Murder victim Robert Martinez. His brother faced court yesterday for assault and robbery of a taxi driver.
Murder victim Robert Martinez. His brother faced court yesterday for assault and robbery of a taxi driver. Contributed

Murdered Rocky man’s brother robs and punches taxi driver

A ROCKHAMPTON man who robbed a taxi driver and punched him in the face acted out of grief while planning his murdered brother's funeral, Rockhampton District Court heard yesterday.

Andrew William Horsfall, 23, was sentenced to time behind bars after pleading guilty to one count each of robbery with personal violence and wilful damage after he attacked a Rockhampton taxi driver at 3am on March 19.

The court heard Horsfall, the brother of murder victim Robert Martinez, was in the process of planning his brother's funeral following the discovery of his body in October 2014.

Crown prosecutor Alexandra Baker told the court the taxi driver picked up Horsfall from a Denham St address who handed the driver a $20 note.

When reaching the destination, Horsfall became upset the taxi driver did not start the meter and demanded $5 change, and then to be given the $20 back.

Horsfall took the driver's mobile phone and ID card before walking to the front of the taxi and punching the bonnet, causing a dent.

He then walked to the driver's side window, tried to remove the key and bent it, "rendering it useless".

"He removed the victim's wallet and ran away when the victim pursued him and chased him around for a while," Ms Baker said.

Horsfall threw the victim's wallet at him and punched him in the face when the victim requested $600 to $700 in cash removed from the wallet was returned.

A victim impact statement revealed Mr Karthik was "apprehensive to drive at night and with drunk patrons".

"He terrorised the driver in the early hours of the morning while he was trying to do his job," Ms Baker said.

Defence solicitor Marie Willey told the court Horsfall felt "hard done by without the meter running".

"He had no intention to do anything than to get a ride," she said.

"At the time of the offence he was planning his brother's funeral and he was upset."

Judge Michael Burnett told Horsfall he "terrorised a vulnerable target".

"There is no excuse for this hoonish and despicable behaviour," Judge Burnett said.

Outside court, the taxi driver who identified himself as Mr Karthik, said he was pleased with the sentence.

"I wanted justice for this one so I'm pretty happy he pleaded guilty," Mr Karthik said.

"It's not about money, the thing is taxi drivers are not safe in Rockhampton, we are an easy target.

"People will lose hope in driving taxis and they will seek help for money.

"He can't take the law into his own hands and ask for money."

Horsfall was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison and an additional 12 months in prison with parole eligibility on June 23, 2016, and was ordered to pay $700 compensation.

Horsfall served 104 days pre-sentence custody for two breach of bail offences.



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