UK national David James Jackson, 57, in Cairns for an extradition hearing to WA on drug trafficking charges. Picture: Stewart McLean
UK national David James Jackson, 57, in Cairns for an extradition hearing to WA on drug trafficking charges. Picture: Stewart McLean

What jet ski fugitive did on his last night of freedom

JET ski fugitive David Jackson got drunk and did target practice with his crossbow on the final night of an audacious 4550km bid to flee Australia.

The 57-year-old's capture on the final leg of a 150km jetski ride through the Torres Strait on Monday has made global headlines.

The British runaway had to wait out Cyclone Trevor, packing 120km/h winds and flooding rain, in his trek up into Cape York before setting out for Papua New Guinea.

"He'd been shooting his arrows at a stump on the beach for target practice,'' a witness said.

His Sea-Doo jetski was packed with supplies, fuel jerries and a swag.

He spent his last night drinking about 10 cans of Jack Daniels and Coke around a campfire and did target practice on the beach at Punsand Bay at the tip of Cape York, Australia's northernmost point.

He also left a handwritten note saying "I'm not dead: but I'm not coming back" and abandoned a Subaru Outback he'd bought in Cairns.

But Jackson had ditched the crossbow by the time the long arm of the law caught up with him after he turned back from primitive PNG villages.

UK national David James Jackson, 57, in Cairns for an extradition hearing to WA on drug trafficking charges. Picture: Stewart McLean
UK national David James Jackson, 57, in Cairns for an extradition hearing to WA on drug trafficking charges. Picture: Stewart McLean

Australian Federal Police has milked the dramatic arrest on the high seas in a social media post viewed by thousands worldwide.

The AFP invoked the words of US rapper DJ Khaleed, once famously lost at sea on a jetski, who said: "the key is to make it".

"Unlike DJ Khaleed, we didn't need Drake or Diddy to help,'' the AFP post said.

The AFP, Border Force and Queensland Police found "the hapless fugitive on the mudflats of Sabai Island in the Torres Strait", it said. "#BlessUp."

Jackson, wanted on drug-related charges in Western Australia, will face court in Cairns today for an application to extradite him back to Perth.

Cyclone Trevor delayed his departure by three weeks as he waited for a break in the weather.

"He was packed ready to blast-off,'' one witness said.

"He gave it a bloody good crack, that jetski can go 120km/h, and on the day the water was smooth as grease."

Local residents are now claiming salvage rights to the Subaru Outback after Jackson told them he'd left the keys on the top of the back tyre.