LOW ACT: Desmond Samuel Johns holds a broken bottle to a 12-year-old boy’s throat. Photo: Contributed
LOW ACT: Desmond Samuel Johns holds a broken bottle to a 12-year-old boy’s throat. Photo: Contributed

Child poses as hostage in hold-up

A TEENAGER used a child as a fake hostage by holding a broken bottle to his neck as he tried to rob an Ipswich convenience store.

Desmond Samuel Johns, now 18, sent the 12-year-old boy into the Riverview store first and came in moments later, wearing a jumper around his head.

CCTV footage screened at Ipswich District Court showed the boy walking into the store and standing near the front counter, before Johns walked in, grabbed the boy around the neck and held the broken bottle to his throat.

Johns could be seen banging on the counter, demanding cash.

Crown Prosecutor Kris Ashen said Johns said, "Put the cash on the table" and when the attendant refused, Johns said, "This isn't good for you".

Johns eventually fled empty-handed and tripped on a newspaper stand on his way out, after which he yelled "I will kill you" to the attendant.

Judge Greg Koppenol said for Johns to involve the boy was "appalling behaviour".

"It is disgraceful - corrupting a little boy," Judge Koppenol said.

Johns pleaded guilty on Friday to attempted armed robbery, which occurred on June 27 last year.

Judge Koppenol sentenced Johns to a 12-month Intensive Correction Order, which means intensive supervision in the community.

He said Johns would benefit from the supervision and rehabilitation the order provided, but said Johns would need to learn from his mistakes.

"If there's a continuation of this type of behaviour, jail is the place he will go," Judge Koppenol said.

The judge said places such as service stations and convenience stores were "soft targets" for armed robbers, and their employees needed to be protected.

Defence barrister Angus Edwards said Johns' intellect fell within a "mild mental retardation range" and he was brought up in a physically abusive household.

Mr Edwards said Johns' judgment was impaired by "diminished intellectual responsibility" but he was mentally fit enough to plead guilty.


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