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Footballer to girlfriend: "I'm going to bury you alive"

Russell Webber playing for Capras versus Mackay Cutters at Browne Park during the Intrust Super Cup competition.
Russell Webber playing for Capras versus Mackay Cutters at Browne Park during the Intrust Super Cup competition. Sharyn O'Neill ROK170813scapra1

"I'M GOING to bury you alive," a former Central Queensland footballer said to his then girlfriend before she jumped out of a vehicle travelling at 100km/h.

This was one of many threats former Capras player Russell Webber levelled at Jacquelyn Donovan during an hour-long terrifying ordeal through Rockhampton.

 

Jacquelyn Donovan received a number of death threats from former Capras player Russell Webber during an hour long terrifying ordeal that began after Webber picked her up from a Western St address until the moment she jumped out of the moving car on Woodbury Rd.
Jacquelyn Donovan received a number of death threats from former Capras player Russell Webber during an hour long terrifying ordeal that began after Webber picked her up from a Western St address until the moment she jumped out of the moving car on Woodbury Rd. Contributed

"Don't think I haven't done it before ... This is it, I'm taking you to your grave. You'd better say your f---ing prayers," Webber told her.

Webber, 28, was signed to Melbourne Storm when he was age 16, playing five games for the under-20s.

He pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court yesterday to counts of assault occasioning bodily harm, common assault, dangerous driving and driving disqualified.

 

Russell James Webber.
Russell James Webber. Facebook

Police prosecutor Julie Marsden said Webber picked Miss Donovan, then 28, up from a Western St address between 5am and 6.30am on June 12, 2016.

She said an argument erupted about why Miss Donovan did not answer her phone during the night and she tried to get out of the car.

"As she opened the door, the defendant grabbed her by the hair and pulled her back inside the vehicle with some force," Ms Marsden said.

She ended up with a bloody, painful nose.

Webber, who was disqualified from driving at the time and was on bail for that offence, continued driving through Rockhampton, running red lights, swerving between other vehicles and speeding - while intoxicated.

"The victim was terrified of his manner of driving, saying he was reaching speeds of 100km/h in 70km/h zones," Ms Marsden said.

 

Jacquelyn Donovan received a number of death threats from former Capras player Russell Webber during an hour long terrifying ordeal where she ended up jumping out of the moving car on Woodbury Rd.
Jacquelyn Donovan received a number of death threats from former Capras player Russell Webber during an hour long terrifying ordeal where she ended up jumping out of the moving car on Woodbury Rd. Contributed

When they reached Yeppoon Rd, Miss Donovan pulled out her phone but he took it from her.

Webber, screaming at his girlfriend, accused her of infidelity as she tried to convince Webber to let her out of the car.

"It's too late now. You can't do this to me and get away with it," Webber told Ms Donovan.

Webber pulled the vehicle over at the Mt Jim Crow car park and the victim again tried to get out.

"She opened the door, put her (bare) feet on the ground when the defendant grabbed her by the hair and slammed his foot down on the accelerator," Ms Marsden told the court.

Her feet dragged along the gravel road, causing the skin to be ripped off her feet, causing her to bleed and excruciating pain.

Ms Marsden said the victim managed to pull herself back into the moving vehicle and the door closed on her as Webber continued to drive to Woodbury Rd, Bungundarra.

As Webber began threatening to bury Miss Donovon alive, she noticed "the houses had been diminishing with larger amounts of land between residential buildings".

When the speed decreased from 140km to 100km, Mr Marsden said Miss Donovan "believed she had no other choice or other way to save herself but to jump out of the moving vehicle".

"She figured that was her last chance to get away," she told the court.

Miss Donovan hit the ground and managed to get herself to the nearest home for help. Webber drove off.

The court heard Miss Donovan sustained multiple injuries including abrasions to her forehead, flank, right shoulder, arm, wrist, knuckles, left arm, thighs and her feet.

A CT scan revealed she had permanent nerve damage and four bulging discs as a result of the jump.

Defence lawyer Allan Grant said Webber had not intended to carry out the threats he made that day and this was the only assault incident from that relationship.

"They were both affected by alcohol," he said.

"They were having trouble in their relationship. He wanted to keep her in the car to talk out those issues."

Mr Grant said Webber recognised this was inappropriate behaviour.

But Magistrate Jeff Clarke found it hard to believe Webber was remorseful given he had driven off after she jumped out of the car,

He also commented how fearful such a young woman would be for her life after being assaulted by a strongly built male who had made threats on her life.

Webber was sentenced to two years jail but will be released on parole on June 25 next year.

He was disqualified from driving for three years and must pay $1000 compensation.

Topics:  assault assault occasioning bodily harm capras dangerous driving disqualifed driving editors picks police prosecutor julie marsden rockhampton magistrates court russell webber



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