AAP: Man who kneed NSW cop in face jailed

(9 Feb)

A man who was high on ice when he savagely attacked a NSW policewoman who bought him a cup of tea while he was in custody has been jailed for at least four years.

Aaron Heather was having a drug-induced psychotic episode when he grabbed Sergeant Rachael Robins by the ponytail and kneed her four times in the head and punched her twice in the face.

In Sydney’s District Court on Tuesday, Judge David Wilson jailed the 43-year-old for eight years with a non-parole period of four years.

Sgt Robins suffered a broken nose and cuts to her face during the attack in the cells at Wyong Police Station, on the Central Coast.

Heather was being held in custody after his arrest in March 2019 at a property in Halekulani, north of Gosford, following reports of an assault.

He told arresting officers that police were “demonic people” and “demons that go live in the underworld”.

Heather pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to a police officer, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest as well as a number of other charges including stalking, wilful and obscene exposure, common assault, negligent driving, animal cruelty, trespassing and break and enter.

He told his 2020 sentence hearing it had taken between two to three months in prison following his arrest to realise what he had done after the drug ice had left his system.

He had been on antidepressants when his best friend died and stopped taking his medication before turning to cannabis, cocaine and ice to help him block out the pain of losing his mate.

Heather told the court he was “disgusted in myself” and “eternally sorry” for what he had done to Sgt Robins and his family, but had no memory of his actions.

Questioned by the judge, Heather admitted telling a psychologist after his arrest how he believed his dead friend had been taken by the devil.

“I started to think the devil was going to take me and my family as well,” Heather told the psychologist.

“I believed it 100 per cent at the time.”

The night before his arrest, Heather’s wife told him he was saying bizarre things and he needed to get rid of the drug ice, so he decided to eat the three grams he had left, causing him to hallucinate about the devil chasing him.

Asked by the judge why he had continued to take ice, Heather replied: “I was weak, Your Honour.”

Heather claimed he had no idea of the consequences of taking the drug “otherwise I would have stayed away from it”.

He said it wasn’t until he was no longer in a drug-induced psychotic state that he realised how ridiculous his thoughts had been.

Judge Wilson found Heather to be an impressive and honest witness who had shown genuine remorse.

The case was a difficult sentencing exercise as it appeared Heather had previously been a person of good character before “this extraordinary behaviour”.

He will become eligible for parole on March 17, 2023.

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