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Suicide outrage sparked Shepparton man’s ramraids

By Shepparton News

A driver who rammed his car into the buildings of media organisations and a real estate agency in a bizarre rampage had "laudable motives", a Victorian judge said before jailing him.

Bobby Gazzard was drug-affected when he rammed his car into several buildings, threw things and drove into other vehicles during his July 2018 rampage in Shepparton.

The now-32-year-old did it because the media organisations had not done enough for suicide prevention in the area, Judge John Smallwood said.

“While your motivations are quite laudable, indeed, in these circumstances they are somewhat bizarre,” the judge said in his sentencing remarks at Victoria's County Court yesterday.

Gazzard lost two close friends to suicide in a short period of time and blamed himself for not providing enough emotional support.

“That set of circumstances over a period of time is the basis of the bizarre motivation that caused you to commit the bulk of these offences,” Judge Smallwood said.

He also drove at two police officers who approached his vehicle after he had pulled over.

Another officer was forced to draw her firearm and ordered Gazzard to stop because she feared he would hit her, but he sped off.

Later he stole a ute from a man in a car-jacking and drove it briefly before returning to his own car.

The victim was not harmed but was afraid Gazzard was going to shoot him, even though Gazzard was only carrying a metal pipe, the judge said.

The crime spree lasted about an hour.

Gazzard pleaded guilty to a raft of charges including intentionally damage property, intentionally expose emergency worker to risk and aggravated carjacking over the ramming.

He also admitted driving unlicensed and in an unregistered vehicle.

The judge took into account his early plea of guilty, remorse and that he had completed numerous courses while on remand.

The judge said Gazzard had a "real chance" to dry out and get his life back together.

He was jailed for 21 months and ordered to serve a two-year community corrections order but has already spent 507 days behind bars prior to sentencing.

To speak with someone immediately, phone Lifeline on 131 114 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

- AAP