A man who tried to kill a teenage girl who he hunted “like an animal” with a bow and arrow through a supermarket will spend the next 10 years and six months in jail.
Benjamin Jeremy Bourke, 28, pleaded guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday to the attempted murder of the teenager at an Aldi in Booval, west of Brisbane, in September 2020.
Prosecutor Matt Le Grand told the court Bourke had armed himself with the compound bow, two knives and three small sledge hammers when he left his home.
The court heard Bourke had an argument with his housemate earlier in the day and decided to end his life. Mr Le Grand said his solution was to get the police to shoot him and he constructed a plan to achieve that goal.
“He decided to take a life, he just didn’t know which life he would take,” Mr Le Grand said.
The court heard Bourke had made his way on foot while wearing a mask, hoodie and full length pants.
Mr Le Grand said Bourke had considered “choosing” to shoot a mother who was with her small child “as his target” but decided to find someone else to attack.
CCTV footage also showed Bourke firing his compound bow at an Indigenous woman who was jogging nearby but the arrow missed her.
“His reason for (shooting at her) was that the woman was Indigenous and he didn’t like Indigenous (people),” Mr Le Grand said.
Mr Le Grand said Bourke continued on to the shopping precinct as “there would be more witnesses at the shops”.
“Causing an alarm was part of Mr Bourke’s plan,” he said. “It’s when he reached the Aldi shop, he found his target.”
The court heard the teenage girl was locking her bike on the street when Bourke spotted her.
He walked up to her and removed his mask and said: “I’ll let you see who I am first” before he shot his compound bow, firing an arrow which narrowly missed her.
Mr Le Grand said the girl entered the Aldi in an effort to escape but Bourke “pursued” and released another arrow which grazed her right arm.
Bourke stalked the girl around the store as she tried to hide behind a pallet. He shot at her again, this time hitting her left hand, phone and upper torso, causing an injury to her fingers and chest.
The girl managed to escape his sight and showed her injury to customer, with the arrow still lodged in her torso.
Bourke shot at her again a few times but missed. Then, armed with a small sledge hammer, he walked up to the girl asking for his arrow back.
Two men then tackled him to the ground and held him before police arrived.
Mr Le Grand said Bourke had shown a lack of remorse since the attack.
“She was hunted like an animal around the store for about four minutes,” he said.
“This was a premeditated and purposeful attack.”
Mr Le Grand said Bourke has never inquired about the girl’s health following the attack despite “multiple opportunities to express remorse”.
The court heard Bourke had read the victim impact statements last week.
“Upon reflection on those things he instructed me he is sorry,” Bourke’s defence barrister, Charlotte Smith, said.
“That’s the first occasion that’s been expressed.”
Justice Tom Sullivan sentenced Bourke to 10 years and six months in jail. The 946 days he’s already served in custody will be taken into account.