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Jail time for 'love' crimes

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A 34-YEAR-old man sentenced to 15 months jail said he committed an eight-day spree of crimes that ended in a failed carjacking on the Pacific Hwy at Mororo "for love".

Christopher John Elkerton, of Ferny Grove in Queensland, appeared in Grafton Local Court on Monday facing a string of charges following a week-long crime spree in company with his girlfriend Tamyka Blatch, 23, and a 15-year-old boy.

The spree began in Ballina on March 31, continued in Evans Head, South Grafton and Coffs Harbour on April 2, and ended with their arrest at Mororo late on Friday.

>> RELATED STORY: Police pursuit end of the road for crime spree

Elkerton pleaded guilty to five charges including larceny, shoplifting, and dishonesty for the offences on March 31 and April 2.

He also pleaded guilty to being involved in a police pursuit, driving in manner dangerous and driving without a licence for Friday's police pursuit.

His solicitor, Greg Coombes, said his client committed the crimes he was charged with because he loved Blatch and she encouraged him.

Police said they spotted the trio's vehicle, a black Toyota RAV4, which they knew had been involved in the crimes, parked on the shoulder of the highway near Clarenza.

Police followed the vehicle before attempting to pull it over near Maclean.

Instead Elkerton accelerated away, reaching a speed of 127kmh driving on the wrong side of the highway heading north.

After 30 seconds Elkerton veered back onto the northbound lane before crossing the Mororo Bridge.

Police deployed road spikes on the exit from the Mororo Bridge, which deflated a front tyre.

Despite this, Elkerton continued driving at high speed, overtaking at least two vehicles.

Police said the vehicle left a trail of debris along the highway, indicating it was a matter of time before the vehicle would stop.

Police saw the vehicle swerve into the path of a southbound white van, forcing it to stop.

Elkerton left the RAV4 and approached the van carrying a "package" in his hand.

Police converged on the scene and Elkerton ran across a flood drain into a field, pursued by police.

Trapped against a fence, he turned to face his pursuers and fought furiously before he was wrestled to the ground and handcuffed.

His alleged accomplice Blatch appeared separately, yesterday. She pleaded guilty to three charges of larceny, shoplifting and dishonesty.

Her case was adjourned until May 2 to hear a more serious change of using a weapon in company.

Magistrate Jeff Linden described the crimes as brazen and Elkerton's criminal history as lamentable.

He sentenced him to 15 months jail with nine months non-parole for the stealing offences and six months and three months for the driving matters.

The 15-year-old boy with the couple was released without charge.

Topics:  crime spree grafton court jail mororo pacific highway police pursuit road spikes


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