Jail for man after meth-fuelled rampage

Marcus Brian James Forde. Photos: Rob Kidd
Marcus Brian James Forde. Photos: Rob Kidd
A Dunedin man capped off a week of meth-fuelled mayhem when he crashed with his pregnant partner and stole the car of a Good Samaritan, a court has heard.

Marcus Brian James Forde (35) was eventually arrested on June 14 and found with $32,000 cash and $18,000 of the class A drug stashed in his undies.

Judge David Robinson said co-defendant 26-year-old Taylor Anne Beckham’s involvement came under some duress and she was sentenced to seven months’ home detention and 100 hours’ community work.

The couple’s apprehension at a Waihola dairy “without incident” was in stark contrast to the preceding days’ events and Forde’s behaviour in the Dunedin District Court yesterday, where he was sentenced to five years, two months’ jail.

Forde turned his back to the courtroom after Judge David Robinson granted the Otago DailyTimes’ photography application, then remonstrated with the judge about the potential impact on his family.

He finally moved his hands from his face, only to use them to make offensive gestures at the media bench.

Between April and May last year, Forde and Beckham were selling methamphetamine and in June travelled from Invercargill to Christchurch to source more than 50g.

In a conversation intercepted by police, Forde bragged to another man about having “40, 50, 60K” a week to spend.

Things began to unravel just days later on June 9 though, when his erratic driving near Allanton was called in by the public and witnessed by officers.

Forde evaded police and swapped the car for a Harley-Davidson at his home.

The same evening, officers spotted the defendant on the motorcycle in King Edward St and twice tried to pull him over without success.

Taylor Beckham (26) gave birth to her child while on bail and received seven months’ home...
Taylor Beckham (26) gave birth to her child while on bail and received seven months’ home detention for her crimes.
After collecting $11,000 from a contact, Forde and Beckham were travelling north towards Dunedin to source more meth, when calamity struck.

The man veered off State Highway 1 and rolled the BMW three times before it came to a stop in a ditch.

Another motorist stopped to assist them but while he was on the phone to emergency services, the couple hopped into his Subaru and left him stranded.

As well as the methamphetamine and cash found on Forde, police also seized a 9mm pistol with blank rounds of ammunition and more than 100g of cannabis.

Counsel John Westgate said his client had an “entrenched” methamphetamine addiction that began at the age of 16.

“He’s probably spent half his life in prison and it’s directly related to drug offending,” he said.

“He needs help to beat that addiction . . . He’s accepted his life cannot go on like this.”

Forde was assessed as presenting a high risk of reoffending and of harm to others.

Beckham had spent a significant period on bail at a rehabilitation centre before giving birth to her child, counsel Sarah Saunderson-Warner said.

“Prison would be a significant backward step for you,” said Judge Robinson, who also reduced her sentence for significant trauma she had faced in the past.

“I hope this is the catalyst for real change in your life.” 



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