Magistrate defers sentence following crime spree

By Myles Peterson

A man reappeared for sentencing before Shepparton Magistrates’ Court yesterday after pleading guilty to multiple charges resulting from a four-day crime spree in February.

Luke Fitzmaurice, 20, last week pleaded guilty to one count of stealing a motor vehicle using threat of force and another of possessing a firearm.

Further charges included burglary, cannabis possession, multiple counts of unlicensed and dangerous driving, and several counts of stealing or possessing a stolen motor vehicle.

Fitzmaurice’s defence counsel David Hewitt argued justice would be better served if the defendant was dealt with as a juvenile.

‘‘Prisons are basically hell’s kitchens and young people shouldn’t be put anywhere near them,’’ Mr Hewitt told the court.

Magistrate Stella Stuthridge said she was concerned Fitzmaurice’s offending was of a serious nature.

‘‘His offending has escalated to carjacking and acquiring firearms,’’ she said.

Ms Stuthridge remanded Fitzmaurice in custody for a pre-sentence report and psychological evaluation.

He will return to court in June for sentencing.

In February, police claimed Fitzmaurice was driving at 100km/h in a 60km/h zone on Shepparton’s Numurkah Rd at night without headlights on.

The defendant was also accused of committing a burglary in Nathalia on February 13, and later of deceptively obtaining goods from the Nathalia IGA on the same day.

Police claimed the following day, Fitzmaurice got a motor vehicle and sought ‘‘to put another person or anyone else in fear of force’’, and failed to comply with a police order to stop a motor vehicle.

The following Saturday in Echuca, police claimed Fitzmaurice drove a stolen grey Holden Commodore utility through a highly populated area, endangering other vehicles and pedestrians.

It was also claimed that while in Echuca, Fitzmaurice was in possession of a .22 calibre rifle, believed to be stolen.