The mother of a man central to a brutal Queenstown kidnapping says he’s sorry for bringing shame to the community.
Tracey O’Rourke says her son Brodie O’Rourke – jailed this week for his part in the kidnapping and vicious group attack of Jason Scott Maynard – is sorry and not a bad person.
“He’s very upset he’s put the family through it and that they’ve made Queenstown look bad,” she tells Mountain Scene.
Brodie, a 24-year-old builder’s apprentice, was sent to Invercargill Prison for three-and-a-half years on Tuesday in Queenstown District Court after earlier pleading guilty to kidnapping and aggravated wounding.
Brodie’s best friend Michael Philip Coulter, 25, was also jailed for three years after admitting the same charges.
Judge Kevin Phillips said the men were at the forefront of the offending and found that the November 26, 2011 attack – involving a meat cleaver, a machete and balaclavas – was highly premeditated but the subsequent kidnapping was not.
The attack was sparked after Maynard sold Brodie and seven other locals fake ecstasy. Brodie called Coulter, who agreed to help the group in their attempt to “rough up” Maynard and get their money back. Brodie head-butted Maynard twice and held a meat cleaver to his throat.
Maynard was then bundled into a car, driven at speeds of up to 160kmh for two minutes, and then ejected in Arrowtown, the court heard.
Tracey says her son and Coulter know they’ve done wrong and deserved punishing – but she’s forgiven Brodie.
“He’s not a bad kid. He just made a bad decision on the night.
“He just kept saying, ‘Stop crying mum’. He said ‘I’m not dead and I haven’t lost a limb’. While he’s in there he’s going to put his head down and do some study, try to make it a positive thing.”
Brodie and Coulter have been in and out of court since they were teenagers.
Brodie has a 2010 conviction for disorderly behaviour and in 2005 was convicted for threatening behaviour for his part in terrorising an Australian couple in their campervan on Frankton Beach.
Tracey, who owns the Frankton Motor Camp with husband Graeme, says both convictions were alcohol-related.
“I suppose with the 2005 conviction, he was shaking them and telling them they can’t park there because they were freedom camping. Anybody knows him knows that he’s not a bad kid.”
Coulter has convictions for unlawful possession of a firearm, assault and fighting in 2009, one for fighting plus disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence in 2007, an assault conviction in 2006 and three assault convictions in 2005. He was also convicted under dog control laws after a Bullmastiff-Staffordshire Bull Terrier in his care attacked five-year-old girl Eden Pritchard in Frankton in 2011. The dog was owned by O’Rourke.
Coulter’s mother Janetta Coulter, a teacher at Queenstown Primary School, declined to comment after the sentencing.
Coulter was sacked from a local panelbeaters before the brutal attack.
Panelbeater Dave O’Connor, who used to work with Coulter at the company but now manages Accidento Panelbeaters, recalls Coulter as a quiet, polite man.
“He was actually a very nice guy.”
Coulter and Brodie lived near each other in Frankton. It’s understood Coulter’s house – renowned for parties and loud music – is called the Coulter-sac and Brodie’s place is known as The Shed.
They now share a prison cell.
Tracey says Brodie has promised there’ll be no more crime committed.
“It’s good to see they’ve got their heads around it now and they know they’ve just got to take their medicine. They want to make the best of it.
“I’d like to thank friends and family for their support. It’s been pretty emotional. A lot of people only see what they’ve read in the paper. It’s a bit of a shame they’ve ended up in jail because they’re all hard-working kids.”
Daniel Kissell is serving eight months’ home detention, Jonathan Burke has been jailed for two years, three months and Samuel Coupe is in prison for two years, nine months for their involvement.
Rachel Maree Faul, 21, Charlotte Amelia Spencer Dickson, 18, and Brooke Sylvia Carpenter, 17, are yet to enter a plea.
Any trial is not expected until next year.