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. RobertHoetink

Granny slashing burglar loses appeal

A VIOLENT burglar with a history of savagely assaulting the elderly has failed in an appeal of his sentence.

Former Rockhampton man Aaron Lee Woods, 37, was jailed for 10 years for breaking into a 72-year-old woman's Brisbane home and slashing her across the face with a knife in 2012.

He was previously convicted of more than 250 criminal offences committed across Central Queensland. One victim was an 80-year-old woman who was thrown onto the road after having her handbag stolen. Another, a 63-year-old woman, was punched and kicked by Woods as he tried to steal her phone.

In 2006, Woods was sentenced to seven years jail for an attempted robbery during which he choked and held a knife to a 53-year-old woman.

A jury found him guilty of the Brisbane break-in and unlawful wounding last year.

The court heard that as the home was in darkness when the break-in occurred, the victim was unable to identify her attacker other than to say he was much taller than her, aged about 19-20 and that he had told her "get out of the way you stupid old woman" before knifing her.

The woman needed 20 stitches and had significant physical and emotional injuries.

Police traced a phone call from Woods's phone to a taxi company. It had been made near the victim's address but the taxi driver was also unable to identify who his passengers had been.

The key evidence came from a woman who said she had gone to a nearby festival with Woods and acted as "lookout" for him while he broke into the victim's home. She said that after the break-in Woods had told her "something went wrong".

Woods was sentenced to 10 years jail. He was ordered to serve the term on top of a three-year sentence already imposed for more than 49 offences committed during the same period.

His defence team appealed on the grounds the sentencing judge failed to properly instruct the jury about reasonable doubt and the circumstantial evidence in the case. It was also argued that the total jail term was "manifestly excessive".

A judgment handed down by the Queensland Court of Appeal on Friday rejected the claims.

It found Woods's criminal history was linked to his drug habit, that he was a "persistent" property offender of many years and that previous sentences "designed to assist his rehabilitation had failed to achieve that".

The appeal was dismissed.

- ARM NEWSDESK

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