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Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Damien Searle, 24, of Wilson Street, had engaged in “gangsterism”.

14:50 | , , ,

Damien Searle, 24, of Wilson Street, had engaged in “gangsterism”.

“This is Underbelly stuff. Career criminals engage in this sort of behaviour.

"There is absolutely no place for it in the community,” he said.

Searle pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court to 17 charges.

He was sentenced to 31 months’ jail and has to serve 18 months before being eligible for parole.

Searle was also disqualified from driving for 24 months and ordered to pay $240 compensation.

Police alleged that at 10pm on December 2, 2008, Searle went to Camperdown’s Lake Bullen Merri with a .22 rifle and fired shots which whizzed past two fishermen.

He fired another three or four shots prompting the fishermen to grab a torch and flash their car lights.

Searle then fired another six shots at a sign, causing $240 damage before driving off as a police van arrived.

Searle drove around the van and past another police car which had activated its lights and siren.

There was a police pursuit and Searle drove through a stop sign with his lights off before the chase was terminated.

Two weeks later Searle went to a friend’s home in Melton and was offered $500 to fire shots into a house where an alleged police informer lived.

He took a sawn-off semi-automatic .22 rifle and at 2.45am fired three shots from a stationary car into the house.

A woman and nine-year-old girl were in the home asleep.

On August 13 this year Searle was driving east along the

Cobden-Warrnambool Road in a stolen white Ford Laser sedan which he had fitted with false number plates.

He overtook a B-double truck around a blind bend, went within two car lengths of being involved in a head-on crash and spun out of control.

Searle gave police a false name and address, refused to take an evidentiary breath test and took off with police in pursuit.

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