‘Need for speed’: Bitcoin millionaire in 200km/h Lambo chase
The offending of a Lamborghini driving, bitcoin millionaire that involved a high-speed Bruce Hwy police chase has been described as something out of a video game.
Benjamin Thomas Nelson, 24, drove a purple Lamborghini over 200km/h on the Bruce Highway and made dangerous manoeuvres before police stopped the chase on October 18, last year.
"At 8.45pm on the Bruce Highway he was seen doing about 130km in a 100km an hour zone around Morayfield," Crown prosecutor Christopher Cook told the court.
"The police pursued him, activated their lights and sirens and Mr Nelson sped off; he was going about 180 km at the Pumicestone Rd overpass, he continued to pull away from police reaching speeds in excess of 200km an hour.
"He had to break heavily at one point to avoid colliding with a semi-trailer."
The court heard Nelson later paid Zachary William Ainge $5000 to say he was the one behind the wheel.
In November last year Ainge was sentenced to 18 months in jail with immediate parole for swearing falsely in an affidavit.
Mr Cook on Friday told the court that the chase was just four days after Nelson's then girlfriend entered a false affidavit stating she was the driver of a car that fled police in Brisbane at 8.40pm on October 12, 2019.
"Police attempted to intercept him (Nelson) on Edward St, he drove through a red light on Mary St, he was speeding in excess of 40km limit," Mr Cook said.
"Police attempted to pull him over and he accelerated away from them onto the Pacific Mwy."
Mr Cook said Nelson reported the car as stolen before the affidavit was given to police.
Mr Cook said Nelson was also under the influence of drugs when he was involved in a crash and fled the scene at Woombye in November 2019.
He said Nelson again showed his "brazen, lawless behaviour" when he drove past police who were driving to a house fire at speed on January 28, last year.
"Mr Nelson overtook and gave the police the bird as they passed them, narrowly avoiding another motorist as he did so," Mr Cook said.
"Police then pursued him; he failed to stop; he sped off at 150km an hour in a 90km zone and he went through road works as well."
An hour later police found Nelson on the side of the Bruce Hwy near Caloundra.
"He was passed out in the driver's seat of the car, his passenger told police they had to take control of the car as he passed out while driving," he said.
Nelson pleaded guilty in Maroochydore District Court to 16 charges including three counts of evading, two counts of attempting to pervert justice, two of driving under the influence, driving without due care and attention and dangerous operation of a vehicle.
Mr Cook said Nelson was on probation and a suspended sentence at the time and had a history of similar crimes.
He asked Judge Richards to impose a prison sentence of six and a half years.
"It's almost like scenes from the video game Need for Speed and Mr Nelson showed total disregard for public safety," Mr Cook said.
Defence barrister Angus Edwards said Nelson spent his teenage years with his father who had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and developed a "problematic relationship" with drugs.
He said Nelson was clean from drugs for nine months prior to October 2019 before he met co-offender and then-girlfriend Kaori Celine Nakase who introduced him to ice.
After spending 79 days in custody Nakase faced Maroochydore District Court in June 2020.
She pleaded guilty to two counts of preventing the course of justice, among other offences and was placed on probation for three years.
"He recognises his relationship with Nakase was a toxic one, it revolved around drug use and drug abuse (and) he is no longer together with her," Mr Edwards said.
"He was leading a chaotic drug using lifestyle at the time, and there is no doubt that they are the recipe for disaster, drugs and fast cars.
"Luckily for my client and the community no one was injured … nor was there any serious property damage."
He suggested a prison sentence of five years with probation and parole upon his release.
Mr Edwards said Nelson was diagnosed with polysubstance abuse disorder, depression, social anxiety, adjustment disorder and autism spectrum disorder that made him the target of threats and attacks in prison.
Nelson was moved to protective custody.
"This has been 13 months now and has been particularly unpleasant … he has been assaulted in custody and has been sexually assaulted in custody," Mr Edwards said.
"Being in custody has had a negative effect on his anxiety."
Mr Edwards said Nelson's psychologist said the longer Nelson stayed in custody the more it would impact his mental health.
The court heard Nelson, who remained drug free in custody, rekindled a relationship with his non drug using ex-girlfriend and had aspirations to stop his drug use and start working in construction.
Judge Deborah Richards noted Nelson's offending arose by voluntary intoxication, not his mental health issues.
Ms Richards said a six-year prison sentence was appropriate given the attempts to pervert justice, the number of driving offences and dangerous manoeuvres done at high speed at peak traffic times.
"It can be seen this was a series of very serious dangerous driving offences aggravated by the fact that you tried to lie about your involvement in some of the offending and attempted to pervert the course of justice no doubt because you were on a suspended sentence and probation at the time," she said.
She disqualified him from driving for five years.
Nelson will be released on parole on September 28.