4 November 2021

Cop 'mowed down' in Nimmitabel hit and run may never work again; trio arrested in Canberra

| Albert McKnight
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A burnt-out Audi was tied to the hit and run of a policeman in Nimmitabel. Photo: NSW Police.

Three people have been arrested in Canberra over a hit and run at Nimmitabel that left a police officer so badly injured he may never work again.

NSW Police had been pursuing a stolen car on the Monaro Highway on 30 August 2021 before its driver got out and entered an Audi sedan, which then hit the policeman.

ACT Policing arrested three people in Yarralumla earlier today (21 October) over the incident: 30-year-old Stephen John McCracken from Coombs, 26-year-old Jaiden Dale Gardner from Yarralumla and 43-year-old Rebecca Keys from O’Malley.

They appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court this afternoon, where detectives from NSW Police sought their extradition.

Court documents show that about 8 pm on 30 August, police learned a Toyota Land Cruiser ute had been stolen from Nimmitabel and was seen driving towards Cooma at high speeds along with a two-door sports car.

READ ALSO Watch the CCTV vision released by police in hit and run investigation

Two senior constables saw the ute, gave chase in their vehicle and tried to get it to stop, but it kept on going until near Tip Road when it stopped in the middle of the Monaro Highway.

Gardner is accused of jumping out of the ute, running towards a white Audi A5 that was driving towards him and, when it got close, he “furiously” banged on its window, the documents say.

The constables parked in front of the ute, then one got out to chase Gardner on foot.

Gardner allegedly got into the Audi, driven, police allege, by McCracken and with Ms Keys allegedly in the passenger seat.

As the constable stood on the road to attempt to stop them getting away, the Audi allegedly accelerated towards then crashed into him.

He was carried about 50 metres along the highway on the car’s bonnet before he was flung to the road and hit his head.

The Audi didn’t stop and allegedly drove at high speed towards Cooma. Police later learned the car had been stolen earlier in August and was found burnt out in the ACT the next month.

After being hit by the car the constable spent eight days in hospital with multiple skull fractures, bleeding on the brain, broken ribs, bruising and prolonged memory loss.

Prosecutor Sam Bargwanna told the Magistrates Court the constable had received life-long and serious injuries and would probably never work again.

McCracken, who appeared in court with a bandage above his eye, and Ms Keys were extradited to NSW to face the Queanbeyan Local Court on Friday (22 October).

When refusing Gardner bail, Magistrate Glenn Theakston said the alleged facts of the case showed “a very serious example of violence against a police officer” who had been “mowed down” by a car.

Gardner, who is also facing an upcoming trial in the Supreme Court over an unrelated charge, was remanded in custody to 28 October for further consideration of the application to extradite him.

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A similar incident occurred the other day with a well known criminal who has had dozens of opportunities to become a law abiding citizen. He will, no doubtedly, receive a light sentence.

Unfortunately the magistrates and judges in this town, and other jurisdictions, have allowed this behaviour to continue by not giving lengthy sentences to recidivist criminals.

If you have not cleaned up your act by 30 or 35, society does not want you. If crooks enjoy being locked up for short periods then how about putting them away for 25 years – that’ll make them think twice before committing a crime again.

Ryan Williams11:32 am 22 Oct 21

< 100% Agree. We also need corporal punishment. As you correctly point out, crooks have little regard for Police and the Courts who they can rely on to meter out light sentences. Give them 10-20 whips with a cane (As in Singapore) that will change everything.

Finagen_Freeman6:22 am 22 Oct 21

The very worst of humans right there.

I disagree slightly.

Yes these are despicable people.

But the worse ones are the decades of magistrates (a few names jump out at us) who have gone easy on this type of behaviour so that it is now considered acceptable by crims.

The response to an attempt by the police to apprehend these people seems to be quite standard.

Drive off fast and dangerous because the police are limited in their pursuit rights. Torch the car when you get away. If a cop gets in the way run them down because that will help you get away.

And if by bad luck you do get caught hope for one of the very lenient magistrates.

We are seeing the result of failed justice policies.

But as long as the crims continue to get off, the Greens and their Labor pals don’t see a problem.

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