ACT News


Men jailed for botched carjacking using machete

Two men were on a week-long crime spree when they terrified a woman with a machete in a botched carjacking.

But Mark Anthony O'Connor, 26, claims he had little memory of the eight offences he committed in January.

O'Connor and Daniel James Craft, 33, pleaded guilty to a number of offences, including theft, burglary, car theft, attempted aggravated robbery, and accessory to attempted aggravated robbery.

Both men were sentenced to jail in the ACT Supreme Court last month.

Sentencing remarks, published on Thursday, said O'Connor had been released from Canberra jail on parole on January 12 and began to use drugs heavily.

The spree began when O'Connor burgled homes in Deakin, Belconnen and Melba between January 19-22 and stole property worth about $6777.


On January 23, a van was taken from Gungahlin and the pair stole petrol for the vehicle the following day.

About 1.25am on January 25 the offenders stopped the van beside a stationary silver Mercedes Benz.

O'Connor failed to open the driver's door and then used the machete to smash the window.

He fled when he could not remove the keys from the ignition.

They then abandoned the van and stole a silver Proton hatchback vehicle from a Holt petrol station, later filling the vehicle up in Kaleen and driving off without paying.

The offenders were caught when the car they were driving crashed after a short police pursuit on the Federal Highway about 7am.

Both were arrested upon discharge from hospital.

A victim impact statement said the occupant of the Mercedes during the failed carjacking had suffered significant psychological injury.

The court heard she felt vulnerable and anxious when at home alone, had been unable to work late hours alone, and feared for her personal safety so much that she had bought a companion guard dog.

She had lost the confidence to pursue work and travel opportunities that she may otherwise have embraced. 

Chief Justice Murrell sentenced O'Connor to eight years' jail, backdated to take into account time spent in custody, with non-parole period of five years and two months'.

He will be eligible for release in March 2019.

Craft was sentenced to five-and-a-half years, with a non-parole period that will expire in September 2017. 

"These … have significant prior criminal histories," Chief Justice Murrell said.

"I am … mindful of the need to protect the community against the offenders, who have repeatedly disregarded the entitlement of others to have their property ... respected."