The robber with a cash tattoo tells court he had no gun

A BANK robber, who once got a cash tattoo to mark a successful hold-up, has argued his sentence was too harsh because he only pretended he had a weapon and a "small town" judge wanted to make an example of him.

John Robert Cole was sentenced in December to nine years behind bars, with parole eligibility in 2021.

He entered the Westpac Bank at Stockland Rockhampton in January last year and stole $10,000.

Cole told the Queensland Court of Appeal on Wednesday he believed his jail sentence was excessive.

"I don't think the comparative sentences used in my case were very similar," he said.

"I pretended to be armed and my comparative sentences were for people with actual rifles, live ammunition."

Cole argued the robbery location "had a lot more weight and bearing on my sentence" because he was in a country area "as opposed to a city area".

"Cos I'm in Rockhampton and I was charged with robbing a bank. There was so much publicity around it, being a small town, and the judge wanted to … send a strong message to the community," he said.

Repeatedly apologising for the way he addressed the court, Cole said: "I'm sorry, I'm just a bit lost, I don't know how to do this, I'm not good at it".

Crown prosecutor Greg Cummings said the head sentence was appropriate and, given the opportunities Cole had to rehabilitate, the parole eligibility date also was fitting.

Chief Justice Catherine Holmes said the appeal court would allow an extension for Cole to appeal his sentence but he must send relevant comparative sentences to it by Wednesday next week.

"We will then proceed to determine the matter on what we then have," she said.

Cole, when he was living in Ipswich, held up Northcliffe Surf Club at Surfers Paradise with a knife and stole $18,000.

He and the woman he committed the robbery with, had each other's names and wads of cash tattooed on their skin - along with the words "Partner in crime". - ARM NEWSDESK



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