Crafty criminal uses cigarette break to flee from cops

WHILE under arrest at Tiaro, Raymond David Roberts was given the chance to smoke a cigarette and say goodbye to his family.

He repaid police by making a break for it, running away as the officers tried to put him in the car.

Roberts pleaded guilty in Maryborough Magistrates Court to a number of offences on Wednesday, including several counts of fraud and stealing and escaping while in lawful custody.

The court heard that at the time of committing the fresh offences, Roberts was on parole after serving time for robbery.

The court heard the offences had been committed in Gympie, where Roberts stole handbags while the victims were working.

He then used cards to purchase items including fuel and aftershave.

The court heard he had the support of his family, but they were disappointed in his behaviour.

Roberts had lost his mother while in custody and had missed her funeral, the court was told, in what had been a major wake up call for the 32-year-old.

He had a 10-year-old daughter, but had resolved he would only be part of her life when he had changed for the better.

Roberts wrote a letter of apology for the theft of the handbags, telling the victim he had no right to take what wasn't his.

The court heard Roberts suffered from depression and anxiety and had panicked when police went to put him in the car, but he acknowledged it was a stupid thing to do.

Roberts addressed the court, saying he had been living in Bauple with his partner and was receiving counselling for alcohol and drug abuse.

"I've done a lot of stupid stuff in my life," he said.

"I want help and I'm ready to change.

"I'm probably going to lose my partner soon.

"I hope I don't, because I really care about her."

Magistrate Terry Duroux said it was heartening that Roberts was willing to ask for help to change his behaviour.

He said Robert's escape attempt was not the most serious example of its kind.

"I think you fell flat on your face - it wasn't a very long pursuit," he said.

Roberts was sentenced to eight months in prison for the stealing offences, with a cumulative sentence of four months for escaping custody.

A parole eligibility date was set for July 13.