The woman will serve no jail time. Picture: Marc McCormack
The woman will serve no jail time. Picture: Marc McCormack

Woman stole house keys in home robbery of elderly man

A MIDDLE-AGED woman caught up in a nasty home invasion in which an elderly man was threatened to have his ear cut off with tree branch pruners, will serve no jail time.

Instead Ipswich District Court heard that 44-year-old Elisa Bernadette Cochran took no part in the violent threats made to the homeowner by two other male intruders.

Cochran pleaded guilty to entering the dwelling and stealing property from Robert Flint at Woodend on February 21, 2018.

The Crown prosecution did not proceed with a charge of robbery in company with violence which was withdrawn and dismissed.

Crown prosecutor Victoria Adams said Cochran's history was littered with mostly drug offences.

In the matters now before the court she had spent 149 days (five months) held in jail before granted bail.

The Crown accepted Cochran had not been party to what her male co-offenders did with their cases already finalised.

Ms Adams said Cochran used stolen keys to enter the man's house. Before leaving she stole his bank card, a Medicare card, Seniors card, and a photo from a wallet.

Police found her in possession of the keys and the items.

"Her actions resulted in co-offenders gaining access but she was not involved in any violence toward him," Ms Adams said.

"It is accepted she did not engage in any violence."

"Has she read the victim impact statement. I'd like her to read it," said Judge Dennis Lynch QC.

Ms Adams said the Crown sought a head sentence of one to two years as being appropriate, and Cochran could be granted immediate parole instead of being returned to jail.

Defence barrister Chris Minnery said that while her offending was a little bit inexplicable, Cochran did have her reasons.

The reasons she gave were then explained to Judge Dennis Lynch QC.

Mr Minnery said she was a mother of four now aged between 21 and 11, and began her drug use after falling in with the wrong crowd.

"My client was not party to what they (two men) later did. They went on to commit burglary. She only took identification," he said.

Mr Minnery said Cochran intends to now stay away from drugs.

He sought a penalty of no more than 12 months jail with immediate parole given the time already spent in jail.

Judge Lynch said she used a set of stolen keys to enter the house and had let the two men enter.

He said she stole identification items but the two men stole jewellery, chainsaws and garden tools.

Judge Lynch accepted she was not party to any violence but said her conduct was not excused by what she alleged to have been her reason.

He said the elderly man was subject to the terror of having intruders inside his home and Cochran should be ashamed of herself.

Cochran was convicted and sentenced to 12 months jail with immediate parole release.

The two men who took part have already been dealt with by Ipswich District Court.

New Zealand citizen William Keremete Pirinoa Reid, 32, from Eagleby, and Dougal Scott MacPherson, 30, pleaded guilty to Crown charges of entering a dwelling with intent by break in company at Woodend on February 21 last year; and robbery with violence when armed/in company.

The court heard that Mr Flint was threatened to have an ear cut off with tree branch pruners, and be bashed with a hammer.

MacPherson was sentenced to three-and-a-half years jail, suspended after he serve 551 days. He was released that day.

Reid was sentenced to three-and-a-half years jail, suspended after serving 568 days - equivalent to time already spent in custody. He was to be taken straight into immigration custody and deported.