A man who threatened a pregnant shop attendant with a machete and toy gun told her to have a good day as he fled with cash and tobacco, a court has heard.
A man who threatened a pregnant shop attendant with a machete and toy gun told her to have a good day as he fled with cash and tobacco, a court has heard.

Pregnant victim pleaded with robber after gun ‘click’

ALBERT Frederick Riley told a pregnant shop attendant to "have a good day" as he left her shop after robbing her with a machete and a realistic, black toy gun.

Riley, 23, pleaded guilty to three counts of armed robbery in the Supreme Court at Launceston on Thursday, as well as evading police under aggravated circumstances and drug and driving offences.

The armed robberies occurred over two days on January 9 and 10 this year, and resulted in a head-on collision with a truck as Riley attempted to evade police.

He was transported to the Royal Melbourne Hospital with fractures to his face, arms, leg and pelvis.

The remains of Albert Frederick Riley’s car after he crashed into a track during an attempt to evade police. Picture: PATRICK GEE
The remains of Albert Frederick Riley’s car after he crashed into a track during an attempt to evade police. Picture: PATRICK GEE

The first robbery was at Kmart, as Riley pushed a trolley around the store with another man and filled it with various items totalling $600.

When they tried to push the trolley out of the store without paying, the security guard questioned him, asking "have you paid for it mate? Can you show me a receipt?".

Riley pulled a curved camping knife on the guard and left the store with the trolley.

Defence lawyer Hannah Phillips told the court he had not planned to produce a knife and it was a "spur of the moment" act.

She said he stayed up all night that night believing he was going to go to prison over the incident and worrying about how his partner and three stepchildren would be supported.

The next day Riley entered a BWS bottle shop at Ravenswood and selected a 10-pack of Jack Daniels and Cola.

As the attendant scanned the product, Riley stepped back, pulled out a realistic looking toy gun, pointed it at the man's head and said: "Give me the cash quickly. Don't think about it."

The shop attendant gave him $150 from the till and Riley drove off.

CCTV footage of the incident was played in court on Thursday.

Blood tests returned positive results for methamphetamine. Picture: PATRICK GEE
Blood tests returned positive results for methamphetamine. Picture: PATRICK GEE

About five minutes later, Riley entered Top Shop at Waverly, armed with a machete and the toy pistol.

He ordered the pregnant shop attendant to give him the $815 cash in the till and $4000 of tobacco products before telling her to close her eyes and count to 10, and wishing her a "good day".

Crown prosecutor Virginia Jones said the woman heard the gun "click" part-way through the ordeal and pleaded with Riley not to hurt her.

Ms Phillips said her client was not aware the woman was pregnant until he went behind the counter to collect the tobacco products, but conceded he could have left at that point.

The woman could be heard crying after Riley left the store in CCTV footage shown to the court.

Police spotted Riley driving on Punchbowl Rd at Norwood about 4.30pm that afternoon.

After they activated lights and sirens, Riley accelerated onto Penquite Rd and drove onto the wrong side of the wet road to pass cars before losing control of the car and colliding with an oncoming truck.

Blood tests returned positive results for methamphetamine.

Ms Phillips said Riley did not plan the robberies and there was no actual violence, but he understands the potential psychological impact to the victims who were not to know the gun was a toy.

Riley will be sentenced in Launceston on Friday.

Originally published as Pregnant victim pleaded with robber after gun 'click'


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