A court has heard jail is the best place for a criminal who tried to blackmail his ex-girlfriend’s mother after making up a story that they had been held for ransom by drug dealers.
“I think he’s best served if he’s in prison because every time he’s not in prison, he goes and does bad things,” ACT Supreme Court Justice Michael Elkaim said when sentencing 25-year-old Samuel John Carrasco.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of blackmail that was instigated when he had been sitting in his ex-girlfriend’s car at about 11:00 pm on 16 May 2021 and began texting her mother using her phone.
“I need money, I’m in trouble, Sam borrowed money of [sic] some serious people and they are not going to let me go because I was with him when he got it I can’t go they won’t let me call you,” the first of the nine texts said.
The next said, “Your daughters [sic] drug f-ked boyfriend owes me 5 thousand … they both aren’t leaving until we sort this matter out it would be wise to leave the police out of it”.
The last message from him said, “If you don’t want to come to an arrangement I’m happy to waterbomb the phone and start hitting toes with the hammer I’m happy to do it either way …”
Court documents say the ex-girlfriend also sent some texts, one of which read, “Mummy please I’m scared”.
The mother contacted police who found the pair later that night parked on the side of Oaks Flat Road and on Wednesday (25 May), she told the court that had been “one of the worst nights of my life”.
“It felt like forever” for police to find her daughter, during which she went through a range of emotions, including “absolute terror” and despair, and she started to think she might not be found.
“Was I even going to see my daughter again?” she said.
“I just don’t understand how you could hurt someone in such a cruel way.”
The court heard the amount Carrasco tried to obtain was $5000, with Justice Elkaim remarking, “$5000 to some people is meaningless, $5000 to other people is a tremendous amount of money”.
Carrasco’s Legal Aid lawyer Edward Chen said it was never a real possibility that Carrasco or the ex would be harmed, her mother “didn’t lose a single cent” and his client had been trying to lower the original amount sought.
“He was bargaining, so what?” Justice Elkaim asked, saying that happened because he wasn’t getting anywhere with the original amount.
Crown Prosecutor Anthony Williamson said Carrasco hadn’t served any time behind bars for this offence.
He was a sentenced prisoner for other matters and while he had an upcoming parole hearing, Mr Williamson said “it’s not looking good for him at the moment” because he hadn’t done any rehabilitation program while in the Alexander Maconochie Centre.
Justice Elkaim said while the father-of-two was still a young man, that hadn’t stopped him from getting a substantial criminal record, and he has been assessed as being at a high risk of general reoffending.
Carrasco was sentenced to nine months’ jail from March to December 2022, with a five month non-parole period that means he is eligible to be released in August.