"Get back inside": Man jailed for highway chase
A CORINDI BEACH man has been sentenced to two years in prison for an offence described as "one of the worst examples of domestic violence, absent actual violence" the magistrate has seen in a long time.
Dwayne Winkler, 30, appeared before Grafton Local Court yesterday via audio visual link pleading guilty to a domestic violence charge of stalk and intimidate to cause fear of physical or mental harm, and driving in a dangerous or reckless manner.
The charges related to an incident on the morning of October 6, in which Winkler confronted his wife of four years as she was in the car ready to take the children to school, before he initiated a harrowing chase in his own car that went all the way to Grafton.
The court heard that she had the children in the car when he began yelling abuse at her through the closed driver's side window, using words like "get back inside c**t."
The victim became fearful and started to reverse the vehicle, making contact with an object and causing damage to the car.
According to the facts Winkler became enraged, pulled a
plastic driving light cover off the vehicle and threw it at the car.
The complainant drove away and stopped the car near a school, where one of the children indicated they were too upset to attend.
Meanwhile, he followed her in his own car and as she drove away overtook her vehicle, narrowly missing an oncoming car in the process. He braked harshly, causing her to stop, and got out of the car to "talk" to her.
After agreeing to go home with the intention to go to the police station, she left again. He followed her at speed through a school zone and a 40km/h zone and once she drove on to the Pacific Hwy towards Grafton, continued to drive erratically, overtaking her car repeatedly and at times following her vehicle at an extremely close range.
At one point he stopped his vehicle in the left lane, before he eventually pulled to the shoulder of the road.
The second time he stopped, he stood in the lane of the highway to make her stop the vehicle.
When one of the children opened a car window, he jumped through it, and as the victim slowly put the vehicle into motion he pulled the handbrake on and took the keys from the ignition.
Several people stopped and offered to help the visibly distressed woman, and when one person refused to leave he left. He later confronted the victim in Grafton.
In sentencing, Magistrate Robyn Denes drew similarities between the case and a highly publicised domestic assault case on the Gold Coast last month, which led to the death of young mother Tara Brown.
"The facts are horrendous," she said.
Winkler was sentenced to two years jail, with a non-parole period of 18 months.