Police generic, crime scene.  Photo Tessa Mapstone / South Burnett Times
Police generic, crime scene. Photo Tessa Mapstone / South Burnett Times Tessa Mapstone

'Irrational' man wielded knife at cops after killing threats

A MAN armed with a knife, swearing and yelling at police and residents only put his knife down after an officer pulled out his gun.

The man had left threats to kill a police officer on the Emu Park Police Station's answering machine earlier that day.

Joseph Readie, 40, pleaded guilty in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on Friday to one count of common assault, one of going armed in public and causing fear, one of obstructing a police officer, one of public nuisance and one of using a carriage service to menace or harass.

Police prosecutor Mark Platt said Readie left six messages on the Emu Park Police Station's answering machine between 6.43am and 7.40am on March 16, including threats to kill one of the station's officers.

Mr Platt said police were attending an incident at another residence in Eddington St on March 16 at 2.30pm when a witness told them of Readie being in his front yard armed with a knife.

He said police found Readie only wearing football shorts, holding a black handled knife with a 21cm blade, and swearing and yelling at people.

Mr Platt said as police approached Readie, he threatened to stab them.

He said Readie had half a bottle of Chivas Regal in his other hand, which he only dropped after four requests.

Mr Platt said the officer told Readie about 20 times to lie on his stomach on the ground before he did so and it took for the officer to draw his gun for Readie to drop the knife.

He said a female witness was visibly shaken from the ordeal.

Police had to physically place him in a police vehicle after he sat down when they asked him to get in.

Months earlier, Readie had assaulted a security guard at Stockland Rockhampton and then a member of the public intervened, with Readie putting his hands into fighting position before the witness was able to calm him down.

Defence lawyer Rowan King said the threats to the police officer were related to how police treated Readie's son's death 18 months ago.

He said his son's death was originally ruled a drug overdose, but Readie found it difficult to accept a drug overdose conclusion particularly when his son had been robbed of his personal belongings at the time of his death.

Mr King said police were now treating the 22-year-old's death as suspicious.

He said the behaviour of his client later on the day of the police death threats could only be described as "completely irrational".

"He has schizophrenia and also has a problem with alcohol," Mr King said.

"He had run out of Seroquel and that had him hearing voices."

He said Readie drank alcohol to silence the voices and he had drunk 1.5 bottles of Chivas Regal prior to police attending his neighbours on March 16.

"He hear the police radios and became paranoid," Mr King said.

He said Readie had been attending First Steps drug and alcohol counselling program run by the Salvation Army.

Magistrate Philippa Beckinsale suggested Readie not drink at all and ensure he takes his medication correctly, especially when trying to deal with the loss of his son.

She sentenced him to 12 months' jail with parole release on July 15 after declaring 111 days in pre-sentence custody.


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