Kiwi who robbed supermarket with pruning saw jailed

JAILED: CCTV image of Crete Campaign Wikotu committing the armed robbery.
JAILED: CCTV image of Crete Campaign Wikotu committing the armed robbery.

A KIWI who robbed a supermarket armed with a foot-long pruning saw faces deportation upon his release from jail after being sentenced to four-and-a-half-years behind bars.

Crete Campaign Wikotu, 35, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Ipswich District Court to armed robbery with personal violence and six other offences.

Crown prosecutor James Marxson told the court the armed robbery occurred on September 17, 2015 at the IGA West Ipswich.

He said Wikotu entered the store late at night wearing a hoodie, gloves and a cloth covering his face while brandishing the pruning saw.

"He walked behind the counter and grabbed the female attendant and told her to open the till," he said.

"He grabbed the $50, $20 and $10 notes from the till before fleeing the store.

"Police were subsequently called and police dogs tracked him to a nearby unit complex."

Mr Marxson said police discovered numerous items along the "scent trail" before Wikotu was discovered standing in the courtyard of the unit complex.

He said the robbery was a serious and brazen offence.

"Wikotu discarded a number of items while fleeing including gloves, clothing and the pruning saw," he said.

"DNA later linked him to the items he discarded along the escape route."

The court heard Wikotu had an extensive criminal history in New Zealand which included 22 convictions for violent offences spanning nearly two decades.

Defence barrister Stephen Kissick told the court Wikotu faced deportation back to New Zealand upon his release from prison.

He said his entire family lived in Australia but ultimately the decision would be up to immigration officials on whether he was allowed to stay.

"If he manages to stay in the country it would only be by the skin of his teeth," he said.

"He started using cannabis as a teen and that escalated into methamphetamine use.

"He has been drug free inside jail and says he no longer wants to be involved in that world."

Judge Greg Koppenol, before sentencing, asked Wikotu the origins of his christian name as it was unusual.

Wikotu said he was named in honour of his great grandfather who served in the Crete Campaign during the Second World War.

Judge Koppenol sentenced Wikotu to four-and-a-half-years behind bars but took into account the 264 days he had already served in pre-sentence custody.

Wikotu will be eligible to apply for parole on March 16, 2017.

Topics:  armed robbery court ipswich ipswich crime

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