Murder, mayhem, drama: the biggest court stories of 2018
WHAT makes a court story "big”?
Do stories from the court sometimes stick with us because the crimes outrage and offend every one of us?
And sometimes might think: "There but for the Grace of God go I”.
In Gympie's Channon Street courthouse precinct, we see joy and anguish, laughter and tears, the most noble and base sides of our human nature.
Here's a personal selection.
'Hi maggot. I found you and the rest of your family
A STRESSED out Facebook stalker masked his real identity as he used the social media site to harass and frighten a policeman and his family, Gympie Magistrates Court has been told. '
'I'm going to kill you': axe-threat man in court
A MAN who threatened to kill two strangers had also brandished an axe and struck himself, during a "bizarre" episode at a Tin Can Bay caravan park.
The man, Anthony David Cheney, did not contest police claims that he had told a fellow tenant in the park: "I'm going to kill you," before grabbing an axe and threatening another man.
He had never met either of them before, the court was told.
'Arrogant' fraudster rips $270,000 from disability charity
AN "arrogant" serial fraudster funded his passion for horses by stealing a huge amount of cash from an iconic charity that provides riding therapy for hundreds of Queenslanders with disabilities.
Former treasurer of Riding for the Disabled Queensland Kerry Charles McLean will spend at least two years in jail after pleading guilty to two fraud charges in Brisbane District Court on Wednesday.
Drunk home invader moved into the wrong house
A WOMAN described as elderly, living a quiet life in a quiet Gympie neighbourhood was watching television on December 10, when the stranger walked in.
The man, Andrew Robert Daley, told her it was not her house and he lived there.
What if someone gave you $3000, but didn't really...?
THE young Gympie woman had no intention of stealing from anyone, but then more than $3000 accidentally appeared, in two separate instalments, in her bank account.
Gympie magistrate Chris Callaghan provides a glimpse of the law, from his side of the bench
"MISOGYNY," said Gympie's new magistrate Chris Callaghan.
He was talking about the media.
Coverage of women in the judiciary is often unfair, said the man whose job as magistrates regional co-ordinator also involves keeping the justice system running from Hervey Bay to Caboolture and west to Kingaroy.
Murder victim's sister faces killers in court
UPDATE: THE sister of Gold Coast murder victim Shaun Barker has slammed his killers, telling them: "You brutally murdered my brother. You decided his life wasn't worth living, You made sure he suffered."
Mission incomprehensible - laws that even confuse lawyers
"OH DEAR me," Gympie magistrate Chris Callaghan said when told of the innocent error that cost a young Cooloola Cove woman her licence.
Mishieka Pixie McKnight, 20, pleaded guilty to disqualified driving at Tin Can Bay on February 14.
The court was told McKnight had been given a good behaviour licence after losing all her demerit points.
What she did not know was the licence was invalid because the good behaviour option did not cover the suspension imposed for one of her breeches, high-level speeding.
"Isn't it just too complex for ordinary citizens?" Mr Callaghan asked.
Super drunk, ultra violent DV horror
A FORMER Southside man was so drunk when he threatened to kill and mutilate a woman last month, he was still legally under the influence eight hours later.
Man calls magistrate a 'd***head'
A 19-year-old man has received a one month prison term for calling Magistrate Chris Callaghan a "d***head" when he appeared in Gympie Magistrates Court via videolink on Monday.
Gympie court jails abusive partner who bashed pregnant woman
A MAROOCHYDORE man was jailed in Gympie yesterday over extreme violence against his then pregnant partner.
Not all sweetness and light in troubled solar industry
SOLAR power customers need to be vigilant in an industry plagued by problems, according to multiple victims who have taken their cases to Gympie Magistrates Court.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan, hearing a $9200 fraud case last week, said the industry had "a lot of unhappy customers."
Gambling addict dies after boss queries missing $2.5m
A CHATSWORTH woman with a gambling problem stole $2.5 million from her Gympie employer and died on the day she was due to explain, the Supreme Court has found.
Justice John Bond said evidence showed the woman had poker machine losses of $805,444.63.
'My mum's not a criminal': Arson fraud kept in the family
A MATRIARCH who was the mastermind behind an insurance fraud arson dragged her daughter down with her in the spurious plan which netted a $240,000 pay out.
Penelope Lee Peters, 48, the homeowner's daughter, yesterday pleaded guilty to single counts of arson and fraud in Maroochydore District Court.
Her mother orchestrated the crime in 2009, which was allegedly carried out by Peters' estranged husband Brett David Peters.
'RUNNING AMOK': Jail after one-man Cooloola Coast crime wave
A MAN who menaced his family and ran amok during "a protracted crime spreeâ€ at the Cooloola Coast this year was probably beyond redemption, Gympie Magistrates Court heard yesterday.
Cooloola man broke every bone in this puppy's body
THE plucky Staffordshire terrier pup's only offence was to be a puppy, but that was enough for a cruel owner to break "virtually every bone in its body," an appalled RSPCA prosecutor said in Gympie yesterday.
Former citizen of the year jailed for child rape
A FORMER senior citizen of the year has been jailed for the rape and repeated sexual assault of a nine-year-old girl.
Kids, 12 and 14, force mum on crime spree
A FORMER Gympie mum, now living in Nambour, drove her two sons to the shops they burgled over a two-year period in Gympie, between December 22 in 2015 and December 4, 2017.
Glenwood wife killer out on parole after 15 years
AFTER 15 years in jail, convicted Glenwood wife killer Russell Stewart Henry Crump is out on parole.
Crump had been serving a life sentence for the murder of his de facto wife, Erica Tomkinson.
Months of Lindy's lies, smears end with guilty verdict
LINDY Yvonne Williams has been sentenced to life in jail after the horrific murder and dismemberment of her partner George Gerbic.
Magazine article proves killer's lies
A DECADE before Lindy Williams sat silently in a Brisbane court while a judge sentenced her to at least 20 years in prison for murdering and dismembering her partner, the Sunshine Coast mum claimed to have gone through a similar harrowing ordeal with a knife attacker.
Late last week, Williams was found guilty of killing her partner George Gerbic in their Queensland home before cutting him into pieces and setting his torso on fire as it sat on the side of a road in Gympie.
SHOOT ME: Pie Creek 'suicide by cop' bid
A GYMPIE man was attempting "suicide by cop” when he threatened police during a 12-hour siege at Pie Creek, Gympie Magistrates Court was told.
The man, who cannot be named under domestic violence laws, told the court he had great respect for police, but did yell "f***ing dogs” as he was led to jail to start a four-month minimum sentence.
RED HANDED: Jail for forest harvest
POLICE found what they were looking for when they were patrolling Neerdie State Forest to detect marijuana production, Gympie district Court was told this week.
Knife-weilding man strangles ex after eight days on ice
A KNIFE-WEILDING Gympie sex offender loaded up on ice for eight days before driving to Ipswich to abuse, assault, strangle, suffocate and terrify the mother of his six-month old daughter.
COURT: Childlike rapist and child who would not complain
A YOUNG Gympie man with intellectual difficulties was possibly not that much more mature than his 11-year-old girlfriend, but a judge said this did not excuse offences of grooming and rape.
EXTREME CRUELTY: Dog bite link to bird torture case
A DOG that bit a young man while defending its master, was part of a story that has since led two young Gympie men to court on animal cruelty charges.
The charges involved an incident in which a group of young people were recorded torturing an injured wild bird with a taser.
Tin Can Bay woman caught in murderer's destructive path
FROM Belanglo State Forest to tin Can Bay, Daniel James Holdom left a path of destruction in his wake.
Jailed for someone else's fraud
BRETT David Peters stood to gain nothing from the arson and insurance fraud drimes he committed almmost 10 years ago.
Accused child killer in hospital
THE father accused of killing Kin Kin toddler Corby Akehurst is in hospital.
How NSW police accidentally solved a Gympie cold case
NEW South Wales police were investigating something else entirely when they stumbled on the truth behind a Gympie insurance fraud involving a payout of nearly $240,000
Ex-Gympie dentist on nine assault charges
FORMER Gympie dentist Jebson Herrod was remanded in Gympie Magistrates Court this week on nine assault charges, four of them listed as domestic-violence linked offences.
Jail the 'no option' penalty for big-ticket $35k burglary
A YOUNG but big-ticket burglar apologised to sobbing loved ones as he was led to jail from Gympie Magistrates Court.
'Burn the lot of you c***s': threat to newspaper
a 24-year grudge against the news media was the motivation behind threatening phone calls against The gympie times and its staff, Gympie Magistrates Court has been told.
'Psychotic' drug effects blamed for weird day of stealing
A YOUNG man stopped using drugs after a "psychotic” crime spree at Tin Can Bay and Gympie, Gympie Magistrates court has been told.
Woodchipper victim's son wages estate war
THE son of a man allegedly fed through a woodchipper has launched legal action over his will, which was set to benefit one of the accused murderers.
The life of Nambour's Bruce Saunders was brought to a horrific end in November when his body entered an industrial-sized wooodchipper on a rural property near Gympie.
Party's over for Tin Can Bay family after $1394 penalty
THERE will be no more teenagers' birthday parties at one Tin Can Bay home from now on, Gympie Magistrates Court was promised yesterday.
Woman flees courtroom in bizarre Gympie case
A YOUNG woman's desperate escape from Gympie Magistrates Court lasted only seconds before she was recaptured.
Gympie's carpark masturbator exposed
A FATHER of five has admitted to being a serial public maturbator who exposed himself to women multiple times in a Gympie carpark.
'He took my child': Justice for Jeremy, Nicole not enough
FOR three years the families of fatal crash victims Jeremy Josephski and Nicole Daly have waited for justice.
RSPCA closes two year long investigation into cockfighting
THE RSPCA yesterday announced the end of one of its longest and most wide ranging regional investigations.
Long wait on 'cop bite' blood tests
A GYMPIE police officer may be enduring the longest wait in the world as the officer undergoes tests for a range of diseases, after allegedly being bitten during an incident at Gympie Magistrates court on September 17.
Details of company's $8m collapse to be heard in court
THE liquidator of a property development company that collapsed owing $8 million will apply for a public examination of "key persons” in the operation of the business.
United Project Partners Pty Ltd, part of the United Group, was a Gympie-based project manager and funder of property developments across Toowoomba and Gympie.
Return of the driving refugee after eight years on the run
A VICTORIAN man who fled from Queensland, to escape justice here, has now returned from Victoria.