Former AFL star Ben Cousins jailed for 12 months

Former West Coast Eagles AFL player Ben Cousins arrives at the Fremantle Magistrates Court in January.
Former West Coast Eagles AFL player Ben Cousins arrives at the Fremantle Magistrates Court in January. RICHARD WAINWRIGHT

TROUBLED former AFL star Ben Cousins has been jailed for 12 months.

The Brownlow Medallist faced Perth Magistrates Court on 11 charges, including breaching a restraining order, stalking and drug possession, on Tuesday.

He pleaded guilty at an earlier court appearance.

The charges stem from complaints made by his estranged partner, Maylea Tinecheff, the mother of his two young children, who he is court-ordered to stay at least 50m from.

Cousins, 38, has been in jail since police arrested him at a home in Melville, Perth, at the end of February.

The jail sentence is a sad conclusion to the dramatic fall from grace for the drug-addicted former West Coast captain.

When Cousins was arrested, police found eight grams of methamphetamine in his possession, which his lawyer Michael Tudori told the court would only last him four days.

In a plea hearing on Monday, Mr Tudori told the court his client was "happy and willing" to go to rehab, but did not want the matter dealt with in the drug court, which monitors addicts.

Mr Tudori previously said Cousins' time behind bars had been sobering and a rare opportunity had come up for a spot in a residential rehab program.

But the court also heard last week that Cousins' phone calls were tapped in prison, and in one conversation he told his father he could quit whenever he wanted.


Ben Cousins playing for the West Coast Eagles in 2005.
Ben Cousins playing for the West Coast Eagles in 2005. TONY MCDONOUGH

"I'm not going to stop. I don't want to stop," he told him.

His parents were in court on Monday and he smiled at them a few times during proceedings.

They did not talk to reporters as they left the court.

Cousins' prison sentence is the latest in a string of off-field controversies that have plagued the former West Coast Eagles star.

He was arrested earlier this year and charged with drugs and stalking offences as well as multiple counts of breaching a violence restraining order. He was fined for similar offences in December.

Last November he was hospitalised following a car crash, which occurred the day after a warrant was issued for his arrest for failing to appear in a Perth court. On that occasion he was expected to front court on charges of possessing methamphetamine and two counts of breaching a restraining order over an incident in October.

That incident involved his ex-girlfriend, whom he was warned to stay away from.


Ben Cousins with his 2005 Brownlow Medal.
Ben Cousins with his 2005 Brownlow Medal. ROBERT CIANFLONE

Cousins also made headlines in July when he was found directing traffic on a busy Perth highway in a disoriented state and was taken to hospital.

During that incident, police were called to the Canning Highway after Cousins had spent up to three hours with window washers and appeared "lost, confused, making no sense at all", according to one witness.

He was also assessed at a mental health facility in 2015 after breaking into Perth's Special Air Service Regiment.

Cousins was a star of West Coast's 2006 premiership-winning team, but his career and life descended into a downward spiral due to his problems with substance abuse.

He was suspended by the club in early 2007 and spent time in an American rehab facility, then in October that year he was arrested for drug possession and banned from playing in the AFL for 12 months.

Richmond offered the fallen star a lifeline when they selected him in the pre-season draft late in 2008.

He played 32 games for the Tigers, the last of which was in 2010.

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