Car thieves toss spare wheel, brick at chasing police

ARSONISTS Trinity Atkinson and Tyson Murphy-McKey will spend Christmas in jail after being convicted of setting fire to a stolen car.

The pair was arrested on January 19 after a stolen Commodore they were riding in struck a pole and crashed into a garden bed in North Ipswich.

An Ipswich court this week heard that while trying to flee, the thieves threw a spare wheel, a brick and other objects at a pursuing police car.

Atkinson will also serve time for his violent attack on a youth in an Ipswich police cell just days after committing the arson.

Appearing before Ipswich District Court, Tyson George Murphy-McKey, 23, from Augustine Heights, and Trinity Richard Atkinson, 25, from Blackstone, both pleaded guilty to arson of a Holden Commodore ute at Swanbank on January 18.

Atkinson pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm to a 17-year-old youth at the Ipswich watch-house on January 22.

He also admitted to 21 other offences including dangerous operation of a motor vehicle; assault, enter premises by break; five counts of wilful damage; five counts of stealing; unlawful use of a motor vehicle; drug driving; two counts of disqualified driving; and wilful damage of police property.

One stealing charge involved his brazen theft of a $1500 diamond ring from a jewellery shop. A wilful damage charge related to Atkinson using scissors to slash a tyre on his former girlfriend's car.

The court heard Murphy-McKey had previously been dealt with by a lower court after he pleaded guilty to a series of related charges that included dangerous operation of a motor vehicle; stealing; assault/obstruct a police officer; and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

Crown prosecutor Cameron Wilkins said Atkinson had an appalling criminal history, with 12 convictions for burglary or entering premises; six for wilful damage; five for unlawful use of motor vehicles; and three for dangerous operation of motor vehicles.

He said Murphy-McKey had six prior stealing offences; three for entering premises to steal; two for fraud; dangerous operation of a motor vehicle when adversely affected by a substance; two for unlicensed driving; and failing to stop for police.

Mr Wilkins said a Holden Commodore ute was stolen from Burleigh Heads, about 8am on January 18. Later that day, Murphy-McKey used a phone to film Atkinson doing burnouts in the car at Swanbank.

They later set fire to it.

A witness saw the ute and a silver car being driven into the bush area, then saw smoke.

Mr Wilkins said police later sighted a silver Commodore and a protracted pursuit began with items including the wheel, a brick, Sony digital camera, parts from the car, an iPhone and sunglasses all thrown from the car. The spare wheel struck the police car.

The offenders also side-swiped two cars.

Police found methylamphetamine in the damaged car.

The Crown showed CCTV footage of a violent assault by Atkinson on a 17-year-old in the police cell.

Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC sentenced Murphy-McKey to three years and four months' jail for the arson. He set an eligibility date of March 14, 2019, to begin his application for parole release.

"Just a senseless crime done at a time when you did a whole raft of offences that have been dealt with by the Magistrates Court," Judge Horneman-Wren said.

Judge Horneman-Wren sentenced Atkinson to four years and five months' jail for the arson; 18 months' jail for his assault causing bodily harm to the youth; and to lesser jail terms on the other offences. Atkinson will be eligible to apply for parole on May 14, 2019. He received two licence disqualifications of two years each.