Richard Cunningham smashed his tracking bracelet and evaded police. Picture: MATT THOMPSON
Richard Cunningham smashed his tracking bracelet and evaded police. Picture: MATT THOMPSON

Escapee smashed tracking bracelet and runs from police

A PRISONER was so ashamed of the electronic monitoring bracelet he was wearing, he smashed the titanium device and did a runner.

Escapee Richard Cunningham later fled from police cars four times to avoid arrest when seen out and about driving.

Finally the tradie’s luck dried up when officers caught him and he was returned to jail.

Appearing in the dock of Ipswich Magistrates Court, 33-year-old Richard Jayde Cunningham, a concreter from Parkridge, pleaded guilty to being a prisoner was unlawfully at large; four charges of evading police (failing to stop when directed); dangerous operation of a motor vehicle; three charges of driving when disqualified; and causing wilful damage to an electronic tracking device.

Prosecutor Senior Constable Dave Shelton said Cunningham was at Munruben on May 17 when an alert was sent by the monitoring device just after 9pm.

On July 5 Cunningham was seen in Goodna driving a gold coloured Holden Senator. He failed to stop then ran a red light.

At 1am on July 13 the escapee was seen driving in Waterford West and failed to stop. Cunningham again failed to stop for police late at night on July 13 in Marsden.

On July 28 Cunningham was spotted driving in Goodna and failed to stop. He was tracked by Polair to a house in Redbank Plains and arrested.

Snr Cnst Shelton said the evasion offence on July 13 at Marsden involved Cunningham driving a grey Mitsubishi Lancer at 11.45pm.

When police tried to intercept it for an RBT the driver sped off at an estimated speed of 90km/h in a 50km/h and 60km/h zone. Police abandoned the intercept attempt.

Snr Cnst Shelton said Cunningham’s offending history included six previous offences for failing to stop for police.

In 2016 Cunningham was sentenced to a 15 month jail term for dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, and had multiple convictions for unlicensed driving.

Snr Cnst Shelton said Cunningham evaded police to remain unlawfully at large and had put the safety of people at risk.

Snr Cnst Shelton sought a head sentence of two years jail, with an additional six months for being unlawfully at large.

Defence lawyer Lejla Pehlivanovic said Cunningham instructed he was now clean with no desire to continue drug use after previously hanging with the wrong crowd and using methylamphetamine (ice).

He escaped the tracking bracelet because he was “uncomfortable with the way it made him look out in the community”.

Magistrate Andy Cridland sentenced Cunningham to 2 ½ years jail which included the additional six months for his escape.

Mr Cridland said Cunningham’s behaviours had made him a danger to the public.

“Effectively you were an escaped prisoner and made numerus attempts to avoid being arrested,” he said.

Cunningham will be eligible to begin his parole application from September 20 next year. He was ordered to pay $750 restitution for the damaged bracelet.

His driver’s licence was disqualified two years.