Ben Hole in happier times.
Ben Hole in happier times.

'I'll put a bullet in your head' Ex-gym owner's vile threat

A GYMPIE businessman and body builder escaped jail yesterday after pleading guilty to threatening violence and damage to another Gympie gym, its owner and the owner's daughter.

Widgee man Benjamin John Hole, 35, the former owner of NRG and a supplement business, also pleaded guilty to possessing steroids and marijuana, and to growing 47 marijuana plants on his property.

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The court heard Hole phoned the owner of City Gym, 69-year-old Julie Rimington, on September 26, last year, and demanded she and her daughter meet him at the City Gym in Gympie.

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When Mrs Rimington arrived, about 1pm Hole was out the front with another man, who was "also of a large build and not wearing a shirt", it heard.,

Mrs Rimington turned on the voice recorder on her mobile phone and recorded what happened next..

Hole said to them: "If the rumours don't stop we're going to burn your gym to the ground.

"See the big fella behind me? He'll put 10 f------ bullets in your head in a heartbeat if I give him the nod."

The court heard Mrs Rimington said to Hole:

"Why don't you do it? Is this roid rage?"

Hole replied: "I'll shoot this f------ gym up. Do you think we're f------ around? We're f------ bikies. I'll crack your f------ head in, c---."

Before police arrived Hole was also recorded saying:

"If we weren't under cameras I'd put a f------ bullet in your head."

Ben Hole
Ben Hole

Hole pleaded guilty to possession of 92g of marijuana and three vials of a clear liquid identified as a "testosterone agent", and to distribution for the 47 plants which were found on his property on November 16, last year.

His defence lawyer submitted several references and medical certificates and said since the death of his brother in a car accident in June last year, and a recent cancer diagnosis for both of his parents, Hole had been diagnosed with depression and taken it upon himself to "self-medicate".

He also said Hole had been seeing a psychologist and since the time of the offence his supplement business had failed and he had "walked away" from the gym.

Prosecutor Lisa Manns pressed the serious nature of the threat of violence charge.

"... these types of interactions of bullying and standover tactics towards a known business owner will not be tolerated," she said.

Magistrate Chris Callaghan agreed and described Hole's behaviour as "disgusting".

"I feel sorry for the fact you've lost your brother and your parents have been diagnosed with cancer. That's no excuse for this type of behaviour.... I am satisfied due to the deterence of you and deterence of others that might be of a like mind that the only sentence that can be passed is one of imprisonment."

Mr Callaghan took into account Hole's depression and what he described as "psychiatric history" when imposing his sentence.

"You're not going to go to jail though today. The jail term for the threatening violence issue will be wholly suspended," Mr Callaghan said.

The six month sentence will be suspended until March 1, 2022 and a conviction recorded and Hole was issued with a Non-Contact Order and told he could not contact Mrs Rimmington in any way during this time and can not go within 50m of the gym complex.

He was also fined $500 and had convictions recorded against him for the three drugs matters.