News

Deaths sent man spiralling into being a drug mule

A TRAGIC spate of suicides and deaths sent a young Mackay man into a spiral of drug abuse, ending in him ferrying more than half a kilo of ice to clear drug debts.

Shaun Andrew Bridger, 21, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to transporting what Justice Ann Lyons called a "huge quantity of methylamphetamine”, and was sentenced to five years in jail, to be suspended after 12 months.

As his family wept in the gallery, the drug mule told the court from the dock he regretted what he had done "immensely”, and he was glad he was arrested and sent to court as it gave him a chance to 'sort his life out'.

Defence barrister Angus Edwards told Brisbane Supreme Court how last year the trained boilermaker was thrown into emotional chaos when two of his friends suicided and his best friend died in a toilet cubicle from an asthma attack.

He said Bridger tried to offer emotional support to his dead best friend's bereaved girlfriend but in grief she suicided too.

Mr Edwards said Bridger was a vulnerable young man who "fell into to a heap” and "fell into drugs”.

He hid his addiction from his supportive family, accruing a debt with a person police were targeting as part of a drug sting.

In an effort to pay down the debt to this person, whose phone police were tapping, he agreed to fly from Mackay to Newcastle, pick up 720g of drugs, and fly home with them.

Text messages of travel arrangements between the two alerted police to the plans.

Surveillance teams watched Bridger arrive off a flight from Mackay on August 24, stay overnight at a hotel in Brisbane and fly to Newcastle the next morning to pick up the drugs.

He collected the ice, strapped three packages of it to his chest and groin and boarded a plane back to Brisbane.

He was stopped by a drug detection dog at the Brisbane airport.

On searching him, police found nearly three quarters of a kilo of drugs with a purity of up to 73% that had been bought for $85,000 but had a street value of about $200,000.

The court heard he was aware of the gravity of his actions with police intercepting a conversation where he refused to drive the drugs back from Newcastle because if he crashed it would be "$85,000 and his life down the drain”.

The Crown noted he was a "very young man,” with a very limited criminal history who "quite astonishingly” agreed to be a willing courier for "an exceptionally large amount of drugs”.

Mr Edwards said Bridger had made extensive and excellent efforts to rehabilitate. He said Bridger had been cooperative with police, returned 16 negative urine tests for drugs and attended a range of counselling services and his offending was a result of tragic circumstances.

He said his submission was Bridger, who hopes to continue his boilermaking career on release, would never be in front of a court again.

Topics:  drug mule, mackay, shaun andrew bridger


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

MP and Mayor tuck into 'meaty issues'

Noosa MP Glen Elmes and Mayor Tony Wellington.

Noosa MP and Mayor's tasty meeting

Be fabulous with the Queens this long weekend

QUEEN BEE: Melony Brests brings you an evening of razzling, dazzling fabulousness this long weekend at the Noosa Arts Theatre.

Join local icon Melony Brests for a fabulous show this long weekend

Peregian littlies have big hearts for the homeless

HELPERS: C and K Peregian Springs Kindergarten pupils started a donation basket for the homeless. Archie is pictured here with a recreation of Orange Sky Laundry.

Peregian Springs kindy kids start a donation basket for the homeless

Local Partners

Future for Cambodian kids shaped by Noosa gifts

Noosa asked to help poor students by former councillor

Fresh bid for market in Cooroy

The Noosa Farmers markets are a model for the new Cooroy concept.

Cooroy markets pitch

MP and Mayor tuck into 'meaty issues'

Noosa MP Glen Elmes and Mayor Tony Wellington.

Noosa MP and Mayor's tasty meeting

Be fabulous with the Queens this long weekend

QUEEN BEE: Melony Brests brings you an evening of razzling, dazzling fabulousness this long weekend at the Noosa Arts Theatre.

Join local icon Melony Brests for a fabulous show this long weekend

Peregian littlies have big hearts for the homeless

HELPERS: C and K Peregian Springs Kindergarten pupils started a donation basket for the homeless. Archie is pictured here with a recreation of Orange Sky Laundry.

Peregian Springs kindy kids start a donation basket for the homeless

Noosa surf lifesaver dives in to graduate position

TOP JOB: James Ghent has landed a graduate position with Arup.

USC student lands position with top engineering firm.

Capturing our Noosa from high

NEW LOOK: Local photographer Dave Gleeson's work can be seen on a Melbourne tram.

Dave Gleeson's freelance photography has taken off

Homer Simpson thanks Australia during Opera House visit

Homer Simpson visits the Sydney Opera House.

ANIMATION favourite gets attacked by seagulls in viral video.

Channel 9 orders second season of Doctor Doctor

Rodger Corser stars in the TV series Doctor Doctor.

RURAL medical drama finds a loyal following.

MOVIE REVIEW: Storks delivers family fun

A scene from the movie Storks.

ANIMATION can be hit or miss but when it hits, it hits hard.

Nick 'the snake' to call the shots on Survivor jury

Australian Survivor contestant Nick Iadanza.

LATEST evictee is out of the game but will still have a say.

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber split

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber have split after 11 years together.

Why Chris Hemsworth was spotted wearing nail polish

RED CARPET: Do you think Chris Hemsworth is the typical unpolished but well-natured Aussie bloke?

He's now officially the best bloke in Australia

6 top tips for getting approved for a rental property

Follow these top tips to better your chances.

Real estate agent shares what you can do to get approved to rent

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.