FINANCE BCM - 5/11/06 - Generic images at Bunnings Hardware at Albion. Pic: Grant Parker
FINANCE BCM - 5/11/06 - Generic images at Bunnings Hardware at Albion. Pic: Grant Parker

Armed robbery over $70 items

A MAN, 35, who has tried to rehabilitate from drugs with four and three-year breaks between drug-related offending threatened to kill a Bunnings employee, spat on them and racially abused them during an armed robbery.

He was introduced to marijuana by an uncle when he was eight years old and methamphetamines when he was 10.

Christopher Robert Miller pleaded guilty in Rockhampton District Court on Tuesday to one count of armed robbery with violence, and one each of serious assault with intent to resist arrest, stealing, obstruct police, unlawful possession of suspected stolen property, possessing tainted property, fraud, possess dangerous drug and possess drug utensils.

Judge Vicki Loury, who is visiting from Brisbane, said Miller had shown no remorse for his actions towards the Bunnings employee during the prolonged incident.

CCTV footage of the armed robbery played in court showed an assault and attempt to flee with stolen goods by Miller on March 7, 2018.

Crown prosecutor Alexandra Baker said a Bunnings Lost Prevention Officer observed Miller place Bunnings items in a bag and intercepted the defendant, who was attempting to leave without paying, at the exit door before the atrium, requesting to look inside his bag.

Miller refused to open his bag and attempted to leave, with the LSO trying to stop him by placing a hand on Miller’s arm to which Miller respond with “don’t touch me”.

The LSO told Miller he could see items bulging out from under his clothes.

Miller responded “you can’t touch me” and pushed past the LSO.

There was another Bunnings employee seen in the CCTV footage following the pair throughout the atrium during the incident.

The pair struggled which included the LSO trying to restrain Miller by pushing up against a wall while Miller reached into his pocket, told the man he had a knife, swiped at the man and scratched him, and pushed him many times.

Miller told the victim: “I’m going to give you AIDS” and spat on him.

Miller also told the victim: “go back to your country, you dog. F--- off you Lebanese c---.”

The victim followed Miller in his car and told police where to find him.

Miller rode his bicycle across four lanes of traffic trying to escape police.

He was identified as the robber through a DNA match to blood from the victim’s shirt.

Police found $70 of Bunnings items in his bag, along with 5kg of rib fillet steak worth $63 which he had stolen from IGA earlier in the day and cable ties from Kmart suspected to be stolen.

Ms Baker said a Stanley knife blade wrapped in sticky tape was found on Miller when police found him later.

“One imagines if that blade struck his (victim) skin, it would be cut,” Judge Loury said.

The court heard the victim had been struck at his right wrist area and left upper chest.

Defence lawyer Maree Willey said Miller’s pregnant partner, who is due in July 2020, was in court in support.

“While your client was awaiting trial for armed robbery, he got his partner pregnant?” Judge Loury said.

“I find that irresponsible.”

Ms Willey said he also had a 13-year-old who lived with his brother.

She said his mother was also in court in support, and his father died when Miller was a teenager.

“During his teen years, his behaviour was too disruptive for his mother to handle,” Ms Willey said.

She said he was introduced to drugs and ended up living on the streets.

The court was told Miller’s first record on his adult criminal record was from when he was 17 and committed robbery with violence while pretending to be armed.

He then had two sentences for property offences from when he was 19, with the second resulting in a prison term.

Miller received an 18-month prison term when he was 24, in 2008, and was not before a court again until 2013 for stealing and common assault.

Judge Loury said the 2013 offending involved Miller entering a liquor store, taking a bottle and attempting to leave without paying.

She said the manager intervened and was punched in the mouth as Miller left the store.

Miller was again in court in 2015 where he received a two-year prison term, serving seven months.

Judge Loury ordered Miller to three years prison for the Bunnings armed robbery, declared 224 days presentence custody and set a parole release date of April 16, 2020.

“You have offered no apology to the man you robbed, spat on and abused,” she said.

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