January 5.

Several of Hodgetts' family members sat in the court's public gallery in support.

Summing up the case, Magistrate Damien Dwyer said the Mustang was stolen on January 4.

The car's keys were left in the ignition and the co-accused man took advantage, jumping in the driver's seat and speeding off.

About 11.20am the next day, Hodgetts was sighted by police "pouring petrol into the stolen vehicle", and the co-accused man drove away.

The Mustang crashed nearby, Hodgetts "picked him up" in another car and the pair made themselves scarce.

Mr Dwyer said about 10 minutes later Hodgetts pulled over front of another parked vehicle in Paget.

The co-accused man tried to open the car's door and told its driver to "give me your f---ing car".

The driver refused, the co-accused hopped back in the passenger seat and the pair drove off.

When police caught up with Hodgetts he claimed he'd been trying to kick the co-accused man out of the car.

Mr Dwyer said Hodgetts' criminal history included property crime, and namely car theft.

Though, solicitor Sara Loughnan, of BC&A Solicitors, had told the court Hodgetts' criminal activity had drastically reduced in recent years and he had been working.

Hodgetts undertook a drug test in late February and was clean.

Mr Dwyer sentenced Hodgetts to 10 months jail with immediate parole.


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