FIFO worker lost job during COVID-19 and turned to steroids

First he lost his job due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Then his wife walked out on him the following day, taking their four sons with her.

As a coping mechanism, Matthew Peter Hepburn turned to working out at the gym, becoming obsessed with his body and desire to become a bodybuilder.

But to achieve his dream of bodybuilding, he carried out the illegal actions of acquiring restricted and illicit drugs to help, which landed him in court.

Hepburn, 28, pleaded guilty in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on February 26 to 12 charges of possessing illicit drugs or restricted drugs.

The charges were the result of two Australia Post parcel intercepts and a raid on Hepburn’s residence last year.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Shaun Janes said staff at the Australia Post depot in Burnett St, Berserker, received a suspicious parcel addressed to Hepburn on October 6 which police found contained vials and a container of steroids and other drugs.

The second parcel, which was intercepted on November 17, contained growth hormones and steroids.

Sgt Janes said police executed a search warrant on Hepburn’s house on Tomkins St, Berserker, at 8.09am on November 25.

He said Hepburn declared two vials of steroids in the bathroom cabinet.

Sgt Janes said Hepburn told police he used the substances because he wanted to be a body builder and wanted to enter body building competitions.

He said the defendant told police he was “coming off” the illegal substances.

Hepburn’s criminal recorded showed entries for methamphetamines in 2013 and a burglary charge.

Defence lawyer Jodi Brown said her client turned to steroids at a low point in his life.

She said prior to COVID-19, Hepburn had worked in Darwin as a FIFO employee.

Ms Brown said he lost his job due to COVID-19 border closures and his wife walked out on him the next day, taking their four sons.

She said he turned to the gym afterwards and had low self-esteem.

Ms Brown said Hepburn turned to steroids and developed body dysmorphia – a mental health disorder where the person becomes obsessed with a part of their body – which he had been diagnosed with and was receiving treatment for.

She said her client was trying to reconcile with his wife and he still supported his family financially having found a job in Central Queensland.

Magistrate Cameron Press said he was not surprised Hepburn had been diagnosed with body dysmorphia given the amount of steroids he was busted with.

He sentenced Hepburn to a 10-month probation order and fined him $1500. Convictions were recorded.