Parole for man who bound girlfriend with electrical wire

A MAN who bound and gagged his girlfriend in a Buderim motel room after a maniacal drive from New South Wales has claimed he never meant to harm her.

Police investigating a stolen car stumbled upon the 19-year-old woman bound with electrical cord in the bathroom of a unit at the Buderim Motor Inn on October 25 last year.

Craig William Relf, 29, did not offer any explanation for his actions when he was sentenced in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court yesterday but interrupted the magistrate to say the woman had not been in danger. "Can I say one thing, your Honour? There was never any intention of hurting her," he said.

Relf, who pleaded guilty to deprivation of liberty, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, bringing stolen goods into Queensland, and common assault, was sentenced to 30 months jail with parole after serving a third. Because he has been in custody since he was charged 11 months ago, he was released on parole.

The court heard that Relf was on parole for assault when he stole a Ford XR6 hire car from a service station in Williamtown, NSW, while the driver was paying for petrol and headed for Queensland, picking up his girlfriend along the way.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Phil Stevens said the young woman told police her boyfriend had driven "like a maniac" and she "thought she was going to die".

Sgt Stevens said the woman tried to get away when they stopped near a house, where Relf filled pillowcases with jewellery, a laptop, war medals, a sword and other goods, but he forced her back into the vehicle.

When they arrived at a Buderim unit where Relf's brother lived, Relf accused her of taking some of the jewellery, then stuffed her mouth with socks, and tied her legs and hands with electrical cord.

Lawyer Anna Smith, acting for Relf, a schizophrenic, said he had not been taking his medication.

Magistrate John Hodgins described the incident as "bizarre" and placed little weight on Relf's pledge that he meant no harm.

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