Escapee’s escapades: Prisoner’s two week crime spree

A MODEL prisoner's motivation for unlawful escape from custody while on work detail at the Rockhampton Showgrounds 18-months ago was revealed today.

Levi James Brown, 26, was four-months away from parole eligibility while serving his sentence in the low security farm when he made a split second decision to abscond with a fellow prisoner from work detail at the showgrounds on June 4, 2018, about 11.45am.

Police are looking for prisoners who have escaped from the Rocky Showgrounds today.
Police are looking for prisoners who have escaped from the Rocky Showgrounds today. Zhanae Conway-Dodd


When he was arrested two weeks later, he told police he had been on a methamphetamine bender for four days - not eating and not sleeping.

Brown pleaded guilty in Rockhampton District Court today to 17 counts including seven fraud, one burglary and stealing, five of unlawful use of a motor vehicle and three of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

The two week crime spree involved stealing five cars, seven fuel drive offs, breaking into a Paget business and stealing a set of keys and taking a vehicle, ramming two police cars, driving on the wrong side of the road to avoid police and stingers which had been deployed, and attempting to ram a police car into a concrete divider.



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Defence barrister Matthew Heelan said Brown, who was born in Gayndah, had spent six years in prison during the past seven years, with his 24th birthday the only spent outside jail during that time.

His criminal record spans 13 pages with 108 offences since his first entry at age 18 with offending including four prior dangerous operation of motor vehicle convictions as well as property and fraud convictions.

Mr Heelan said Brown was three months into a sentence where he would be eligible for parole in four months time when he absconded from the showgrounds with Nelson Jack Kepa.

Dog Squad Search: Dog squads are searching for two prisoners who escaped from a working gang at the Rocky Showgrounds today.
Dog Squad Search: Dog squads are searching for two prisoners who escaped from a working gang at the Rocky Showgrounds today.

He said Brown had found out his mother - his sole parent carer growing up - had been hospitalised after a heart attack and was suffering from anxiety.

"His mother is still alive," Mr Heelan said.

"She is very sick. She is one of his motivations to get out of prison."

Mr Heelan said Brown's father left him and his mother when he was a baby, taking his three older brothers.

"He had a very poor childhood where stealing bread and milk was the norm," he said.

"He described chasing around the radio truck for free samples as something that he did to get by."

Mr Heelan said Brown finished year 10 and entered the workforce, but when his relationship with a girlfriend broke down, he starting hanging around a bad crowd and started using drugs.

He said Brown, at a glance of his criminal record, may appear a "lost cause" but there was hope as every time Brown wasn't in prison, he was cooperative with authorities and returned negative drug tests.

The delay in the sentencing occurred due to an administrative error after Brown entered pleas of guilty in Mackay Magistrates Court in 2018 and his file spent seven months in limbo after it was decided it had to be dealt with in the district court.

Judge Michael Burnett said Brown's record showed he had no regard for the road rules.

He pointed to one of the sightings by police during his two-week spree where Brown conducted an illegal U-turn and drove directly at police, ramming the car even as an officer attempted to reverse it out of the way.

"At one point you were seen by an off-duty police officer who told you to give yourself up," Judge Burnett said.

"He attempted to take a photograph of you."

Brown drove at the officer who also attempted to reverse out of the way.

Brown followed the officer attempting to get away and attempted to ram the officer's car into a concrete divider.

Judge Burnett ordered Brown to two years and six months prison with parole eligibility on March 19, 2020 and disqualified him from holding a drivers licence.