Man jailed for abducting social media date

Rex Martinich |

A Queensland man has been told to change or spend the rest of his life in prison after abducting another man during a social media date.

Lachlan Campbell Stewart, 23, faced Brisbane District Court on Wednesday for sentencing after pleading guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, unlawful detention and multiple stealing and fraud charges.

The court heard Stewart and a male co-accused attacked the victim at a unit in St Lucia, Brisbane in December 2021 after Stewart and the victim met for “physically intimate” relations via social media.

The crown prosecutor said Stewart and a co-accused had been smoking cannabis in the unit when the co-accused claimed the victim was a “predator” and held a knife to his neck.

“(Stewart) intervened at that point and when the (victim) tried to leave he was assaulted by Mr Stewart via kicks and punches when he was on the ground,” the prosecutor said.

“(The victim) then sat back at the table and asked to be let go by Mr Stewart and tried to leave. It was then (Stewart) again threw the (victim) on the ground and punched him multiple times in the face and stood on his shoulders.”

Stewart then demanded the victim’s Apple watch and phone and pointed them at his face to unlock the electronics and gain access to money via a banking app.

The victim was eventually forced into his own car but escaped and took shelter in a pub.

Stewart kept the victim’s vehicle, later using it to steal fuel from a Beenleigh service station and his phone to make credit card purchases.

The prosecutor said Stewart had a “quite extensive criminal history for someone so young” including robbing and kicking a 13-year-old boy in the head.

Stewart’s barrister, Gavin Webber, said his client had family difficulties growing up and started using cannabis aged 11.

“He is not as callous as it seems … there really are underlying issues going on,” Mr Webber said.

Judge Michael Burnett said there should be further study of Stewart’s cognitive problem as it represented a threat to the community but he had few options for sentencing due to the significant violent offences committed while on parole.

“Drugs are a particular issue … you lost a promising career as a footballer and essentially become anti-social,” Judge Burnett said.

“If you can’t address your drug issues, you are going to spend the rest of your life in prison as that’s the only place where the community can be protected.”

Stewart was sentenced to five years jail and declared eligible for parole in recognition of other sentences he was serving concurrently.

He will remain in custody pending the outcome of any application for release.