HIDDEN PRICE: Gympie Magistrates Court has been told of the hidden price of a life spent protecting others.
HIDDEN PRICE: Gympie Magistrates Court has been told of the hidden price of a life spent protecting others. Thinkstock

COURT: Man who rescued best mate tells of PTSD horror

ONCE a hero, Matthew Schreinert this week told Gympie Magistrates Court of his PTSD and the grog he used "to ease the pain.”

After a career in the military and security sectors, his lawyer told the court of Schreinert's suffering from a career protecting others.

Schreinert pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of liquor at Rainbow Beach on August 31, where he recorded a breath alcohol reading of .155 per cent.

Man lost lower half of left leg in tragic tree mulcher accident

It was a long fall from March 26, 2015, when he made the Northern Territory News.

It was a story about quick thinking workers who saved the life of a badly injured colleague. The colleague lost his lower left leg, when it became tangled in rope and dragged into the mulcher.

They were part of a pre-cyclone clean-up team at Wildman Wilderness Lodge at Jabiru, in Kakadu National Park.

They were employed by lodge owner Goodhand Outback Experiences, which later sued the tree lopping company which was operating the mulcher.

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"The effort of his workmates and resort staff quickly applying the tourniquet, made all the difference,” the paper's website reported.

"Mr Schreinert was the one who applied the tourniquet,” his lawyer told the court on Thursday.

"He completed Year 12 in 1993, joined the military in 1995 and since then has worked primarily in defence and security,” the lawyer said.

Schreinert's work had exposed him to "tragic incidents, including witnessing a suicide by hanging in Nauru (and being) stabbed in the face in the Whitsundays.”

"As a result of all this he now suffers from PTSD and has been unable to work for several years. However he is provided with ongoing support from the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Mr Schrenert, who had been self-medicating with alcohol for some time, had been drinking with friends earlier in the day and was on his way to get more alcohol when police intercepted his vehicle.

The charge had prompted Schreinert to re-evaluate his life. His lawyer told the court on Thursday that Schreinert had now "admitted himself to Buderim hospital for detox. He is brought to court today by the RSL and once he's finished here he will be picked up by the van and taken straight to the behaviour clinic, where he will spend 90 days in a very intensive program.”

Mr Callaghan said he noted Schreinert's PTSD and that he had "witnessed a suicide, been stabbed in the face and witnessed a colleague have his leg taken in a mulcher.

"You assisted him, perhaps saved his life, but all these things have taken a toll and you started to drink to ease the pain. Then you became dependant on alcohol. To your credit you have taken action to confront that now,” he said, fining Schreinert $800, with a six-month disqualification and no conviction recorded.