A serial criminal was seen dragging a motionless woman along the ground in a suburban Canberra yard before driving over the top of her with a car when he tried to escape from police.
Jermaine Troy Goolagong, who has what the ACT Supreme Court described as “an extensive criminal history”, has been jailed over a crime spree that left traumatised victims in its wake.
The recent judgment for his crimes shows a woman was seen “lying motionless” on the front lawn of a home in Rivett on the evening of 10 March 2020 before Goolagong began dragging her along the ground by her arms.
Police arrived shortly later. When Goolagong saw them, he dropped the woman and ran to a nearby stolen silver BMW.
As police tried to park him in to stop him from leaving, he drove over the woman, with “both the front and rear tyres moving over the top of” her as she laid motionless, according to the judgment from Justice Chrissa Loukas-Karlsson.
Police chased him as he drove away, but he crashed into their car numerous times. The pursuit was abandoned due to safety concerns as he was driving at over 100 km/h in a residential area.
The woman he ran over was taken to Canberra Hospital for assessment. Miraculously, she only had minor injuries, including superficial abrasions.
After 7:00 pm the same night, another woman saw the BMW Goolagong was driving near the Narrabundah shops, which appeared dinted and “bashed up”.
Holding knives, Goolagong and another person tried to get into this woman’s car, “putting the knife blades into the vehicle’s windows in an attempt to open the doors”.
He hit the car as this woman tried to drive away in an attempt to get into it. At one point, he jumped in front of her car to block her path.
Several days later, on 18 March, Goolagong was seen driving another stolen car, a red Toyota Camry, which had been taken from a garage in Conder.
At 4:00 am the next morning, he caused $10,000-worth of damage to the Coles Supermarket at Curtin and stole $600-worth of cigarettes.
He and another person used the stolen Camry to ram the front glass sliding doors of the supermarket so they could get inside before attempting to force open a cash dispensing machine and stealing three cartons of cigarettes.
Less than an hour later, the pair used an object and their feet to smash the front doors of the Supabarn Supermarket in Kingston and stole $600-worth of alcohol.
Goolagong pleaded guilty to a raft of charges, including committing an act endangering health, assault, dangerous driving, theft and aggravated burglary.
The woman he tried to carjack told the Supreme Court the Narrabundah Shops were her local shops and she used to feel safe to be near the area’s Vocal House, which was a centre for victims of crime.
“Now here, right next to that safe place, I was being attacked and traumatised,” she said.
“My familiar stomping grounds, combined with beacons of signage alluding to healing and addressing social disease, is now tainted with a never-ending internal scream of fight and flight, where my palms sweat, my pulse increases and becomes noisy, my stomach goes nauseous, and I just don’t want to be there.”
Justice Loukas-Karlsson said Goolagong, 27, had reported problematic use of cannabis, methamphetamines and cocaine from 18 years of age, but intended to engage with drug and alcohol rehabilitation when he was released from custody.
“He stated that his partner has given him an ultimatum to choose his children or drugs,” she said.
Goolagong wrote a handwritten letter for the court showing his remorse for his crimes.
“Jail is not a life I want to be liveing I no youse keep seeing me comeing back here but I want to show everybody that I’m a new man now and I want to change….” he wrote.
He also apologised specifically to the woman he tried to carjack.
Goolagong has been in custody since he was arrested on 19 March 2020.
Justice Loukas-Karlsson sentenced him to five years’ jail with a non-parole period of two years and seven months. He will be eligible for release in October 2022.