GRAND THEFT AUTO: Hayden Anthony Newton pleaded guilty to stealing and damaging an Australian Post vehicle and its cargo.
GRAND THEFT AUTO: Hayden Anthony Newton pleaded guilty to stealing and damaging an Australian Post vehicle and its cargo. Contributed

Rocky man may face jail time for crime spanning across state

AN idling Australia Post contractor's vehicle proved too much of a temptation for a Rockhampton man needing a ride home from South East Queensland.

During a partial sentencing in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court, Hayden Anthony Newton pleaded guilty to two charges of unlawfully using a motor vehicle without consent and wilfully damaging part of equipment attached to the motor vehicle (damage to the dashboard and wiring) and entering a premises (the van) to commit an indictable offence (stealing Australia Post mail property).

Police prosecutor Shane Studdert explained how at 9.05am on June 18 in Trudy Crescent, Cornubia (near Logan), Newton and an accomplice jumped into the idling vehicle while the driver was making a delivery and headed north towards Rockhampton.

The thieves helped themselves to the Australia Post employee's wallet, using it to pay for fuel, and also raided the on-board packages, keeping what they wanted and tossing the remainder on the roadside in Morayfield (North Brisbane) along with the driver's phone.

The vehicle was found the next day in Bush Crescent, Parkhurst with forensic officers conducting an examination before ordering a tow truck. However, before the vehicle could be collected, it was stolen again by Newton and his co-accused before damaging and dumping it in North Rockhampton.

During a police interview, Newton denied all knowledge and changed his cover story.

Police executed a search warrant at a Rockonia Rd address, finding remains of the burnt vehicle manual in the fireplace and stolen goods.

In a subsequent interview, Newton admitted he lied and confessed to the crime, expressing his remorse.

Magistrate Cameron Press said due to the seriousness of the crimes Newman was staring down the barrel of a term of imprisonment.

"This is a serious case of an unlawful use of a motor vehicle, and the seriousness is accentuated by the fact that it continues day after day," Mr Press said.

Mr Press sought to know from the prosecutor the total value for the damage incurred to the vehicle and the value of the stolen items which needed to be factored into sentencing, forcing him to delay his decision until he had more information.

Sentencing was adjourned until August 1.