Drug addict jailed for 'rare' crime spree

·2-min read

Trying to maintain a $1000-a-week drug habit, Anthony Jay Gatley-Dunne launched a crime spree on a scale rarely seen, committing almost 200 offences - mostly while on bail.

Over a 15-month period from September 2019, he broke into 142 businesses and six homes over 77 Brisbane suburbs in a bid to feed his methamphetamine addiction.

At times he used a crow bar to enter after cutting electricity or diverting CCTV cameras, causing more than $100,000 in property damage, mostly to businesses battling through COVID-19 lockdown.

The 24-year-old committed a total of 180 offences until October 2020, a period in which he was on bail "at least" five times.

And when he was released from custody in December 2020 on a drug rehabilitation order, Gatley-Dunne began trafficking meth days later.

"It is rare ... this scale (of offences) to be seen by the courts," crown prosecutor Jane Shaw told the Supreme Court in Brisbane.

"He is unable to recall (many offences) because of his drug use and also the sheer volume of the offending."

He committed 133 offences up to February 2020, targeting houses and businesses to rob in clusters before selling their wares at pawnbrokers.

"Typically ... he was targeting a single area over a short period, going shop to shop or house to house," Ms Shaw said.

In just one day in December 2019, Gatley-Dunne committed 15 offences at seven properties in Narangba, in Brisbane's north.

After spending almost seven months in custody, Gatley-Dunne resumed his spree, with another 47 offences from August-October 2020.

He spent another two months in custody before being released on a drug rehabilitation order in December 2020, only to begin selling drugs within four days.

He sold mostly meth for two weeks before his arrest in January 2021.

Overall he committed 152 offences at businesses, and nine at homes, causing more than $104,000 property damage or losses.

"That is a conservative figure," Ms Shaw said of the damage bill.

"Businesses were suffering because of COVID and were in considerable difficulty ... so it created incredible stress."

Gatley-Dunne turned to drugs after his mental health "spiralled out of control" over a custody dispute and the stress of legal fees following a relationship breakdown, the court was told.

He was sentenced to eight years in jail but is eligible for parole from Friday, taking into account the 754 days he spent in custody.

"You have done some terrible things in the past but that does not make you a terrible person - you have an opportunity to make something of your life," Justice Kerri Mellifont said.

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