‘Every parent’s worst nightmare’: Teen grabbed on street
TWO good Samaritans came to the aid of a teenage boy as he desperately battled to free himself from the grasp of a would-be kidnapper.
In a disturbing set of facts detailed at Ipswich District Court this week, Crown prosecutor Cameron Wilkins said the boy's attacker, father-of-two Lucas James Watson, struck in broad daylight on a busy road.
Watson, 35, from Bellbird Park, pleaded guilty to attempting to kidnap the 16-year-old boy at Augustine Heights at 9am on Thursday, November 14, 2019; contravening a police order to access information stored electronically on his mobile phone on November 21; and possession of drug utensils.
Mr Wilkins said Watson was driving along Augusta Parkway when he pulled over near the boy and began to rummage through the rear seat.
When the traffic lights changed to green Watson drove along the road, passing the boy before he again pulled over.
The court heard Watson suddenly ran up from behind the victim and grabbed him by the neck, saying he had a gun in his pocket.
Mr Wilkins said Watson held a kitchen knife to the boy's stomach, then against his neck as the victim resisted.
"Two good Samaritans pulled over and told him to leave the child alone," Mr Wilkins said.
The boy suffered small cuts to his arm in the incident.
Mr Wilkins said police eventually tracked the vehicle to a woman, who said she had loaned it to Watson.
A jumper belonging to the victim was found in the car.
When police caught up with him, Watson then refused to provide access to his mobile phone data.
The court heard Watson had since spent 287 days held in jail and this should be taken into account in sentencing.
In Queensland the maximum penalty for attempted kidnapping is 3 ½ years jail.
Defence barrister Justin Thomas said that while serious, the crime was not at the level where the maximum penalty should be imposed.
"There is no rationale for what motivated his conduct. He can't explain why," Mr Thomas said.
"He says he was heavily under the influence of methylamphetamine.
"The circumstances don't provide any information in whether he had an interest in this child, or a delusional mindset at the time to cause him to act this way."
Watson read a letter of apology to the court stating: " I write this to express my feelings regarding my criminal behaviour. And the impact on my family. I hope it doesn't seem like empty words on a page. I don't expect to be forgiven for my actions. My intent was never to harm anyone but I did. All I can do is express how sorry I am."
Judge Horneman-Wren said the maximum jail term at 3 ½ years was "quite low", and he was of the view that his conduct did fall into the worst category.
"The circumstances are truly frightening and utterly disturbing," he said.
"It was in broad daylight on a busy road and 150m from a police station.
"It came to an end when people in a car saw what was happening and that you were armed and intervened.
"One can only wonder at your purpose."
"This was every parent, every child's worst nightmare."
Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren said Watson would no longer be able to involve himself with Boy Scouts, sporting groups, or work with children.
Taking into account the 9 ½ months already served in jail, Judge Horneman-Wren sentenced him to three years jail, with supervised parole from November 20.