Meth addicted mum steals man’s identity in crime spree
A YOUNG Chinchilla mother spent her 25th birthday in jail after she stole a man's identity to commit fraud while on a drug-fuelled crime spree across the Western Downs.
Hayley Jane Lovell appeared by video link from Brisbane Women's Correctional Centre distraught and visibly shaken at the prospect of facing more time behind bars.
The 25-year-old had been in custody for more than 60 days following her arrest on 69 criminal charges.
Her crimes included a number of drug offences, public nuisance, trespassing, bail breaches, stealing, driving while suspended, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, stealing, failing to appear, weapons charges, failing to dispose of a syringe and more.
Due to the enormous amount of charges, police prosecutor sergeant Derek Brady led with what he believed was the most serious charge.
The court heard Lovell had stolen a man's driver's licence and applied for a bank card, which led to several fraud and stealing offences.
Sgt Brady said there had been a level of "sophistication" to this crime, with Lovell using a vacant address to obtain the card unlawfully.
The rest of the offences were "low level offending", which occurred over a ten month period, according to Sgt Brady.
He cited the most recent offences of failing to appear during her probation, where Lovell didn't show for long pleas listed in Dalby Magistrates Court earlier this year.
Lovell sobbed on the live video link as sgt Brady submitted for nine months imprisonment and a 18 month probation period for all 69 charges, asking for a parole release date of October 21 due to time already served in custody.
Duty lawyer Claire Graham said she was instructed to seek an immediate release, however said Lovell was "realistic" to her situation.
The court heard of Lovell's "attitude shift" while in custody after she celebrated her birthday in custody.
Ms Graham told the court of the defendant's tumultuous upbringing, which involved the death of her mother when she was 14-years-old, and a troubled relationship with her father.
"The biggest penalty for her as a result of her actions is she hasn't had any contact with her three-year-old son," Ms Graham said.
"That has been the biggest lesson she's learnt from this."
In a letter tendered to the court, Lovell in her own words said she was "heavily on drugs" and "always off [her] head on the stuff", stating she was remorseful for her behaviour.
The court heard Lovell had been attending AA meetings and bible studies while in prison, with Ms Graham saying her incarceration has acted as a "circuit breaker" for her.
In her closing remarks, Ms Graham said her drug use, money problems and transience had resulted in Lovell using everyone to her benefit, and had "little regard" to the consquences.
She said the defendant wanted to be released before November 4 in time for her son's birthday, saying prison so far has been a sufficient deterrent for Lovell.
Magistrate Tracy Mossop told Lovell she had committed an offence every month in her 10- month crime spree, pointing out it had only ceased when she was finally arrested by police.
Magistrate Mossop said Lovell did herself a favour by failing to appear earlier in July as she's had time to "sober up and detox from drugs".
"I've got 18 different types of offences that you have committed over that 10 month period," she said.
"All of them, even though they're different in nature, related to the fact that you were off the rails using drugs at the time."
Magistrate Mossop said that even her lawyer conceded a term of imprisonment and probation order was an appropriate sentence.
"For the most part you committed offences against people who you knew, people who you knocked on their door at night saying you had nowhere to say," she said.
"And then you've taken their phone, you've taken their car.
"That sort of offending is offensive.
"That also shows me just how much these drugs had control of you at the time, where you couldn't even do the right thing to those people, who were only trying to help you out."
She acknowledged a gap in her criminal history where she said Lovell was "working hard", saying she had proven she can live a life without drugs.
"You need to desire being a good parent to your son, more than you desire getting involved with cannabis, or meth, or anything like that," Mrs Mossop said.
Lovell pleaded guilty to all charges, with Magistrate Mossop giving three separate punishments for the bulk of offences.
For consuming liquor in a public place, contravening a direction of a police officer, failing to appear on December 18, failing to appear on March 4, possession of a prescription health drug, and driving while suspended, Lovell was convicted and not further punished.
She was then disqualified from driving for one month.
For the remaining offences Lovell was sentenced to three months imprisonment, followed by 15 months of probation, with her 63 days in custody acknowledged as time served.
Convictions were recorded.