Store hit by 'bizarre' robbery for cigarettes

A BUNDABERG man who attacked a store worker and stole a packet of cigarettes spent about 10 months in prison before being released on parole yesterday afternoon.

Trevor Richard Kitching, 29, pleaded guilty to robbery with personal violence in Bundaberg District Court.

The court heard that after a night's drinking the defendant walked into a Bundaberg newsagency about 6.50am, on December 5 last year, and made what Judge Michael Noud described as a bizarre demand.

“You said to the people at the newsagency you were the owner and were entitled to the packet of cigarettes,” Judge Noud said.

“It has bizarre connotations, the nature of this robbery.”

Crown prosecutor Sandra Cupina said as Kitching walked from the store with the stolen goods a female worker confronted him and demanded the cigarettes.

The court heard he took the 18-year old woman and squeezed her arms before pushing her and walking out of the store.

“His criminal history is moderate and dates back to 1998 when he was 18,” Ms Cupina said.

The crown prosecutor said the defendant had convictions for burglary and stealing, entering premises and shoplifting.

“He's been previously sentenced to imprisonment for stealing,” Ms Cupina said.

Police arrested the man the day of the offence and he had been in jail since last year.

Defence counsel Julie Sharp told the court Kitching was diagnosed as schizophrenic in 2000.

“That goes a long way to explaining his criminal history,” Ms Sharp said.

“Mr Kitching has long suffered addictions to drugs and alcohol and been very much institutionalised over the last 10 years.”

Judge Noud said the victim of the offence had also suffered from anxiety before the attack, and the crime had worsened her state of mind.

“Offences of this nature have to be visited with custodial terms because of the seriousness of the offence,” he said.

He sentenced Kitching to two years in prison.

But because the defendant had spent more than 300 days in pre-sentence custody, Judge Noud ordered yesterday as his parole release date.

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