Shepparton man jailed for violent riverside assault

By Liz Mellino

A Shepparton man who assaulted another man before leaving him in the boot of a car partially submerged in the Goulburn River will spend the next few months in jail.

Jayden Welsh-Sheppard, 24, faced Shepparton Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday facing a range of charges including recklessly causing injury, unlawful imprisonment, possessing firearms and drug trafficking.

The court previously heard in the early hours of June 13, Welsh-Sheppard attended the scene of a partially submerged car in the Goulburn River in Toolamba.

While at the scene Welsh-Sheppard assaulted the victim, punching him to the face and ribs several times, before ordering him into the boot of the car before locking it shut and leaving.

The court heard the victim, who sustained a fractured jaw, cheekbone and abrasions to his face and lips, escaped the vehicle through the rear seat before flagging down a passing motorist.

Welsh-Sheppard self-presented to the Shepparton Police Station on June 18, where he was arrested, interviewed and bailed in relation to the incident.

The court heard on July 9, Welsh-Sheppard was observed driving a vehicle by a police officer who knew the accused was a suspended driver, on bail for a serious assault matter and was actively involved in recent drug activities.

Police attended the vehicle where they located a rifle magazine containing high-calibre rifle bullets in the accused's pocket along with a number of items in the vehicle, including three loaded improvised homemade firearms, shotgun cartridges, rifle bullets, two zip lock bags containing methamphetamine, glass ice pipe and a large hunting knife.

The court heard Welsh-Sheppard was arrested at the scene and taken to the Shepparton Police Station.

Some of the items police found inside the vehicle driven by Welsh-Sheppard.

That same evening police executed a search warrant at Welsh-Sheppard's home where they located a quantity of methamphetamine and hand-written drug ledgers.

Welsh-Sheppard's defense lawyer, Ian Michaelson, told the court his client had already served 134 days in custody.

Mr Michaelson said Welsh-Sheppard's pre-sentence report outlined he was a good candidate for a community corrections order, stating his prospects of rehabilitation were positive.

The court heard Welsh-Sheppard also had strong support from his family, who had been behind him throughout his court process.

“Your honour could now, in regards to time currently served in custody and his minimal criminal history, proceed to place him on a lengthy community corrections order,” Mr Michaelson said.

Some of the items police found inside the vehicle driven by Welsh-Sheppard.
Some of the items police found inside the vehicle driven by Welsh-Sheppard.

Magistrate Stella Stuthridge described the June assault as an "extraordinarily violent" and "extremely dangerous" offence, of which the gravity could not be underestimated.

When sentencing, Ms Stuthridge said she took into account the accused's young age, early plea of guilty and his good chance of rehabilitation.

Ms Stuthridge acknowledged a report that said Welsh-Sheppard had adjustment disorder, addiction and depression.

“Your character references are heart-wrenching; it appears away from drugs you are a really gentle, caring, supportive person who cares deeply about other people,” she said.

“I do think you are truly experiencing regret, shame and remorse.”

Welsh-Sheppard was sentenced to 17 months in prison, with a non-parole period of seven months, with 134 days declared as time served.