Man bashed with sledgehammer after sending death threats

WHEN Yeppoon father Dwayne Michael Jones threw a sledgehammer through the back window of a removalist truck, it sparked a series of events that landed him and his housemate in court.

What followed was a brutal assault with the hammer that resulted in Jones' victim, the driver of the removalist truck, receiving fractured ribs and a laceration to his left kidney.

Jones, 43, pleaded guilty in Rockhampton District Court yesterday to one count of wilful damage. He had previously pleaded guilty to one count of assault occasioning bodily harm whilst armed.

Sheldon Peter Mcpartland, 32, was also sentenced yesterday alongside Jones for the offending. He pleaded guilty to one count of common assault.

Crown prosecutor Tiffany Lawrence said the offending occurred on February 24, 2018 at Yeppoon.

Ms Lawrence said the victim and his wife, who were together for several years, were going through a break down in their marriage.

The court heard that on the day before the offending, a friend told the victim his former partner and Mcpartland had formed a relationship.

She said the victim knew Mcpartland from school and it had caused him some distress.

Ms Lawrence outlined the statement of facts as follows.

The next day, the victim drove past his former partner's house to see Mcpartlands vehicle parked there.

He picked up a rock and threw it through a window of the vehicle, shattering it.

The court heard he also attempted to enter the home with a metal pole, scaring the children inside.

Prior to attending that address, the victim had sent threatening messages to both his former partner and Mcpartland.

The messages essentially contained a series of threats to find Mcpartland and kill him.

"Mate, when I find you, you are dead mate. Mate, you should hide because you are crab bait. I'm going to find you mate, you can't hide, I'm going to kill you," a few of the messages sent to Mcpartland read.

The victim continued to send threatening messages to both his former partner and Mcpartland after leaving the address.

The victim then went to a job in Pacific Heights, Yeppoon, where he and a colleague were to remove furniture from an address. He told two of his colleagues he regretted what he had done to Mcpartland's car.

Mcpartland and the victim's former partner went to his house, which coincidently was also in Pacific Heights. The house was owned by Jones.

Jones was told about the damage to the vehicle and threatening messages sent by the victim. He asked who the victim worked for and said he saw a truck belonging to that company up the street.

The victim's former partner confirmed it was the victim up the street.

The victim saw the three, looked in their direction and made a slitting motion with his hand across his throat.

Jones then armed himself with a sledgehammer and started walking up the street towards the victim.

Mcpartland went to his bedroom to arm himself with a machete and started to head up the street too.

Jones climbed onto the passenger's side of the removalist truck and started to yell at the victim, who yelled back.

The victim began to drive off. Jones got off the truck and threw the sledgehammer through the back window, shattering it.

The victim pulled up outside Jones' house and got out of the truck with the sledgehammer in one hand and a metal pole in the other.

The court heard he yelled "come on c-ts" at Jones and Mcpartland, who started to run towards him.

The victim was confronted first by Jones. The victim landed the first blow, striking Jones in the elbow with the sledgehammer. Jones then swung the victim to the ground. The victim dropped the weapons and laid in a foetal position.

Jones picked up the sledgehammer and used it to strike the victim's ribs and back a number of times. He also struck the victim to the head.

Mcpartland, aware the victim had just been seriously assaulted, held him down and threatened him with the machete.

He told the victim if he ever came near the former partner or him again, he would kill him.

The victim pleaded with the pair to stop. The incident came to an end when the former partner intervened.

As a result of the assault, Ms Lawrence said the victim had non-displaced fractures to his left ribs and a left lumbar vertebrae fracture, as well as a laceration to his left kidney.

Jones suffered a fracture to the radial head.

The court heard the victim no longer resided on the Capricorn Coast and had not contacted his former partner or their children recently.

Ms Lawrence said Jones had no criminal history. The same couldn't be said for Mcpartland, who's most recent offending involved the assault of a taxi driver in May last year.

She said both defendants were mature men who chose to arm themselves with weapons.

Although, she did acknowledge Mcpartland did not cause the victim any injury.

"However, he was armed and there was a threat to kill while the complainant was in a vulnerable condition," she said.

"He could benefit from a lengthy period of supervision."

Barrister Ross Lo Monaco, who represented Jones, said his client was not an Australian citizen and was at risk of deportation if he were sentenced to a period of about 12 months in prison.

"Jones moved to Australia from New Zealand when he was 19 and has lived here ever since," he said.

"His daughter (who was 15) was born in Australia and cannot be looked after by her mother as she has passed away."

Mr Lo Monaco said Jones, who is a trainer for assessor operators at Jellinbah coal mine, told police one of the reasons he marched up the street was because he was concerned about possible threats to his own daughter and 58 year old mother.

"His mother, who was on the top veranda, said she saw the victim coming towards the house armed with a pole," he said.

"As a result of what he had heard, he was concerned and walked up the street armed with the sledgehammer.

"He told police he acted like an idiot - he was upset."

He said Jones' offending would have ended after he threw the sledgehammer through the back window of the truck, but the victim got out armed with the hammer in one hand and pole in the other.

"Jones believed he was defending himself, but accepts he carried it on too far," he said.

Solicitor Doug Winning, who represented Mcpartland, said his client began a relationship with the victim's former partner two weeks prior to the offending.

The court heard the pair were still together.

Mr Winning said Mcpartland, who worked at Foxleigh coal mine, armed himself with the machete for defensive purposes and as an instrument of bluff.

"He had no desire to cause substantial injury to the victim," he said.

"When he raised the machete to the victim and made his threat it was in the manner of bluff."

Chief Judge Kerry O'Brien said he accepted the context to which the offending occurred was of importance.

"There was clearly a good deal of threatening and provocative behaviour on the part of the victim in this case," he said.

"Nevertheless, this offending involved weapons, violence and occurred in broad daylight in a suburban street.

"Ordinarily, this offending would see both of you go to prison. However, the context to which I have referred will spare you of that outcome."

Jones was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended forthwith for 18 months.

Mcpartland was sentenced to three months imprisonment, also suspended forthwith for 18 months.