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Mark Edward Gordon Hickman: Man handed prison term for stealing spree and dangerous driving to escape police

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Fraser WilliamsMidwest Times
A Geraldton man who went on a shopping spree with a stolen debit card and crashed a stolen car escaping police has been handed an immediate prison sentence. 
Camera IconA Geraldton man who went on a shopping spree with a stolen debit card and crashed a stolen car escaping police has been handed an immediate prison sentence.  Credit: Anita Kirkbright / Geraldton Gua

A Geraldton man who went on a shopping spree with a stolen debit card and crashed a stolen car escaping police has landed himself in jail.

Mark Edward Gordon Hickman, 33, was convicted in Geraldton Magistrates Court on Monday of 22 charges, including eight counts of gains benefit by fraud, two counts of stealing motor vehicle, dangerous driving to escape police, carrying an article with intent to cause fear and more.

Police prosecutor Sgt Ross Gray told the court about Hickman’s shopping spree on a stolen credit card in Perth on August 18, 2021.

In the span of a few hours he had spent $97 at a news agency, $99 on groceries, $48.18 at a chemist, $81 on cigarettes, $48.66 at a pharmacy, $96 at a bottle shop, $97.83 at a tavern and $99.98 on clothing products.

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When questioned by police, Hickman’s explanation was “I thought the card was stolen but bought stuff with it anyway”.

Sgt Gray told the court about Hickman’s first charge of stealing a motor vehicle on March 9, 2021, which was a white Hyundai Sedan valued at $25,000.

He had been captured on CCTV driving the stolen vehicle while having a suspended licence and police found his fingerprints in the car, after being caught Hickman made full admissions during police interviews.

On May 10, 2021, Hickman had been caught by police riding his bike outside of curfew hours and away from his nominated residence.

Sgt Gray noted that he claimed to not be at the residence due to domestic violence reasons, but Hickman had a 40cm Bowie knife hanging from the bike’s handle.

When police questioned him about the knife, he responded saying: “A bit dangerous around here, need some self-defence.”

The court was told Hickman stole a car from a Neerabup service station on August 21, 2021 at 11pm, while a person had gone to pay for their fuel and left their keys in the car. Hickman jumped in the car and took off, with his licence still suspended.

While driving on the incorrect side of the road, he had driven past a police car that turned on their sirens and indicated for him to pull over.

Instead Hickman ignored police instructions and attempted to escape police which caused a pursuit to start.

The chase only lasted 500m before Hickman lost control of the car and crashed it, causing $7000 in damage, after fleeing on foot.

Magistrate Angus Hockton’s rebuttal to the pursuit only being short-lived was “it’s not because he decided to pull over”.

Mr Hockton said an immediate term of imprisonment was the only suitable sentence for Hickman’s actions.

“When you drive a vehicle, potentially at night it is even more dangerous. . . there’s a real issue of people driving when they are not licenced and the harm you can do,” he said.

“The pursuit was short, not because you thought it was stupid and decided to pull over, but you were driving so poorly that you crashed the vehicle then fled.”

Hickman was sentenced to a one-year and nine-month prison term and was made eligible for parole.

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