British man who fled Australia on jet ski armed with crossbow sentenced over escape attempt

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A British man who was armed with a crossbow as he attempted to flee Australia on a jet ski has been sentenced for the attempted escape.   

Facing more than seven years imprisonment for drug charges, David James Jackson took off from the tip of Queensland in March.   

Evading several vessels sent to capture him, he made it to the eastern side of Saibai Island off the coast of Papua New Guinea where he was arrested by Australian authorities. A search revealed he was carrying supplies for a 90-mile journey. 

Shortly before his escape Jackson, now 57, had plead guilty to drug supply charges dating back to 2016, when police found 840g of 85 per cent pure methylamphetamine inside a speaker box in his car.    

A court heard how the long-term stimulant user had accepted methamphetamine as part payment for his work as a tow truck driver and had been pressured to take over the drug dealing business when his boss went into custody.

Although he had initially planned fight the case in court, he changed his mind and plead guilty.   

Awaiting sentencing he was released on bail, which allowed him to make his escape attempt. 

He apparently intended to start a new life in Bali, although he had no plan for when he got there and did not have much money.

At the time of his arrest, a spokesperson for the Australian Federal Police said: “This arrest sends a strong message to would-be fugitives: our reach across Australia is second to none and we will use all our contacts and relationships to find you and bring you before a court.”

In June, Jackson was jailed for seven years and five months for possessing an illegal drug with intent to sell or supply and possessing stolen property at the District Court of Western Australia. 

Now, he has been fined A$500 (£277) for breaching bail and a weapons charge, relating a stun gun found in his car when police pulled him over in 2016.

He appeared at Perth Magistrates’ Court via a video link from the city’s maximum-security Casuarina Prison.

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The father-of-two was also handed a four month prison sentence, to run concurrently, for possessing stolen property. 

This was in relation to A$10,250 Australian dollars (£5,690) in cash, which was found by police when they spotted Jackson sitting in a vehicle trying to hide it, again in 2016. 

They suspected this was proceeds of drug sales or money to buy them. 

After serving his term Jackson will likely face deportation to the UK, which he left when he was five-years-old. 

Agencies contributed to this report

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