His barrister told the court his client torched the car to get rid of his fingerprints.
His barrister told the court his client torched the car to get rid of his fingerprints.

'Late bloomer' crim sentenced to jail

A 32-YEAR-OLD man whose life of crime only began three years ago after becoming involved in drug use has been jailed after admitting to torching a stolen car he crashed.

Deon Mark Coleman had lived a law-abiding life until he split with his then partner in 2015 and had trouble seeing his child, prompting him to turn to methylamphetamine use and offending, his barrister Frank Martin told Toowoomba District Court.

However, his latest offending was by far his most serious, the court heard.

Crown prosecutor Alysha Ballantyne told the court Coleman had been asked by a sex worker friend of his on September 7, last year, to pick her up after a job at a mechanic's workshop from which she told him to take whatever he wanted "for his trouble".

Coleman and a male associate arrived in a van into which was loaded about $25,000 in tools and equipment from the shed.

While the woman drove away in the van, Coleman and his associate had driven away in cars that had been left at the workshop by clients of the mechanic, Ms Ballantyne said.

The woman had crashed the van in Harlaxton and was arrested with most of the stolen property recovered.

Coleman had also crashed into a fence the Nissan Skyline he had taken, after which he took off his clothes which he threw into the car and then set it alight, the court heard.

The car, uninsured and valued at between $3000 and $5000, was destroyed, Ms Ballantyne said.

In his underwear, Coleman had then been given a lift by his mate in the other stolen vehicle which was recovered in Toowoomba a couple of weeks later, she said.

Coleman had spent 245 days in pre-sentence custody before appearing in court to plead guilty to burglary, three counts of unlawful use of motor vehicles, stealing, receiving and possessing tainted property, and arson of a motor vehicle.

"He burnt the car to get rid of his fingerprints," Mr Martin told the court of his client's offending.

Since being in jail, his client had done a number of courses to improve himself and had for the past six months been working in the prison laundry, Mr Martin said.

The woman had been sentenced by another court to 12 months in jail after pleading guilty to her role in the offences, the court heard.

Declaring 245 days pre-sentence custody as time already served under the sentence, Judge Deborah Richards sentenced Coleman to 34 months in jail but ordered he be eligible to apply for release on parole as of November 4.