GUILTY: A Loganlea man escaped jailtime after a terrifying rampage at a Gunalda service station. Photo Contributed
GUILTY: A Loganlea man escaped jailtime after a terrifying rampage at a Gunalda service station. Photo Contributed

Man in court after terrifying rampage at servo

A YOUNG man with a drug problem and mental health issues thought his father was going to kill him on the day he launched a terrifying rampage at a Gunalda service station.

Kristopher Andrew Cherry, 23, of Loganlea pleaded guilty in Gympie Magistrates Court this week to being armed in public and causing wilful damage.

Cherry and his father were driving on the Bruce Highway north of Gympie at 9.38pm on September 30, when the incident began to unfold.

Kristopher Andrew Cherry, 23 of Loganlea pleaded guilty to multiple offences at the Gympie Magistrates Court on Monday including one of being armed to cause fear when he went on a rampage at a Gunalda Service Station last year. Photo Contributed
Kristopher Andrew Cherry, 23 of Loganlea pleaded guilty to multiple offences at the Gympie Magistrates Court on Monday including one of being armed to cause fear when he went on a rampage at a Gunalda Service Station last year. Photo Contributed

The court heard multiple triple-0 calls came in from an "incoherent" man advising emergency services that his father was going to kill him and that bikies were after him.

Police prosecutor Lisa Manns said Cherry told his father to stop at the Gunalda United Service Station.

Cherry got out of the vehicle and walked inside the station, telling staff and customers his father was going to murder him, the court heard.

Staff tried to reassure him, but he was highly agitated.

Cherry grabbed a metal bar and began smashing up the petrol station before getting a tyre iron out of his father's work truck. He then threatened staff and customers with the tool, saying that if anyone went any closer, he would swing it.

Glass shelves were smashed and food, pot plants and tables thrown around, the court was told

When police arrived, Cherry dropped the iron bar and was arrested.

His solicitor said her client had a longstanding history of mental health problem and was originally referred in August 1999 for behavioural intervention.

He was referred again in October 2004 at the Logan Community Mental Health Services.

Cherry has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, delusion disorder, autism disorder, borderline intellectual impairment, attention deficit and hypoactive disorder and polysubstance abuse.

"In July 2019 the team at Logan Health Services noticed a deteriation in my client's health. Between July and September he was admitted to hospital on multiple occasions. On 27 September, three days before the offences, he was discharged from hospital," his solicitor said.

"Mr Cherry did not believe he was well enough to be released and asked to be readmitted on multiple occasions before the offences. Mr Cherry recalls being depressed and extremely paranoid that someone was out to get him. He instructs he had run-ins with bikies before and became increasingly paranoid.

"After Mr Cherry refused to be readmitted on the day of the incident to go to Maryborough, he recalls contacting his father a few times on his trip due to not knowing where he was and he was paranoid when police went past him; he thought they'd shoot him."

Cherry's solicitor said her client was very remorseful and regretted the incident.

Magistrate Chris Callaghan said it would have been a frightening situation for the employees and customers.

"You have to be responsible for whatever drugs you ingest," he said.

"The reason you won't go to jail today is because of the underlying mental health problems that you have."

Cherry was sentenced to four months jail, wholly suspended for 12 months.

Gympie Times

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