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Taxi driver attacked by man armed with steel pole

AN INTOXICATED man who tried to rob a ­Rockhampton taxi driver with a steel pole says he does not know why he did it as he did not need money.

Denzel James Hayden, 22, pleaded guilty in ­Rockhampton District Court on November 29 to one count of attempted armed robbery and one count of enter premise and commit indictable offence.

Crown prosecutor ­Alexandra Baker said Hayden hailed the taxi at a ­Rockhampton service station on March 1 and had the driver take him to multiple addresses.

She said at the third ­address, Hayden went inside and returned with a steel pole.

Ms Baker said he used the pole to strike the driver – “an inherently vulnerable target” – through the window at the back of the neck and ­demanded money.

Judge Vicki Loury said Hayden struck the driver a ­second time and went to hit him a third time, in a spear like manner, but the victim was able to block the attack with his hands.

She said the driver ­attempted to hit the panic ­button but Hayden noticed.

The driver was able to ­distract Hayden and drive off before the robbery could be ­finalised.

But that did not stop ­Hayden from taking items from others.

He, and a cooffender, then kicked in the front window of the David Motel in Musgrave St, shattering the glass and stealing bottles of alcohol from a fridge.

Ms Baker said police used tracking dogs and located Hayden in his North ­Rockhampton home.

Defence barrister Jordan Ahlstrand said Hayden had a prejudicial childhood ­surrounded by alcohol abuse and domestic violence.

He said Hayden had ­returned to the region to help look after his 13-year-old brother after their mother sought Hayden’s help as the teen responded to Hayden when disciplined.

Mr Ahlstrand said Hayden was also a father of four ­children who lived with their mothers.

He said at the time of the ­offending, Hayden had been to his grandmother’s funeral at Woorabinda, consumed ­alcohol, had a fight with his partner and went to a friend’s place were he had ­methamphetamines.

“He has limited recollection of the attempted armed ­robbery,” Mr Ahlstrand said.

“He didn’t need the money and doesn’t know why he ­assaulted the taxi driver.

“He feels very bad about what he did to the taxi driver.”

Ms Baker said Hayden had a six-page criminal record ­including being sentenced in August 2018 for entering premises, stealing and failing to appear in court.

Then he was sentenced in January 2019 for stealing and failing to appear.

Hayden was on parole at the time of the taxi incident.

Ms Baker said his ­engagement while on parole was unsatisfactory, having ­failed to report four times and not engaging with external agencies.

Judge Vicki Loury said Hayden’s criminal record ­suggested he had a “real problem with alcohol”.

She ordered him to a three year and one month prison term, declared 77 days presentence custody and set parole eligibility on March 1, 2020.

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