Gold Coast escort jailed for trafficking

By Sarah Motherwell

A Gold Coast prostitute who spent three months on the run after she fled a police car has been jailed for trafficking drugs to pay her mortgage.

Renee Elizabeth Tarbuck, 34, who pleaded guilty in Brisbane's Supreme Court on Thursday to trafficking methamphetamine and other dangerous drugs, fed her own addiction and paid off her debt by running a "well-organised" dealing business between 2012-13.

Tarbuck was taken into custody last year on trafficking charges but escaped from a police vehicle and took off in her own car.

She dodged authorities for three months before being caught.

Ten months later, she wept in the dock of Brisbane's Supreme Court as it heard she was undeterred by a police search of her home in February 2013 and often boasted about the quality of her products to a client.

Prosecutor Ron Swannick said Tarbuck ran an efficient street-level organisation - taking credit, offering discounts to favoured clients and a "try before you buy" policy.

She had suffered a "toxic early life" but drug trafficking was "not an acceptable consequence of those misfortunes", he said.

Defence lawyer Karl Brandon told the court Tarbuck had been tempted to sell drugs to pay off her mortgage after a debilitating illness left her unable to work for two years.

The court heard Tarbuck feared she had been poisoned by anthrax - a claim that could not be substantiated - as her hair fell out, skin broke into blisters and organs shut down.

Mr Brandon said Tarbuck did not make a lot of money from her trafficking and prior to her arrest she had been living out of her van as the bank foreclosed on her home.

In sentencing, Justice Glenn Martin noted events in her early life had had a "traumatising effect" but said her current situation afforded an opportunity to become a useful member of society.

"Don't mess it up," he said.

Tarbuck was sentenced to four years jail and will be released on parole in December 2016.