A 56-year-old man who was on parole for stealing from an aged care facility has narrowly escaped being locked up after robbing a church.
A 56-year-old man who was on parole for stealing from an aged care facility has narrowly escaped being locked up after robbing a church.

‘Veteran criminal’ stole from aged care facility and church

A 56-year-old Redcliffe man, born deaf, with more than 100 stealing convictions has once again faced the court.

Andrew James Murphy pleaded guilty in Redcliffe Magistrates Court to three charges including burglary, attempted break and enter and wilful damage, on April 6.

The court heard that on February 3 Murphy gained entry to the Redcliffe Salvation Army Church.

After searching for money he spotted the CCTV cameras. Murphy then stole the USB which captured the CCTV footage.

Three days later Murphy attempted to gain entry to the presbyterian church at Enoggera after being told earlier in the week they could not give him any money.

The court heard Murphy had committed 110 convictions for stealing and burglary in the past and was on parole when he committed the offence.

Murphy was put on parole by the Brisbane Magistrates Court in October 2020 after pleading guilty to 18 offences - these included breaking into the rooms of residents at an aged care facility and searching for money.

Murphy, via an interpreter, told the court he committed the most recent offences because he had used his disability pension to pay for a dentist appointment and a new headlight for his car and had no money left for living expenses.

Magistrate Burns asked Murphy if any of his previous offences had been committed for "greed, not need". Murphy said yes, he had stolen before for gain.

Murphy also told the court, via the interpreter, that he had travelled to the church at Enoggera to steal the money as everyone in Redcliffe knew him.

"I knew if I did something here I'd be caught. I thought if I went to a different area I might not be known," he said.

Andrew James Murphy has been sentenced after breaking into a Redcliffe church.
Andrew James Murphy has been sentenced after breaking into a Redcliffe church.

Murphy's lawyer told the court his client would be subjected to a harsher prison sentence than others due to his deafness.

Magistrate Burns said Murphy was a "veteran criminal" and the sentence needed to act as a deterrent.

He said the defendant's disability could have worked as a reason for the offending for the first 10, 20 or even 30 offences but not now.

"We are passed the ton," Magistrate Burns said.

"There is just no let up, you say do what you like and I'll do it again."

Murphy was sentenced to six months for the burglary offence and three months each for the attempted break and enter and wilful damage charges.

The sentence was suspended for 12 months.

He was ordered to pay $60 to the Salvation Army to cover the costs of the stolen USB and $500 for the damage to the church door.

Originally published as 'Veteran criminal' stole from aged care facility and a church


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