Gladstone killer’s shocking offences leading up to tragedy

GLADSTONE man Anthony Lee Smits, the convicted killer of Andrew Vesey-Brown, has had his criminal offending leading up to the tragic death of his friend revealed in Gladstone Magistrates Court.

Smits was sentenced to nine years' imprisonment with immediate parole in Rockhampton Supreme Court on December 1 after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Vesey-Brown on July 10, 2017.

Read the manslaughter case:

Mum's heartache as son's killer receives parole eligibility

Smits came to police attention almost a year earlier.

On June 16, 2016, police were called to Diamond Cutter Close with reports of a man who had overdosed on drugs.

Smits was laying on the concrete, rolling around throwing his legs and arms erratically and making groaning noises.

A friend said he had taken 18 valium tablets.

He was taken to hospital by ambulance with a police escort.

When at the hospital he kicked out at a police officer who had to block him from hitting her head. He immediately apologised.

In a police interview, he said he couldn't remember the event.

Smits was required to provide identifying particulars by June 28 that year but did not.

The defence leaving the Rockhampton courthouse following the sentence of Anthony Lee Smits for the manslaughter of Andrew Vesey-Brown on December 1.
The defence leaving the Rockhampton courthouse following the sentence of Anthony Lee Smits for the manslaughter of Andrew Vesey-Brown on December 1.

On July 28, 2016, both Emale Lifestyle clothing and Smits' cousin fell victim to his crimes.

He entered the store and grabbed clothing but left due to not having his card.

Smits later rang the store and spent $550 on a credit card which belonged to his cousin.

Smits returned a belt worth $50.15 and put the refund onto his own card.

His cousin told police he had provided Smits with his credit card details so he could purchase a bus ticket.

When Smits was questioned he claimed he hadn't visited the business for five or six years but couldn't explain the refund on his card.

The next month Smits stole a car from a person his mum was living with.

Smits entered the house and took the car keys to the Holden Commodore sometime between 6.30pm on August 10 and 5.30am on August 11.

He drove the car to Brisbane and back before dumping it on French St sometime before 10am on August 12.


Manslaughter victim Andrew Vesey-Brown
Manslaughter victim Andrew Vesey-Brown

Fingerprints on the freshly cleaned car identified Smits as the offender. In the process of the trip he'd damaged the engine and the car wheels. At the time Smits was unlicensed.

Smits was not deterred to stop his offending even behind bars.

While on remand at the Capricorn Correctional Centre on December 5, 2017, Smits and his cellmate damaged a vending machine and stole 90 cans of soft drinks.

In a search on January 6, 2020, police located steroids in Smits' cell and a needle and syringe hidden in a packet of oats.

When in the Woodford Correctional Centre Smits was again searched with a cellmate.

They were told to put their hands on their heads but neither complied, instead putting hands down the rear of their pants.

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Smits was strip searched where police found a bread bag with what appeared to be electronic items protruding from his buttocks.

The bread bag was removed and inside was a mobile phone. Corrections staff also located a charger and an earpiece, all items prohibited by the prison.

Smits pleaded guilty to 10 charges in Gladstone Magistrates Court on December 14.

Due to having served three-and-a-half-years on remand, Smits was convicted and not further punished for these offences and received immediate parole eligibility.