A meth-addicted armed robber who went on a wild crime spree — shooting at innocent drivers and terrorising home owners — could walk free from jail in three years time.
Ben Andrew Goring, 26, was arrested in dramatic fashion in August 2016, when he tried to crash his way through a police barrier set up by officers during a manhunt on the Gold Coast.
On Wednesday, Goring pleaded guilty to 45 charges, which included at least six instances of firing at innocent people, kidnapping a man at gunpoint, and driving on the wrong side of the road while trying to escape police.
The District Court in Brisbane heard Goring’s offending began when he broke into a home and stole several guns, which were later used during the crime spree.
Police arrested Ben Andrew Goring when he tried to crash his way through a police barrier. (ABC News)
Over several days he shot at people at random, with defence lawyer Jakub Lodziak telling the court Goring was under the influence of ice.
“He instructs he had not had a minute’s sleep in the week prior to his arrest. He was so affected by the drug that he became increasingly paranoid and delusional,” he said.
“He was displaced, homeless and unemployed and heavily addicted to a very dangerous drug, methamphetamine.”
Goring fired at a car driven by a mother with her 13-year-old daughter as a passenger.
While he was behind the wheel he also shot out the tyres of another man’s car on the Pacific Motorway, prosecutor Brendan White said.
The court heard Goring also shot at a man who noticed him stealing a drink from a service station, and at a person who saw him changing a stolen numberplate in a carpark.
He was also responsible for robbing a 69-year-old woman in her home at gunpoint, and stealing vehicles.
He then went to extreme measures to avoid police, driving on the wrong side of the road while being pursued by squad cars and a helicopter.
After kidnapping a man and forcing him to drive an escape vehicle, police managed to stop the pair at a road block at the Numinbah Valley.
Justice Douglas McGill described Goring’s behaviour as “highly irresponsible”, and said his victims had been put through a “terrifying experience”.
He said it was fortunate nobody had been seriously injured by Goring’s actions.
“At least six of the people who you shot at suffered significant adverse lasting psychological damage,” he said.
Justice McGill jailed Goring for 15 years, but said he would be eligible for parole after serving a third of his sentence.
The 26-year-old’s early guilty plea, “good prospects” of rehabilitation and young age were taken into account.
With time already served in custody, Goring could be released as early as August 27, 2021.