Neighbour tells court of bushland robbery

A COUPLE is on trial accused of locking a woman in a car, beating her and stealing thousands of dollars in cash at Redbank Plains.

Andrew Keith Eyles, 33, and Eliza Dee Pearson, 34, have pleaded not guilty in the Ipswich District Court to unlawful assault, robbery while armed and deprivation of liberty.

The two have been accused of taking one of their neighbours into bushland at the southern end of Keidges Rd in Redbank Plains, against her will, assaulting her and taking thousands of dollars she had in a handbag in December, 2011.

The alleged victim, Sarah Jane Van Donkelaar, claims Pearson and Eyles were driving her to an ATM at Redbank Plains where they had promised to withdraw $200 to pay back a longstanding debt before they moved to Townsville.

The court heard Ms Van Donkelaar had saved more than $4000 in cash that she was planning to use to buy a car.

Ms Van Donkelaar told the court that while in the car they drove past the ATM and Eyles said he needed to get the money from a friend of his who was in the bushland.

She testified she felt uncomfortable at this stage and told them to let her out.

She tried to open the car door at the traffic lights but found the child locks were keeping her inside.

According to Ms Van Donkelaar, Eyles eventually slowed the car, performed a U-turn and parked after leaving the sealed section of Keidges Rd.

Ms Van Donkelaar alleged Eyles walked around and opened her car door while holding a large, jagged knife. She told the court Eyles said, "you know what this is…I want it all", before he began to assault her.

She alleged Eyles threw her on the ground repeatedly while Pearson first took her purse, and then her whole handbag and locked it in the car's boot.

They then allegedly sped off and Ms Van Donkelaar, covered in scratches and missing a thong, made her way to a nearby home, where the residents called police.

Ms Van Donkelaar told the court the couple stole cash, but the man whose door she knocked on said she told him they had her bank card and PIN number.

She told the court she had $3500 in a "Spongebob tin" in her handbag.

The next day she found the bag at her Redbank Plains apartment complex with all the money taken out of her purse and the tin.

However, the police officer who first inspected the bag described a small tin with a "Shrek" design rather than a "Spongebob" design.

The defence lawyers of Pearson and Eyles questioned Ms Van Donkelaar's recollection of the event and her character as a witness.



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