The Cooloola Cove man took a sledgehammer to a vending machine at Rainbow Beach while drunk. Picture: File photo
The Cooloola Cove man took a sledgehammer to a vending machine at Rainbow Beach while drunk. Picture: File photo

Drunk mechanic attacks vending machine with sledgehammer

A COOLOOLA Cove man who tried to "have a conversation" with a vending machine before smashing it with a sledgehammer was fined $400 in Gympie Magistrates Court this week.

Piriniha Te Whenua Kelly, 41, pleaded guilty to wilfully damaging property at Rainbow Beach Car Wash on October 19 last year.

Police prosecutor Lisa Manns said CCTV footage showed an intoxicated Kelly approach a vending machine at the car wash, "have a conversation with it", and then kick and punch it before leaving.

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He later returned with a sledgehammer and changed his clothes to try to hide his identity, but did not change his shoes.

He smashed the vending machine with the sledgehammer, causing $391 of damage, the court heard.

Defence lawyer Chris Anderson said the car wash was across the road from where Kelly was living at the time, but he had since moved to Cooloola Cove.

Mr Anderson said Kelly worked as a mechanic and had three kids who lived with their mother, whom he was separated from.

Mr Anderson said on the night of the offence Kelly had been drinking and could not remember much of what happened.

He remembered playing music and drinking at a friend's party, going to a pub and drinking a significant amount.

Magistrate Chris Callaghan fined Kelly $400.

Gympie Times

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