Dr William Pridgeon, centre, outside Brisbane Magistrates Court.
Dr William Pridgeon, centre, outside Brisbane Magistrates Court. Annette Dew

YEAR IN REVIEW: Biggest court dramas of 2018

'We didn't get to say goodbye to our beautiful son'

A FATEFUL decision to go for a drive out of boredom ended with one life lost, two others suffering serious injuries.

SORELY MISSED: Thomas Austin will be remembered fondly by family and friends.
SORELY MISSED: Thomas Austin will be remembered fondly by family and friends. Facebook

The driver behind the wheel of the fatal crash had pleaded guilty to a number of driving offences and in September he was sentenced in Grafton District Court.

On the night of August 22, 2017, Mitchell Cosgrove, 19, didn't think twice about grabbing the car keys to his mother's Holden Astra and drive, despite spending most of the afternoon and evening drinking with friend Thomas Austin, a court was told.

In his judgment, Acting Judge C O'Connor noted Cosgrove's considerable regret and remorse and the psychological damage the crash had caused, but said he had a high moral culpability in the cause of the collision by driving at high speed while intoxicated.

Cosgrove was sentenced to a jail term of four years and three months, with a non-parole period of two years and three months, and was disqualified from driving for three years. He will be eligible for release in November, 2020.

Edwards to face trial for murder

A TRIAL date was set for the man accused of murdering missing Grafton school teacher Sharon Edwards, her estranged husband John Wallace Edwards, after he entered a plea of not guilty in Sydney Supreme Court in December last year.

 

Press conference at the Grafton Police Station about Sharon Edwards being missing, which has now become murder. Three sons are Josh [who spoke], Zac and Eli with their Dad John Edwards April 1, 2015
Press conference at the Grafton Police Station about Sharon Edwards being missing, which has now become murder. Three sons are Josh [who spoke], Zac and Eli with their Dad John Edwards April 1, 2015 Leigh Jensen

In October, Mr Edwards, 62, appeared in Grafton Local Court, where five witnesses were called to give testimony and be cross-examined by his defence barrister Peter O'Connor.

Mr Edwards' next court date is in February.

Alleged child-stealing ringleaders face court

TWO men alleged to be members of a criminal syndicate involved in some of Australia's longest-running child stealing cases assisting the parental abduction of children across the country were arrested and charged by the Australian Federal Police in Grafton in October last year.

Dr William Russell Massingham Pridgeon, 64, and Patrick Finbar McGarry O'Dea, 63, both appeared in Grafton Local Court before they were extradited to Queensland.

Dr Pridgeon and Mr O'Dea are accused of running an elaborate child-snatching ring that assisted mothers take children from their fathers and claimed the men were sexually abusing the children. Police state those allegations were baseless.

After appearing in Brisbane Magistrates Court the pair were released on bail on the condition they wear a GPS trackers.

The matter will return to court in April this year.

Dr Russell Pridgeon and Mr Patrick O'Dea were extradited from Grafton Police Station to Queensland on Friday, 19th October, 2018.
Dr Russell Pridgeon and Mr Patrick O'Dea were extradited from Grafton Police Station to Queensland on Friday, 19th October, 2018. Frank Redward

Driver behind drug-fuelled pursuits jailed

GRIEF-stricken after seeing his dying father for the final time and fuelled on a cocktail of methamphetamine and cocaine, Reece Gregory Clark just wanted to get away from his problems.

However, after failing to pay at a Grafton petrol station while he was on his way to Queensland, he led police on a series of high-speed pursuits and rammed through police blockades until he was finally captured.

Clark, 25, was sentenced in Grafton Local Court this week after pleading guilty to 14 charges, which included police pursuit, operating a vehicle to intimidate/harass, driving recklessly/furiously in a dangerous manner and resisting arrest.

Magistrate Jeff Linden said Clark's conduct was "absolutely outrageous" and that he placed himself, the police and the public at grave risk during the pursuit.

Clark was sentenced to 15 months' jail with a non-parole period of six months and disqualified from driving for two years.

"These c---s need to be taught a lesson"

A SOUTH Grafton man will spend a maximum seven years behind bars for firing a rifle at a Grafton home in 2016 in a targeted revenge attack.

 

Police tape marks where a bullet has believed to have struck a wall of a house in Through St, South Grafton.
Police tape marks where a bullet has believed to have struck a wall of a house in Through St, South Grafton. Tim Howard

 

Jason Michael Stewart, 26, was found guilty at a jury trial in Grafton District Court in August of firing at a dwelling house with disregard for safety over a shooting in the early hours of October 4, 2016.

Stewart, disguised with material wrapped around his head, was found to have discharged a rifle with a telescopic sight at the South Grafton residence, with the bullet striking a wall near a doorway.

Several people were nearby when the shooting occurred, including a three-year-old girl, who was inside the house at the time it was fired on.

 

Man convicted of sex acts with horse

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

A GRAFTON man claimed a wink from a horse was an indication for consent to two sex acts, Grafton Local Court heard in January last year.

Daniel Raymond Webb-Jackson, 31, pleaded not guilty to committing an act of cruelty to an animal when he broke into stables on Turf St on January 22.

Webb-Jackson was found crouching in the corner of a fourth open stable, where he was arrested after a short scuffle with police and taken to Grafton Police Station.

During police interviews he admitted to committing two sexual acts with a horse but claimed it had given consent.

Webb-Jackson was jailed for 10 months with a non-parole period of four months. He was also fined $700.

Knife wielder escapes jail with rare sentence option

A 45-YEAR-old Grafton woman who threatened two people and police with a knife has been released into the community without reporting conditions until May next year.

Local court magistrate Roger Prowse chose to use Section 11 of the Criminal Sentencing Act to deal with Inger Malcolm in Grafton Local Court on Monday.

Police draw their weapons on a knife-wielding woman in Prince St Grafton in May, 2018.
Police draw their weapons on a knife-wielding woman in Prince St Grafton in May, 2018.

Malcolm was facing charges of being armed with intent to commit an indictable offence, wield a knife in a public place, assault occasioning bodily harm and common assault.

$500,000 fraud used to pay Asian girlfriends

FOR almost five years, Glenn Adams sought to enjoy the affection and adulation of a series of Filipino and Thai women by financially helping them to improve their lives.

What they didn't know was that Adams defrauded more than $500,000 from his employer Harwood Marine to pay for his lifestyle of helping the women with whom he had relationships.

Adams, 63, pleaded guilty to dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception by 183 bogus transactions, which totalled $548,074 from January 1, 2012 until he was caught in November, 2016.

Adams was sentenced to three years behind bars, with a non-parole period of one year, nine months.

He will be eligible for release in May 2020.