Drug user finds Jesus

A MAN who told a woman if he did not get his hands on the drug ice, there would be a murder and Mildura’s Hornsey Park would be “red with blood”, wants to become a drug counsellor when he is released from jail.

Through his defence counsel, Jason Robert McDonald claimed to be a religious man and since being taken into custody had been “praying daily”.

The 42-year-old pleaded guilty to five charges, including attempted armed robbery and theft before the County Court in Mildura this week following a string of drug-fuelled crimes last year.

Prosecutor David O’Doherty said the offences took place on October 17 and began when McDonald stole a woman’s phone after she gave him a lift from the Mildura RSL to Hornsey Park.

While there, the accused approached a second victim who was sitting in her car and during a conversation said he wanted to kill and sexually assault an unknown male, and attempted to lean in and kiss the woman.

McDonald asked the victim for drugs, saying if he did not get ice there would be a murder in Hornsey Park, “it will be red with blood” he said. 

The accused walked up and down the street, arguing with neighbours before asking a third victim if he could stay at his house that night in exchange for money, to which he agreed.

The pair smoked cannabis before McDonald began talking about engaging in sexual activities with young boys.

The conversation made the victim uncomfortable and led to the accused grabbing him by the throat and telling him “I could kill you instantly”.

The victim told him to leave his home, before McDonald later returned and began trying to kick in his front window.

McDonald again walked through Hornsey Park and approached a fourth victim, pulling a knife on him and pointing it into the man’s back before demanding his phone and wallet.

The accused was arrested that evening.

Defence Counsel Jessica Willard said her client had taken 12 Valium pills and travelled to Mildura by bus on the day of the offences with the intention of trying to see his estranged son.

She said McDonald was lucky to be alive given the amount of drugs he had taken after turning to them in the wake of his father’s death as a young boy. 

She asked Judge John Smallwood to impose a combination sentence and community corrections order, which he refused stating for “decades” McDonald had proven he could not comply with any orders.

The judge said the terror the victims would have felt during the offending could not be overlooked and the protection of the community had to be considered.

McDonald was sentenced to three years and two months’ jail with a non-parole period of two years, with six months already served. 

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