Tattoo identifies alleged invader

Stephanie Wallis leaves Maroochydore Court House yesterday.
Stephanie Wallis leaves Maroochydore Court House yesterday. Jason Dougherty

MAKESHIFT balaclava. Check.

Gun and getaway driver. Check.

Covering a tattoo emblazoned on your arm with your name. Woops.

Gary Gilbee, 28, faces charges for his alleged involvement in a home invasion and robbery at Moffat Beach in July, 2009.

But girlfriend Stephanie Alexandra Wallis, the getaway driver, was sentenced to two years in jail with immediate parole at Maroochydore District Court yesterday.

Crown prosecutor Nicholas Hanly said Mr Gilbee and his friend Clayton Backman, 19, had “formed a plan to rob or roll someone for the purposes of obtaining money for drugs” while drinking.

He said Wallis, 20, drove the pair to a Queen Street home – where a father, son and two daughters were in their respective bedrooms – about 10.45pm.

Mr Hanly said one of the daughters and her boyfriend answered a knock at the door where they were allegedly confronted by Mr Gilbee wearing a t-shirt tied around his face with only his eyes showing and carrying a sawn-off shotgun.

He said he was saying, “where’s the money?” repeatedly.

Mr Hanly said the daughter recognised the intruder by a tattoo on his forearm and said, “Gary, I don’t know what you are talking about”.

He said Mr Gilbee allegedly replied, “Now that you know my name ... I’ll shoot you if you don’t keep your mouth shut”.

Mr Hanly said Mr Gilbee and Mr Backman then entered the room of the son who woke to see a person standing next to his bed.

He said Mr Gilbee allegedly punched him in the face and asked for money.

Mr Hanly said that victim also said, “Gazza, what are you doing?” because he recognised him.

He said the father entered the room with a baseball bat and the family fled.

Mr Hanly said the pair took cash, phone and jewellery which were mostly recovered.

He said Wallis, though initially denying her involvement, and Mr Backman confessed to police.

“She was the driver and waited in the car around the corner,” he said.

“She played a role in what can only be described as a very serious home invasion.

“Home invasions destroy the notion of safety in one’s home, and forever affect the ability of an individual’s right to enjoy their home surroundings without fear.”

Barrister David James said his client had since been diagnosed with ADHD and was responding well to medication.

He said she still had the support of her parents, who had warned her about associating with Mr Gilbee.

Judge John Robertson said the incident was “undoubtedly a terrifying and invasive offence” but noted “armed robbers had never been known for their high intelligence”.

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