Two individuals are facing charges accused over a car theft in central Queensland that was allegedly stolen with a 4-month baby girl inside.
Cobraball resident Monique Ericka Hudson, 24, was charged with offences including the abduction of a child, dangerous vehicle operation, and two counts of driving without a license.
The pair were denied police bail and did not appear for their mention in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court.
Acting Inspector Luke Peachey detailed the police allegations and stated that the mother was collecting groceries at a Yeppoon shopping Centre via click-and-collect service when another woman got into the driver’s seat of her car and drove away.
Disturbing footage captured on CCTV revealed the instant when the mother was loading groceries into the trunk of her Nissan Patrol at Yeppoon Shopping Centre, at which point an unknown woman got into the driver’s seat and rapidly drove away with the mother’s child.
Acting Inspector Peachey detailed the charges brought against the suspects and mentioned that the mother was highly distressed and “very shaken up” by the incident.
According to police allegations, after realizing that the baby was in the back seat, the woman promptly returned to the car park and requested that the mother take the four-month-old out before driving off again.
On the way back out of the parking lot the driver with the stolen vehicle crashed into two bystanders a 16-year-old male and a 39-year-old woman, who was taken to Yeppoon Hospital.
Fortunately, the child did not sustain any injuries however individuals who intervened in an attempt to save the 4-month-old baby were struck by the vehicle and received leg injuries, cracked ribs, and a stomach tear.
Phoebe Halson, a witness who was injured during the incident, reported that the young mother was shouting, “That’s my baby! My baby is in that car!”
“She was absolutely hysterical, we could barely get any words out of her,” Halson said.
Motor theft charges NSW
The most significant piece of legislation is the Crimes Act 1900, which sets out the criminal offences related to motor vehicle theft.
Under section 154A of the Crimes Act, any person who;
- without having the consent of the owner or person in lawful possession of a conveyance, takes and drives it, or takes it for the purpose of driving it, secreting it, or
- obtaining a reward for its restoration or pretended restoration, or for any other fraudulent purpose, or knowing that any conveyance has been taken without such consent, drives it or allows himself or herself to be carried in or on it,
Shall be guilty of this offence and face the maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
A conveyance can mean any of the following: any cart, wagon, cab carriage, motor car, caravan, trailer, motor lorry, tractor, earth moving equipment, omnibus, motor or other bicycle, tank or another military vehicle, or any ship, or vessel, used or intended for navigation, and drive shall be construed accordingly.
Carjacking, also known as vehicle hijacking, is a serious and violent crime that involves the theft of a vehicle by force or threat of force that is a criminal offence in NSW.
Under section 154C(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) a person guilty of car-jacking ‘in circumstances of aggravation’ will face a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment.
These circumstances of aggravation include the following;
(a) the alleged offender is in the company of another person or persons,
(b) the alleged offender is armed with an offensive weapon or instrument,
(c) the alleged offender intentionally or recklessly inflicts actual bodily harm on any person.
Prevalence of motor vehicle theft
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) An estimated 0.6% of households (55,400) had a motor vehicle stolen in 2022-2023, which was similar to the rate in 2020-21 (0.5%).
Common locations where motor vehicles are stolen include the person’s or another person’s home, which accounts for 62% or 34,100 incidents.
The street or other open land is also a common location for car theft, accounting for 30% or 16,500 incidents.
Approximately 77% of car thefts occur for temporary reasons unrelated to the car’s value, such as joyriding, using it as a temporary mode of transportation, or as a tool in the commission of a different crime.
Whilst carjacking appears to represent a minor percentage of motor vehicle theft, it is a very serious crime that can have severe consequences for victims.
By Alyssa Maschmedt.