Briton who tried to flee Australia on jet ski sentenced

A British man who made it across the Torres Strait on a jet ski trying to flee a drug supply charge in Australia has been sentenced for the audacious bid.

Armed with a crossbow and loaded with supplies for the 90-mile journey, 57-year-old David James Jackson took off from the tip of Queensland and made it to Papua New Guinean waters.

But he was arrested on the eastern side of Saibai Island after trying to evade authorities as they chased him in various vessels.

Jackson was extradited to Western Australia (WA) and jailed in June for seven years and five months for possessing an illegal drug with intent to sell or supply and possessing stolen property.

The charges date back to 2016, when police found 840g of 85% pure methylamphetamine inside a speaker box in his car.

The District Court of WA heard the long-term stimulant user had accepted meth as part payment for his work as a tow truck driver and when his boss went into custody, he was pressured to take over the drug dealing business and also wanted to maintain his own supply.

Jackson planned to go to trial but entered late guilty pleas, then fled the country while out on bail and awaiting sentencing.

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

Jackson faced Perth Magistrates’ Court via video link from the maximum-security Casuarina Prison on Wednesday and was sentenced for breaching bail, possessing a prohibited weapon and possessing stolen property.

The court heard the weapon was a stun gun that was found in his car when police pulled him over in Perth city centre in 2016 while the stolen property was 10,250 Australian dollars (£5,600) in cash suspected of being either the proceeds of drug sales or money to buy drugs.

The cash was found by police, again in 2016, when they went to a property looking for someone else and spotted Jackson sitting in a vehicle, trying to hide it.

The father-of-two was fined a total of 500 Australian dollars (£275) for the bail breach and weapon charges, and handed a four-month prison sentence for the cash, to be served concurrently with his current jail term.

After serving it, he likely faces deportation to the UK, which he left at the age of five.