Mandatory jail

A police car which was rammed by Kieran Hilder in a stolen tow-truck in Cranbourne on 17 April. 234556_02 Picture: PHILIP TYME

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

An ice-fueled driver of a stolen tow-truck who rammed and crushed an occupied police vehicle in Cranbourne has been jailed.

Kieran Hilder, 25, pleaded guilty at the Victorian County Court to the aggravated intentional exposure of a police officer to risk – a mandatory jail offence.

He had stolen the truck – with its keys inside – from a Cranbourne service station about 9.30am on 17 April.

Fifteen minutes later, a police officer intercepted Hilder in Cranbourne West and parked five metres behind the truck.

With the officer still inside, Hilder reversed the truck, crushed the front of the police vehicle and shattered its windscreen.

The police vehicle was pushed backwards and sustained “major damage”, sentencing judge Michael Bourke stated on 26 November.

The police member was uninjured.

Hilder’s act was “drug-fuelled, haphazard and dangerous” – though with an aim to escape rather than to harm, Judge Bourke said.

Hilder fled in the truck without rendering assistance at the collision scene.

He dumped the truck at a nearby construction site, stealing a closed-circuit camera, keys, phone and wallet from the truck’s cabin.

Three days later, he was charged and bailed.

However, on the same night, he was intercepted driving a stolen BMW, and capsicum-sprayed while resisting arrest.

Hilder was charged with absconding from a County Court-imposed community corrections order for a long list of “dishonesty” offences.

He was also charged with car theft, driving disqualified, trespass on the construction site and offending while on bail.

Drug abuse was a “major feature” of Hilder’s offending, Judge Bourke said. But his daily ice use at the time was no mitigation.

His criminal history was mainly dishonesty, bail and driving offences, with further similar offences to be heard at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court in December.

Judge Bourke noted Hilder’s childhood trauma including the destruction of his family’s Marysville home and “precarious” escape during the 2009 Black Saturday fires.

He suffered other close-family tragedy as a child.

Hilder’s early guilty plea, relative youth and the impact of Covid on his time in custody was also noted.

However, Judge Bourke said jail was the only appropriate sentence.

Hilder was jailed for up to three years and four months – including being re-sentenced for his CCO. He’ll be eligible for parole after serving 20 months. His term includes 221 days in pre-sentence detention.