Sorry beekeeper jailed for mom kidnapping | Review of northern beaches
A middle-aged man who has responded to calls to relocate by kidnapping his mother wants to return to beekeeping once released from detention, a judge has said.
After kidnapping the 75-year-old, Roger Peter McGrath pushed her out of his car and over a railing, knocking her off an eight-meter embankment in the Snowy Mountains in February.
Dense bushes on the side of Talbingo Mountain prevented the woman from rolling any further.
She suffered from deep skin tears and bruises.
Jailing McGrath for at least two years, Judge Mark Williams said the grievances leading to the “extraordinarily frightening” kidnapping were “an explanation but not an excuse”.
The mother had mentioned that she would be going on vacation soon with her husband and wanted her son to find accommodation elsewhere.
McGrath smashed a window and left, only to return to the Talbingo estate and stop his mother from calling the police.
He then bundled her up in his car, leaving his overturned walker behind.
“In his words, he ‘just broke him’,” his lawyer Robert Hussey told Wagga Wagga District Court on Thursday.
“It is simply a haphazard and erratic criminal enterprise born in the moment and on the backs of aggravating problems with poor emotional regulation capacity.”
Police arrested McGrath two days later at the mother’s home, hidden under a bed with a TV remote control and a can of Coke in hand.
McGrath spent nine years in prison until November 2016 for child sexual abuse of a school-aged girl he knew.
After his release, he made good progress towards rehabilitation and found, for the first time in his life, something he genuinely appreciated, Mr Hussey said.
“(Beekeeping) gives him a big goal and it’s something he looks forward to getting back on parole,” the attorney said.
A series of grievances, including the impact of the 2019/20 bushfires on his beehives and the suicide of a friend, preceded the incident.
However, the prosecution cautioned against the weight given to statements of remorse and childhood deprivation presented in a psychologist’s report.
“The level of violence, the death threats – this is a very unpleasant set of circumstances and a serious example of a domestic crime,” said the prosecutor.
The mom, now 76, previously told court she suffered flashbacks and is now generally more nervous.
His biggest fear was not feeling safe once McGrath was released.
Judge Williams concluded that McGrath had remorse and was entitled to a reduction for an early guilty plea.
There were prospects for rehabilitation, provided McGrath could get help in preventive custody, where he will likely be held due to previous offenses, the judge said.
The threat of institutionalization and deprivation of childhood led to the recognition of special circumstances and a reduction in his minimum sentence.
With the anticipation of his arrest, McGrath’s full tenure will expire in August 2024.
Associated Australian Press