Court, crashes & crime: Top stories of 2020
From horror crashes to shocking court cases, look back on some of the most popular stories of 2020 from Coffs Coast Advocate journalist Jasmine Minhas.
Police search for KFC customer after violent attack on staff
A search was underway for a man who, in a fit of rage, attacked a KFC staff member after he was told a particular food item he wanted to order was not available.
Coffs-Clarence Police Inspector Kingsley Chapman had said on the night of Easter Sunday 2020, the male had entered the Park Beach Plaza store and attempted to place his order.
When told it was not available, the man lost his temper and was asked by staff to leave.
A 21-year-old staff member later finished his shift and was confronted by the male when he walked outside.
The male began punching him, before brandishing a knife.
Trouble makers barred from Coffs’ venues
Twelve trouble makers were barred from licensed venues on the Coffs Coast following a string of violent incidents.
Coffs-Clarence police revealed seven males and one female were barred from all venues that were part of the Coffs Harbour Liquor Accord for a total of three years.
Three males and one female were also barred for one year.
This was the result of a number of offences that took place at venues between October 2019 and June 2020.
Jetstar responds to calls for Coffs Harbour flights
In the wake of Tigerair’s announcement it was axing all routes from Coffs Harbour Airport, the region was dealt another blow as rival budget airline Jetstar also ruled out any possibility of servicing the Coffs Coast in the near future.
Advocate readers were left devastated by the news Coffs would no longer have a direct flight to Melbourne, and a petition addressed to Tigerair was even launched.
This also prompted readers to ask the question of whether Qantas’ low-cost carrier would instead take Tigerair’s place.
Former teacher jailed for assaulting intoxicated teen at party
A former Coffs Coast high school teacher was jailed for sexually assaulting a heavily intoxicated teenage girl at a Halloween party – telling her things like “you’re so unconscious” while committing the crime.
The 62-year-old was sentenced on two charges of sexual intercourse without consent at Coffs Harbour District Court in August.
The court heard the assaults occurred at a party organised by the man’s son on the night of October 26, 2018. Twenty to thirty guests, who were mostly teenagers, were in attendance.
CCTV captures dramatic end to police chase in resident’s backyard
Police suspected a man who led officers on a chase through Coffs before ploughing into a resident’s backyard may have been under the influence of an illicit substance.
Speaking to the media outside Coffs Harbour Police Station on July 7, Northern Region Traffic Acting Inspector Jarrod Langan said police detected the vehicle speeding on Hogbin Dr the night before.
A short pursuit involving three police cars was initiated and road spikes were deployed in just 60 seconds.
The vehicle then continued onto a number of streets before it crashed into a yard on Long St, a dramatic scene which was captured by a neighbour’s CCTV camera.
Coffs tradie sold ice, cocaine to fuel his own addiction
A Coffs Harbour plasterer and father-of-two who dealt large amounts of cocaine and ice on the side to feed his own addiction was sentenced to jail.
Paul Anthony Rovere, 57, pleaded guilty to being involved in a drug supply chain that had been dealing commercial quantities of the drugs in the Coffs community.
He admitted to dealing 250g of cocaine and 487g of ice between September 2018 and April 2019, as well as cultivating 167 cannabis plants.
The court heard he acted as a “middle man” in the drug supply chain.
Man escapes death after head-on crash into tree
A man cheated death after his vehicle smashed head-on into a tree at high speed near the Coffs CBD.
The man, understood to be aged in his 40s, suffered severe compound fractures to his lower leg and possible hip injuries following the single-vehicle crash that took place on West High St on August 21.
Emergency services rushed to the scene, where the man’s Holden Commodore appeared to have veered across the street before crashing heavily into a tree situated by a bus stop just after the Azalea Ave intersection.
The bus stop sign post appeared to have speared into one of the back doors.
Details emerge on historical Coffs child abuse allegations
Court documents revealed details on the accusations against a Queensland man who was extradited to Coffs on historical child abuse charges.
Rodney James Preston, 44, was accused of sexually assaulting an underage girl in Nana Glen over several months back in 1998, when he was 22 and the victim 13.
Police had alleged the Kallangur man and the victim had begun communicating online before organising to meet up in person at Nana Glen.
Police further alleged Mr Preston had managed to gain the trust of both the victim and her mother, going so far as to claim he was completing a course at university for acceptance to NASA.
Revealed: Plans for a $5-million women’s rehab centre
A men’s drug rehab centre in Moonee Beach will be demolished and rebuilt as a women’s only residential facility.
Adele House are planning to demolish all of the existing ‘outdated’ buildings and construct new ones at a cost of $5-million in order to provide the region with what it says is a desperately needed women’s group home.
The Solitary Islands Way site had housed the men’s centre since 2002. However with the opening of a second $10.6m men’s centre in Bucca, the charity organisation said it was taking the opportunity to fill the void in women’s services.
Alleged drug syndicate members face court after major raids
Millions worth of cannabis, MDMA, meth, ‘liquid ecstasy’ – these are among the drugs police allegedly seized when dismantling a major drug supply network south of Coffs Harbour.
Two men who have been accused of acting as directors of the crime group remain in custody following their arrest in September.
Strike Force Anketell detectives stormed properties in Thora and Missabotti, allegedly seizing over $6.5 million worth of cannabis plants, and discovering over one hundred vehicles.