REVEALED: the driving force behind a daylight armed robbery
TWO young men terrified a female staff member of a service station during an armed robbery because they both had money troubles.
Adikuyum Atu Marley Adidi, 19, and Nathan Ryan Robert Paul Baira, 21, were sentenced on April 22 in Rockhampton District Court for armed robbery in company, along with other minor offences.
Crown prosecutor Elise Sergeant said the pair attended the BP about 2pm on August 26, with Adidi armed with a knife and Baira armed with a wooden plank.
The pair robbed the BP Service Station at Aquatic Place on August 26, 2019, stealing four packets of cigarettes, the staff member’s mobile phone and $1293 in cash.
Adidi waved the knife at the victim, demanded cash and cigarettes, while Baira continuously whacked the wooden plank against shop fittings to frighten the female.
The pair fled after a car pulled up outside. The phone was the only item recovered – discovered by police in Kershaw Gardens.
The armed robbery took 10-15 seconds.
Both attended a police station the next day, accompanied by Adidi’s grandmother, where Adidi confessed and dictated an apology letter for the BP victim to police.
Both were on bail at the time for other offences.
Adidi had stolen a bicycle that was locked at a rack at Stockland Rockhampton on July 13.
He had also stolen $4500 from Muffin Break in Stockland on August 9 about 5.35pm while staff were closing up for the day and was caught on CCTV.
Adidi then broke into the canteen at CQUniversity on August 11 by throwing a rock at glass, leaving his DNA behind.
Adidi had no criminal record.
Baira had been subjected to a police search on his Gracemere residence on November 19, 2018, where police found three marijuana plants in pots inside a cupboard with a lamp above them.
They also found marijuana in a bowl beside Baira’s bed, methamphetamines in a clip seal bag in a glasses case, a homemade bong, a pipe and scissors.
Baira told police the plants were a friend’s, but he knew where they were.
Baira’s criminal record included an assault for punching a 16-year-old at Stockland, believing the teen had made threats of harm against Baira’s younger brother.
Adidi’s barrister Maree Wiley said her client had been placed in foster care after he was born and lived with two foster families until he turned 18.
She said he “struggled significantly” after his biological mother died when he was 12, and more after his foster sister died in 2018.
The court heard Adidi became a first-time father three weeks ago and had stressed about money in the lead up to the armed robbery, while Baira had lost his job.
Adidi told his lawyer he had done missionary work in Vanuatu and should have gone back there to build houses.
Baira’s barrister Ross Lo Monaco said Baira had been left in charge of caring for his younger siblings when his grandparents relocated to Townsville three years ago.
He said Baira had worked at McDonalds, KFC, Hungry Jacks, Callaghan Park as a bartender, and casual work as a DJ at Giddy Goat and private events.
Mr Lo Monaco said prior to the robbery, Baira had lost his job at Callaghan Park, his sister had moved to Mareeba to live with their mother and his brother had moved in with his girlfriend.
He said with no responsibilities, Baira’s life went downhill, starting with using cannabis and stopped boxing.
Mr Lo Monaco said Baira had boxed professionally from age 14 to 19, winning 40 of 46 fights, five losses and one draw.
He said Baira had gone to Palm Island in 2019 for many family funerals and ran into Adidi, a nephew he hadn’t seen in years due to Adidi being in foster care.
Mr Lo Monaco said the pair met up a couple of times after that, discussing financial problems and hatched the armed robbery plan.
Judge Michael Burnett ordered Adidi to three years and nine months prison and Baira to three years and three months prison, with both sentences to be suspended after 239 days (presentence custody) and operational for five years.
Both were also sentenced to two years probation.