A one-time prison gang leader and extremely violent criminal from Wollongong who embarked on an ice-fuelled crime rampage in Canberra has been jailed for nearly eight years.
With time served and a non-parole term of just over five years, Damien Featherstone could be eligible for release in less than four years.
Featherstone, 31, who once called himself the head of the Illawarra chapter of the notoriously violent Brothers4Life prison gang, was binging on ice at a Canberra home in February last year when, with pockets full of drugs, he started to fear they would fall victim to a "run-through".
He called on the group to grab weapons and go rob a gun shop but when one man resisted, Featherstone shot him in the thigh at point blank range. His co-accused Rodney Bloxsome, 50, stabbed the man when he would not quiet down.
Leaving the man for dead, Featherstone and Bloxsome kidnapped a woman they believed had information about the purported run-through.
They tied her with cable ties and interrogated her during the 24-hour ordeal. Bloxsome raped the woman twice during her captivity at a Casey home. The entire time she was detained she believed her captors had shot, stabbed and left a man for dead.
At one stage, the group left and carjacked an elderly group at Ainslie Football Club, with Featherstone running up to the three people and brandishing a gun. They later broke into a Fyshwick military store hoping to steal guns, but they instead found knives.
At trial earlier this year Featherstone was found guilty of using an offensive weapon and unlawful confinement and had pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, taking a car without consent and property damage.
The court heard Featherstone had a history of drug abuse, serious mental health problems and a lengthy criminal history interrupted by time spent behind bars.
A pre-sentence report author had offered a pessimistic opinion of Featherstone, who had been labelled a high-risk of reoffending in part due to his antisocial attitudes and lack of employment.
The sentence handed down by Justice David Mossop was cautious about Featherstone's future. The judge said there was real doubt about his ability to rehabilitate himself and live a law-abiding life.
But he noted that his formerly volatile and violent behaviour in the Alexander Maconochie Centre had improved since December. The judge said this reflected Featherstone's recognition that the AMC was more conducive to his rehabilitation, and Featherstone had told the court the prison officers there "don't bash you" and talk to the prisoners like humans and not animals.
Justice Mossop sentenced Featherstone to seven years and nine months in jail, setting a non-parole term of five years and two months. With time already served Featherstone will be eligible for release in April 2023.
Bloxsome was sentenced on Thursday to 11 years and one month in jail, with a non-parole term of six years and 11 months for his role in the rampage.