She hid in car while he 'smashed pokie winner's face'

Chrystal Maree Cahill, 31, was jailed for her role in a violent armed robbery.
Chrystal Maree Cahill, 31, was jailed for her role in a violent armed robbery.

A MAN and woman behind the violent robbery of a cashed-up Toowoomba pub patron have been jailed for five and three years respectively.

Leighton Maurice Houkamau, 42, and Chrystal Maree Cahill, 31, had gone to the Southern Hotel in Ruthven St on the night of November 24 last year where the 34-year-old male complainant was playing the poker machines.

The complainant had arrived at the pub with $320 cash in his wallet and within a couple of hours had picked up two cash winnings from the pokies in the amounts of $400 and $105, Toowoomba District Court heard.

A short time later, Houkamau approached the man complaining he was short of money and asked the man for a loan, and was handed $20, Crown prosecutor Shontelle Petrie told the court.

A little later, both accused approached the man complaining they had no money for petrol and the complainant handed over a further $15.

Later, when Houkamau approached the man again complaining of having no money for fuel, the complainant told him he'd give him $20 to drive him home.

About 8.30pm, the two men went to Houkamau's car and got in the front seat while Cahill was hiding, lying across the back seat, Ms Petrie said.

After stopping at a nearby service station to put $20 fuel in the car, Houkamau drove the man to his Kearneys Spring home but when the man went to get out of the car, Houkamau had grabbed his arm saying, "Give me all your money or I'll smash your face in".

A struggle in the front seat ensued between the two men during which Houkamau punched the man three or four times to the face before Cahill alighted from the back seat and joined the scuffle.

The complainant managed to get out of the car but was tackled to the ground where he was further punched and kicked, the court heard.

As he lay on the ground, the man felt hands reaching into his pockets and taking his wallet before the couple ran back to their car and sped away.

Ms Petrie said the victim called 000 and was taken to Toowoomba Hospital where he was found to have a fractured jaw for which he later underwent surgery.

Police eventually tracked down Houkamau at the Warwick Centrelink office in December and Cahill at Richlands Courthouse that same month. Both had remained in custody since.

Both accused pleaded guilty to robbery in company with violence while Houkamau also pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm.

Judge Craig Chowdhury sentenced Houkamau to five years in jail but ordered he be eligible to apply for release on parole as of July 21 next year.

Cahill, who had 260 days pre-sentence custody declared as time already served under the sentence, was sentenced to three years in jail to be released on parole on October 21.
 


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