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COURT: Thief robbed Charleville pub to pay off drug dealer

A man with an extensive history of break and enter crimes has been thrown in jail again after committing a slew of offences while on parole.

Douglas Eric Collins, 25, was taken to the Charleville watch-house on June 18, 2020 on a return to prison warrant where he kept striking his head on the steel door and wrapped wet toilet paper over the CCTV camera, the Charleville Magistrates Court heard on March 9, 2021.

He was then forcibly removed into a violent detention cell, but bashed his head in there too, police prosecutor Sergeant Caroline Boodnikoff told the court.

Paramedics were called, but Collins kept hitting his head with his fist, which Sergeant Boodnikoff said was to give further injury to himself.

“He was observed to have smeared blood over the CCTV camera in the violent detention cell,” she said.

The cell was not usable until it was cleaned.

In a separate incident, Collins was found to have kept methylamphetamine in a car when pulled over on Sturt Street at 8.04pm, November 6.

“The defendent stated to police that he had attended to that address to inquire about the sale of a quad bike, Sergeant Boodnikoff said.

Douglas Eric Collins
Douglas Eric Collins

Collins got shaky with his responses when police questioned him about the quad bike, leading to police suspicion.

They searched the car and found a bag of meth.

Collins’ crime spree continued when he broke into a Charleville pub with an accomplice on November 20.

His solicitor Paul Metcalf said this was so Collins could pay back his debt to a drug dealer.

He entered through the back of the premises while wearing a hood and cap, but no gloves or face mask.

Although Collins had keys with him, he couldn’t open the two doors he wanted to.

He then went around the side, removed three window louvres and jumped into the ladies toilets.

“He then conducted an untidy search... where he located an unlocked moneybox... and he stole $100 from that box,” Sergeant Boodnikoff said.

Inside the pub, he filled three 20-litre tubs with alcohol totalling $2859.

He also stole donation tins which would have went to Guide Dogs Australia and Legacy.

Then on December 4, police found Collins emptying marijuana remains at a Cunnamulla house.

When police questioned him, he told them he was ‘Owen Turnbull’, Sergeant Boodnikoff said.

But when he was taken to the police station, they called up the house and confirmed his true identity.

Mr Metcalf told the court Collins would like to raise his young daughter when he gets out of jail.

He also said mental health was a key factor.

“He instructs that he had been using ice for the past five to six years,” Mr Metcalf said.

“Not to diminish the criminality of those offences... but it is my submission that Mr Collins was the true victim of that in relation to the injury he sustained.”

Magistrate Peter Saggers said the injuries were self-inflicted because Collins self-ingested dangerous drugs.

He sternly told Collins that break and enter offences are ones which he continues to commit.

“You really won’t get to know your daughter at all,” Magistrate Saggers said if Collins keeps going to jail.

“Time will go by. She’ll be eight, then she’ll be ten, and then she’ll say I don’t really want to see Dad anyway; he’s never been there for me.”

Magistrate Saggers said he’ll have difficult choices to make if his mates keep encouraging him to do drugs, and he finds himself riddled in debts to drug dealers.

Collins appeared in the court sitting from prison via videolink, and he had a black eye.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing drugs, one count of obstructing police, one count of contravening direction or requirement of police, wilful damage of police property, and enter premises by break.

Collins was thrown back in jail to serve the remainder of six months (he’s already served 36 days).

Upon his release, he’ll have a 12 month suspended sentence hanging over his head for two years.

And he has to pay $2959 in compensation to the pub.

Convictions were recorded.

“I must reflect,” Collins told the court.

Charleville Western Times

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