A Coast pensioner has been refused bail after being charged with drug trafficking.
A Coast pensioner has been refused bail after being charged with drug trafficking. Rockhampton Morning Bulletin

Gambling leads to man stealing money from mum

RONNIE James Sterritt's gambling addiction became so consuming he took $1000 from his mother's bank account to bet online.

But the addiction also left Sterritt without the money to pay for fuel, or the bill he racked up at a Cairns resort.

Sterritt this week pleaded guilty in Rockhampton Magistrates Court to unlawful use of a motor vehicle, stealing, two counts of fraud and three counts of unlicensed driving.

The court heard Sterritt's mother had given him permission to borrow her car for an hour on November 6, but became concerned when he didn't return.

She reported the car stolen after several unsuccessful attempts to contact him.

This report alerted police when they ran checks on the BMW sedan during patrols on Lakes Creek Rd on November 17.

Police eventually pulled him over on Bolsover St and found he was not licensed.

Between November 6 and 17, Sterritt had driven from Cairns to Rockhampton.

Police prosecutor Danita Clarke said Sterritt was charged with a further two unlicensed driving charges after police observed him driving along Quay St on November 16 and at a Craiglie service station on November 11.

While at the Craiglie service station, Sterritt also stole $70.01 worth of fuel.

Sterritt also faced two fraud charges.

Ms Clarke said the first related to a room Sterritt had booked at the Cairns Rydges resort on October 24.

She said Sterritt left the building without paying his $1477.80 food and accommodation bill.

The second fraud charge related to $1000 Sterritt transferred from his mother's bank account between November 5 and 11 to fuel his gambling addiction.

Sterritt told police he had helped his mother place a bet on the Melbourne Cup, but contined to transfer money to the site which had retained her bank details.

Defence solicitor Brian McGowran said Sterritt had "sunk so much money into gambling that it's affected all other aspects of his life".

He said Sterritt intended to pay everything back and overcome his addiction.

But Magistrate Michael O'Driscoll said with a SPER debt of $5206.80 which had not been paid since August 2009, any promise to repay the money should be taken with a "grain of salt".

Sterritt was sentenced to 18 months probation for the unlawful use of a motor vehicle, stealing and fraud charges, with no convictions recorded.

He was sentenced to 18 months probation with convictions recorded for the three unlicensed driving charges and ordered to pay $2547.81 restitution.



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