Not even 7 officers armed with tasers could stop savage crim
THE dramatic end to a violent criminal's dangerous evasion of police after escaping custody was a ripple effect of going down the wrong path following the deaths of his grandfather and older sister.
Former Newcastle Knights player Lui Matalio 'Dylan' Tiaaleaiga, 26, was arrested in dramatic circumstances in Gladstone on August 3, 2019 - five days after he absconded from Rockhampton Hospital while in police custody.
The details of his escape, his dangerous evasion of police in which six cars were damaged, and the events leading up to the crime spree were outlined in Rockhampton District Court today after Tiaaleaiga pleaded guilty to 14 charges.
The charges were for possessing marijuana, possessing a homemade hand gun, stealing a car, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing damage, a fuel drive off, serious assault, robbery with personal violence, three evading police, two stealing and one count of possessing ammunition.
Judge Burnett commented Tiaaleaiga had a violent predisposition.
His criminal record includes two road rage assaults and an armed robbery with violence of the Kalka Hotel bottle shop, along with being involved in a post rugby union match brawl on Anzac Day between Colts and Brothers in 2015.
He spent time in three different prisons following his arrest in August, and has converted religion - he is now a Muslim.
Police feared Tiaaleaiga so much that when they went to apprehend him, they approached him in a group of about seven, armed with tasers - but not even that could stop him.
The court heard, before body worn footage from the arrest was played, that three normal tasers were deployed but didn't work, so a more powerful taser was deployed to apprehend Tiaaleaiga.
Crown prosecutor Will Slack said Tiaaleaiga was jailed for his road rage assault of a driver, 64, after the victim's car rolled back into Tiaaleaiga's and he pulled the victim from the car, kicking and punching him in the head and upper body many times.
"He does have a seriously violent history," Mr Slack said.
He said Tiaaleaiga was initially arrested on July 26 after being intercepted at 2.30am by police who found a concealed homemade hand gun in his car. He also had marijuana.
"It was a functioning weapon," Judge Burnett said.
"It was loaded with a round of ammunition."
Mr Slack said Tiaaleaiga complained about leg pain the next day and was taken to Rockhampton Hospital where he was put on antibiotics and was to stay overnight for observation.
The court heard a nurse attended Tiaaleaiga's room at 7pm to redress his leg and he requested to have a shower, which was granted.
Police removed Tiaaleaiga's restraints, leaving a restraint attached to one leg, in preparation for a shower.
Tiaaleaiga used the second door in the shower to slip into an adjoining room and disappear from the hospital.
Tiaaleaiga wasn't spotted by police until he stole a ute parked near roadworks south of Gladstone on the Bruce Highway on August 2 - the keys were in the unlocked work vehicle.
He then stole $100 worth of diesel in a fuel drive-off and when police located him in the stolen ute, he sped off.
Tiaaleaiga was next spotted in Frenchville before police saw him driving along Hanson Rd, Gladstone, about 9.45am on August 3, driving towards the CBD. He evaded police on both occasions.
He continued driving dangerously to evade police, mounting footpaths, running red lights, driving on the wrong side of the road for 100 metres, back onto the correct side before entering a round about and then back onto the wrong side of the road.
Police attempted to intercept him on J Hickey Avenue in Clinton about 10.30am where Tiaaleaiga's car made contact with the front bumper of a police car and then damaged another police car that was stationary at a roundabout.
Tiaaleaiga's dangerous driving came to an end when he ran a red light at the Dawson Highway and Aerodrome Drive intersection about 11.05am and was clipped by another vehicle, which sent his vehicle into a spin resulting in it colliding with two others.
In total, he caused damage to two police vehicles and four civilian cars during his spree - including the stolen work ute which was missing one tyre, another was running on its rim and a third was "unserviceable" in the end. The other cars damanged included a Nissan Navara and a Hyundai Tucson.
After the stolen car Tiaaleaiga was driving stopped, he exited and approached a Toyota Landcruiser and demanded the driver hand him the keys.
The driver took the keys out of the ignition but refused to hand over the keys.
Tiaaleaiga pulled the driver from the car, attempted to headbutt him, slammed him against the ute and bent back his middle finger before the keys were handed over.
Video played in court showed a pair of officers first approach Tiaaleaiga as he sat in the driver's seat of the Landcruiser, followed closely by about four more officers with at least three tasers deployed during the violent scuffle between Tiaaleaiga and officers.
"He continued to resist arrest," Mr Slack said.
"A heavy taser was deployed allowing police to handcuff him."
Defence barrister Jordan Ahlstrand said Tiaaleaiga lost his grandfather, who he was very close with, in May 2019 and then his sister died after a battle with cancer in July.
He said the Emmaus College Year 12 graduate and talented rugby league player, who played for Newcastle Knights for one year in 2011, had not touched drugs or alcohol since he was 18 years old but went on a downward spiral after the deaths.
Mr Ahlstrand said his client's mother, father, one of two brothers, and defacto partner were in court to support him.
He said Tiaaleaiga had two children with his defacto.
Mr Ahlstrand said Tiaaleaiga first tried methamphetamines after he absconded from the hospital and was high during the driving crime spree.
He said since he was remanded in custody, he had undertaken substance abuse and violence courses, had converted to Muslim and was learning to read and write Arabic.
"Part of the Muslim faith is to refrain from drugs and alcohol," Mr Ahlstrand said.
Judge Burnett described the offending on August 2 and 3 as "opportunistic and spontaneous", along with "thoughtless", "selfish" and "unforgivable".
"You are become somewhat of a recidivist offender," he said.
"You still have opportunity to rehabilitate."
Judge Burnett ordered Tiaaleaiga to a head sentence of five years prison with parole eligibility in January 2021.
"It is unlikely you will achieve parole due to your history," he said.
"You will have to work hard to get parole."
Judge Burnett further ordered Tiaaleaiga be disqualified from driving for three years.