Violent home invaders cop prison terms

FOUR people responsible for a violent home invasion at Kingsthorpe have received jail terms ranging from two years to six years.

Cameron Robert Rhodes, 27, Dylan Joseph Sharpley, 21, Justin Marc Watts, 24, and Tammesen Kate Ralph, 22, pleaded guilty to their respective roles in the armed robbery of a man at his Kingsthorpe home late on New Year's Eve, last year.

Rhodes had been armed with a .22 rifle at the time with which he threatened to the shoot the 58-year-old victim as Watts and Sharpley rifled through the home looking for money and property. Ralph had remained at with a car around the corner listening to a police scanner.

Motivation for the violent event was to get money for drugs, Toowoomba District Court heard.

The victim's car keys, mobile phone and his wallet containing $130 cash, bankcards and a piece of paper with his PIN were taken and Rhodes and Ralph, who were in a relationship at the time, used the man's bankcard to withdraw $1000 from an ATM.

All four had extensive criminal histories and Watts was on parole at the time for drug trafficking offences, the court heard.

The three men had spent almost a year since the offence in pre-sentence custody while Ralph had 35 days pre-sentence custody.

Judge Deborah Richards said the home invasion was planned and that taking a gun to a robbery increased the level of seriousness.

Sharpley, who has three children including a six-month-old child born while his father was in custody and who he saw for the first time in court this week, was sentenced to six years jail but ordered to be eligible to apply for release on parole as of January 7, 2016.

Watts was sentenced to six years jail with parole eligibility from December 12, 2016.

Rhodes was sentenced to five years' jail with a parole eligibility of January 12, 2016; while mother of one Ralph was sentenced to two years' jail but ordered to be released on parole as of June 12, next year.



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