Beau Burke at Zodiac Nightclub.
Beau Burke at Zodiac Nightclub.

’I want you’: Man’s chilling words to kidnapping target

BEAU Thomas Andrew Burke appeared to cringe and shake his head when hearing the details of what he did to a young woman in the dead of the night, early last year.

Beau Thomas Andrew Burke, 22
Beau Thomas Andrew Burke, 22

The gallery of the Rockhampton District Court was fuller than usual as the family, and victim of Burke, 22, watched on.

Burke appeared via video link from the Capricornia Correctional centre, to be sentenced for more than 30 charges to which he pleaded guilty.

The worst were charges for attempted kidnapping and assaulting police officers as a result of what can only be described as a terrifying, drug-fuelled rampage in the late hours of May 12, and the early hours of May 13.

The court heard that after Burke injected three-points of methamphetamine into his arm, he drove dangerously around Rockhampton's northern suburbs, driving a ute he stole from his neighbour at a policeman and his dog before committing a horrifying attempted kidnapping.

On the evening of May 12, Burke was offered a needle containing meth which he injected.

This led the young man to steal his neighbours Toyota HiLux later that evening.

He was spotted driving erratically by police who were conducting dog training in the carpark at the Red Hill shopping complex.

He drove at high speed past numerous police officers. He returned later that night, revved his engine, and drove towards Sergeant Bates and Police Dog Griffin.

He then made his way to the Park Avenue Hotel where an unsuspecting 24-year-old woman (who was in court) was waiting for her partner to finish work.

Burke approached the young woman asking her for directions before eventually lunging at her, grabbed her around her neck and hair and trying to drag her to his car.

She struggled and managed to sound his horn as he attempted to gag her with a cloth and shove her in the car, attracting the attention of someone in the hotel, but not before she was struck in the head so hard she could taste blood.

The court heard she asked the offender what he wanted to which he responded, "I want you".

Someone from the hotel and eventually her partner came to her assistance while Burke took off.

What ensued was a chase across town and Burke hit speeds in excess of 120kmh in a 60kmh zone, even after one tyre was punctured by police spikes.

He made it as far as Tungamull (roughly 30km from the Park Avenue Hotel) before he crashed.

When police arrived at the scene, Burke was no longer in the vehicle and PD Griffin was tasked to seek him out, which he did.

Burke kicked PD Griffin and Sgt Bates before Sgt Bates gave the command to 'bite' and Burke was eventually subdued.

Police dog Griffin tracked down an Beau Burke after he crashed his car in Tungamull. Photo Contributed
Police dog Griffin tracked down an Beau Burke after he crashed his car in Tungamull. Photo Contributed

A subsequent drug test returned positive for meth.

Burke's defence made submission that Burke was remorseful for his actions and took responsibility for the trauma caused to the attempted kidnapping victim.

The defence also told the court the persons who gave Burke the drugs told him to find a woman from whom a drug debt was owed, and "give her a scare" - to which he obliged.

While not actually the intended target, it was accepted the victim was "in the wrong place at the wrong time".

Among the Crown Prosecutor's submissions was a victim impact statement from the victim which detailed profound effect the incident had on her livelihood, including that she is now hypervigilant and no longer feels safe around men she does not know.

Judge Michael Burnett aimed to balance the gravity of the offences stacked against Burke and the fact he was young, from a good home, and had a good work history.

Judge Burnett ultimately stated that Burke, who was going to move in with his parents and recommence work, was suited to community-based rehabilitation, and considered the defences claims of remorse to be genuine.

"You are allowing yourself to fall back in with your drug group and you require an element of specific deterrence to remind you, you cannot engage in these sorts of behaviours," he told the young offender.

Burke had spent almost 13 months in presentence custody which Judge Burnett hoped was "sufficiently enlightening" and he was ultimately sentenced to five years prison with immediate parole.

"If you commit any offence … something as minor as a driving offence, you will breach parole and you will be taken straight back to prison," Judge Burnett said.

Burke was also sentenced on an array of summary charges committed before the primary charges including drug posession, going armed with the intent to cause harm, stealing in the form of petrol drive-offs, driving offences and credit card fraud, all of which were to be served concurrently with the head sentence.