| 22.10,19. 03:00 AM |
Armed bandit with black-marker 'tattoos' jailed over robbery at Rockhampton service station
CCTV shows Samuel James Walter Grant robbing a service station with fake tattoos (ABC News)
A 24-year-old man covered in fake tattoos drawn on with a black marker who robbed a service station with a replica gun in Rockhampton in central Queensland has been sentenced to nearly four years in jail.
Samuel James Walter Grant pleaded guilty to armed robbery, entering a premises with intent, driving under the influence, driving without a license, common assault, and supplying dangerous drugs, in the Rockhampton District Court.
The court heard Grant entered an Allenstown service station around midnight on February 2 and threatened two employees with an "exceptionally good" replica handgun.
Judge Michael Burnett told the court that Grant had planned to rob the store and had been drinking.
"You commenced by drawing tattoos upon your body … in order to assist in disguising your identity," Judge Burnett said.
"You armed yourself with a replica handgun — it is an exceptionally good replica … no doubt it would have been quite intimidating to anyone who saw it.
"You pointed the replica gun at the attendant, you demanded that he give you cigarettes and money, told him if he gave you trouble you'd click the button — your finger was seen to be on the trigger of the replica gun."
'I'm in trouble'
The court heard Grant left the store with $650 and up to 20 packets of cigarettes.
"You raised your arms and apologised … and said something along the lines of, 'I'm in trouble'," Judge Burnett told the court.
Crown prosecutor William Slack told the court there was a degree of planning and forethought put into the crime and that despite the gun being a replica, the shop employees believed it to be real.
He said a firm sentence was necessary to deter others from targeting small stores open at night.
"Service stations and small shops, particularly those which provide services at night to the public, are recognised as vulnerable to attack and the potential harm to victims psychologically in most cases, and physically in many, is set to justify a firm line in sentencing," Mr Slack said.
Family and friends of the accused attended court and defence lawyer Jordan Ahlstrand asked the judge to take his supportive family and good upbringing into account.
Mr Ahlstrand told the court Grant's eight-and-a-half months in pre-sentence custody had been used well and showed good signs for rehabilitation.
"He has used his time in the custodial environment in a very positive way, notwithstanding his relative youth, he is a man who comes before the court with a favourable education," he said.
"He comes from a favourable family and he has an excellent work history."
'You come from a very good family'
In sentencing, Judge Burnett told the court Grant's early plea of guilty, his youth, supportive family and strong work ethic were in his favour, but that he must be deterred from this "anti-social behaviour".
"Your history suggests your offending and anti-social behaviour has escalated and this latest episode reflects that," he said.
"You come from a very good family and no doubt your behaviour must be a bitter disappointment to them.
"They loved you and nurtured you … they gave you the best of education, your siblings have all done well.
"Your general employment history shows a strong work ethic and that is to be encouraged as that is of course a very strong rehabilitative factor."
Judge Burnett referred to a number of character references that spoke highly of Grant and of his own letter of apology.
"You are still only 24 and rehabilitation is not lost sight of … it should be the focus for what is essentially a first serious offence," Judge Burnett said.
Grant was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison, with a parole release date on January 20, 2020, under supervision.