Koala kidnapper fined

Saved in September: Boot-bound Fredo meets his rescuers.
Saved in September: Boot-bound Fredo meets his rescuers.

A DRUNK and drugged man who abducted a koala, locked it in the boot of his car and drove it nearly 60km to Port Macquarie before crashing the vehicle has been fined $2400.

Fredo the koala was left in the boot of Owen John Delaney’s car without food or drink but was found 12 hours after a tip-off to police.

Delaney, 30, of Belmore St, Smithtown near Kempsey, appeared in Kempsey Local Court yesterday over the September matter.

He was charged with illegally possessing a protected animal.

Delaney told officers he had caught the koala in the backyard of a suburban home to save it from vicious dogs, the court heard.

He said he intended to release the animal back into the bush, but had been so doped up on drugs and alcohol he had forgotten it was in his car boot.

“I would not have been able to live with myself had the koala died as a result of my actions,” Delaney told police.

Police found Delaney wandering in a drug-and-alcohol induced daze near his crashed car at Frederickton.

The car had run off the road into a deep ditch and become bogged.

Delaney was trying to hitch a ride north on the Pacific Hwy when police found him about 2am.

He told the officers he had been at a party with his girlfriend but had an argument with her and took off in the car, eventually driving it into the ditch.

Delaney said he had smoked marijuana on the afternoon of September 3 before driving to Kempsey, where he drank four bottles of double vodka and lime.

He then got back in his car intending to head home, but had crashed near Frederickton.

Following his ordeal, Fredo recuperated at Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and was released back into the bush several days later.