House and car shot at in terrifying episode
SHOTGUN blasts at midnight ripped through the wall of a children's playroom, tearing a gaping hole next to the statue of a watching angel.
Fragments of the damaged wall lay among a child's toys, as shown in police crime scene photos put before Ipswich District Court this week.
Shot damage to the door of a black Toyota Camry was also shown to the court.
The court was told the offender was the family's neighbour, who let loose with four shots fired from his double-barrelled shotgun.
In the Crown case, the Willowbank neighbourhood gunman was Greg Williamson, apparently suffering from drug- induced psychosis at the time as a result of using ice.
This week, two years after he fired into the wall of his neighbour's house and car, Williamson finally faced justice.
Greg James Williamson, 36, pleaded guilty to dangerous conduct with a weapon at Willowbank on May 15 and 16, 2017; discharging a weapon on private land without the owner's consent; use of a weapon when under the influence of alcohol or a drug; and wilful damage.
Prosecutor Noel Needham said Williamson had been using ice on the night of the offence.
Apparently suffering a delusional episode, he took a shotgun from a gun safe at midnight and fired off four shots.
Mr Needham said two shots struck the neighbour's car, while another hit the wall of the house.
Mr Needham said the shotgun had to be reloaded, and was fired by Williamson at a distance of between three and 10 metres from the residence.
At home that night was his neighbour with his wife and four children aged between 13 and 23, along with a grand-daughter aged four.
"It demonstrates just how dangerous his conduct was," Mr Needham said.
"The police arrived soon after and he was called outside to voluntarily surrender. He did so and was taken to a mental health hospital."
Mr Needham said photos of the damage demonstrated the power of the shotgun blast.
Four spent shells were found outside, and inside Williamson's house police found an open box of ammunition.
Holding a red notebook containing his written notes, Williamson told Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC that he had got rid of his lawyers because it had already cost him $10,000 for a series of adjournments, and they wanted a further $6000 to finalise the matter for him.
Williamson, a father of two, handed up detailed personal medical documents to be considered.
"May 15, 2017 is a night I will never forget. What I did was very serious and I am grateful no one was injured," he said.
"I believe my former job triggered it. I was taken into psychiatric care for two weeks at Ipswich. They did a fantastic job.
"I strongly believe I am rehabilitated, and am now a stable and productive and law-abiding citizen.
"I am not a violent person. I have a big heart.
"I would like to have a chance as I've done it before when I was addicted to opiates where I got out of control and got caught up with a robbery charge."
Williamson said he was no longer able to return to his former Willowbank house, and he had lost his long-term partner following the incident.
"Another slip-up will not happen again. I firmly believe it was a slip-up. Putting me in prison would not be the right thing."
Judge Horneman-Wren queried the efforts he had been making to improve his lifestyle, with Williamson explaining the medical help he was receiving for his drug addiction.
Williamson said he had stopped all drug use since the shooting.
"The potential for a catastrophic outcome (that night) was great," Judge Horneman-Wren said.
"In the context of your admitted drug use the hour of the day is probably irrelevant in that it could have happened at any time when people were likely to have been in the line of fire.
"It must have been a terrifying ordeal for everyone in that house.
"And it must be said that the fact you were in a drug-induced psychosis is no excuse, and of no comfort. It is an aggravating factor.
"It's abhorrent and quite terrifying that the use of drugs could result in such violent behaviour in a suburban neighbourhood."
Judge Horneman-Wren took into account that two years had passed with no further offences, the efforts he'd taken in rehabilitation.
"You did use ice, and fell into the chasm of that drug which swallows up the lives of people," he said.
"The steps you've taken are encouraging. So too is your ongoing engagement with treatment for your addiction."
Judge Hornemann-Wren sentenced Williamson to a total of 18 months jail, with Williamson immediate released to supervised parole.