Nikko bandit sentenced after violent armed robbery
A YOUNG man from a good family was sentenced to prison yesterday after he drunkenly robbed a service station, armed with a replica handgun, with permanent marker on his face to disguise his appearance.
Samuel James Walter Grant, 24, pleaded guilty in Rockhampton District Court today to armed robbery, as well as drug-driving, common assault, driving unlicensed, possessing explosives, supplying a dangerous drug, and enter premises with intent.
He was supported in court by both his family and family friends.
Crown Prosecutor Will Slack said the armed robbery took place at United Petroleum on Lower Dawson Rd, Allenstown, around midnight on February 2, 2019.
Mr Slack said Grant entered the service station armed with a replica handgun and had markings on his face, which he drew himself, and had applied makeup to a tattoo on his arm to conceal his identity.
There were two people inside the store at the time of the offence, a civilian and employee.
He pushed the civilian and pointed the gun at him first, requesting cigarettes and money, and threatening to shoot if he did not comply.
He then turned to the employee and requested the same, pointing the gun at him.
The employee gave him $650 from the till and placed about 15-20 packets of cigarettes in Grant's bag.
Grant apologised to both victims as he left the store, saying, "I'm in trouble".
After police released CCTV footage of the incident, members of the public identified Grant.
Police executed a search warrant at his house a few days later, where they found the gun, one shotgun bullet and clothing worn on the night of the offence. Checks revealed he was not the holder of a weapon's licence.
When questioned, he was honest with police about the offending and said he had used $100 of the stolen money to buy cannabis for his ex-girlfriend.
The court heard his driver's licence was suspended the night he drove to the service station.
Mr Slack said the fact Grant drew on his face and covered up his tattoo demonstrated a degree of thought and planning was put into the offence.
Although, he noted, it was a failed attempt to avoid police detection.
Barrister Jordan Ahlstrand said Grant came from a decent family, however, had a problem with alcohol abuse.
Mr Ahlstrand said Grant started drinking alcohol when he was 16, which progressed when he started working at Peak Downs mine as an industrial cleaner at 19.
"He says he became a daily drinker for the two years prior to commencing this offence," he said.
"He realises alcohol has caused many problems in his life."
Mr Ahlstrand also said Grant started smoking cannabis socially at 15 and experimented with methamphetamine at 19. However, he said this was hindered by drug testing while working at the mines.
When speaking about the armed robbery, Mr Ahlstrand said Grant was heavily intoxicated and had apologised before leaving the service station.
"He apologises to the court, community and his family and is embarrassed by his actions," he said.
Mr Ahlstrand said Grant wished to return to work in the mines and address his alcohol abuse upon his release.
Judge Michael Burnett noted Grant had a minor criminal history but an escalating traffic history.
He said deterrence was a significant factor in Grant's sentencing.
"Service stations and small shops, particularly those that provide services at night to the public, are vulnerable to attack," Judge Burnett said.
"This conduct cannot be tolerated in our society.
"We can't have people wandering around in the early hours of the morning thinking they can target a service station or other small store. Stronger sentences have to be called for."
Grant was sentenced to three years and nine months' imprisonment with a parole release date of January 20, 2020. He was disqualified from driving for three years and six months.