Nephew convicted for role in violent home invasion

HE WASN'T there in person, but when three armed thugs raided his aunt's home and stole $35,000 cash and jewellery, Tommie Roy McCarthy played a role.

McCarthy this week went before Ipswich District Court for sentencing. His long-suffering mother was seated close by, but not the aunt and uncle he betrayed.

McCarthy, 33, pleaded guilty to entering a dwelling with intent by break at night while armed/in company; robbery while armed or pretending to be with an offensive weapon; robbery with actual violence/armed in company.

He pleaded guilty to nine lesser offences including unlawful use of a stolen motor vehicle in the Toowoomba region in October last year; driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle; having false plates attached; and driving under the influence.

The home invasion took place at the couple's Mt Cotton property just before 4am on December 8 last year. Both victims were aged in their late 60s.

In the Crown prosecution case heard before Judge Dennis Lynch QC, the court heard McCarthy assisted the three thugs with the robbery and supplied them with tools and a baseball bat.

Crown prosecutor Paul Bannister said McCarthy's DNA was found on a baseball bat found at the crime scene.

Mr Bannister outlined McCarthy's serious criminal history, saying that a Brisbane judge described him as having "an unattractive criminal history with multiple acts of violence".

On the night of the invasion glass door panels were smashed at 3.45am and three males with their faces covered entered the Mt Cotton house armed with knives and a baseball bat. The couple was threatened and told to open two safes. One safe held $28,000 cash and jewellery, and the other about $7000.

The house was ransacked while the couple were tied up with cord.

The Crown sought a jail term of between three to four years with a parole release date set after he served 12 to 18 months.

The prosecutor handed Judge Lynch an opened envelope with documents to be read before being sealed. The court was closed to the public to allow some confidential matters to be mentioned.

One fact that was never mentioned in the open court was the fate of the money.

Defence barrister David Jones said McCarthy attended Texas State High School in southern Queensland and moved around a lot as his father was a professional bull rider.

McCarthy was riding bulls as a teenager and about to embark on an American scholarship when he was hit by a car and seriously injured.

Mr Jones said he spent five months in hospital and became addicted to pain medication.

His aspirations to travel overseas and train in professional bull riding did not eventuate. McCarthy turned to methamphetamine after being forced off pain medication and this influenced his criminal offending.

Judge Lynch said the victims had been McCarthy's relatives.

He provided assistance to the primary offenders, and provided a baseball bat and tools.

"You were told it would be a burglary on an empty house, that the occupants would be away," Judge Lynch said.

"You aided the commission of the offence.

"They were your relatives. You assisted the burglary. It shows a particular betrayal of these family members."

Judge Lynch said it had changed the couple's way of life.

"Their peace and contentment was impaired," Judge Lynch said.

He noted McCarthy's "significant history" with prior sentences including jail time for assault causing bodily harm, an assault while armed, and unlawful use of motor vehicles.

He also found there were signs of improvement if McCarthy did not return to drug use, and was also a first-time parent with the birth of his child, now in his mother's care. McCarthy was sentenced to three years in jail.

With 348 days already spent in custody he was given immediate release with the remainder of the sentence suspended for four years. His licence was disqualified for six months.

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