Covid patient’s brazen tram escape

2021-10-13 12:49:58

A Melbourne man who tested positive to coronavirus and jumped on a tram in one of two escapes put the public in “enormous” danger.

Nathan Hetherington pleaded guilty to reckless conduct endangering serious injury and two counts of criminal damage in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old escaped a quarantine facility at the Albert Road Clinic but managed to escape twice on September 16 and 18.

“The danger of what you did to the community is enormous or potentially enormous,” magistrate Greg McNamara said.

Camera IconHetherington, of no fixed address, tried to flee after he positive to the virus when he went to the Alfred Hospital on September 14. Tony Gough Credit: News Corp Australia

Hetherington, of no fixed address, tried to flee after he tested positive to the virus when he went to the Alfred Hospital on September 14.

He was forced to stay at the hospital under guard before he was moved to a Secure Isolation Recovery Facility at the Albert Park Clinic but escaped two days later.

The former labourer said he was withdrawing from ice, started kicking at a door and yelled he couldn’t stay any longer. He escaped through a fire exit but police caught him 30m away and returned him to the clinic.

But the young man managed to escape his room again and barricaded himself in a staffroom, broke a window and jumped out of the building before climbing onto the back of a moving tram.

Police patrolling the Botanic Gardens spotted Hetherington and arrested him and the magistrate said the officers placed themselves at risk of contracting the virus by doing so.

The magistrate said the crimes weren’t “spontaneous” and the escapes and damage to the facility took place over days.

Hetherington also punched holes in walls of his room and pulled down curtains at the facility.

But the magistrate took into account Hetherington’s difficult life circumstances including his mother’s death of a drug overdose when he was a baby and being born with a drug addiction.

He also took into account his guilty plea, mental health and drug issues.

Hetherington was jailed for four months and was ordered to pay more than $5300 in compensation for the damage to the facility.

“I hope you can do better when you get out,” Mr McNamara told the man.

He has already spent 25 days behind bars.

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