Ice man jailed for trying to rob elderly couple in Coolum

WALTER Frederick James had a family, a good job, and $1800 pay due to hit his bank account.

So what would make him hold up an elderly couple on the streets of Coolum one night?

Even barrister David Crews struggled to explain his client's actions when James pleaded guilty in the Maroochydore District Court this week to two counts of attempted robbery.

"He can't explain it. He had the money. It's just ridiculous," Mr Crews said.

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The court heard a New Zealand couple, aged 75 and 79, were walked back to their holiday accommodation after dinner with their daughter and son-in-law on August 25, 2013, when James attempted to rob them.

Crown legal officer Paul Moisuc said the couple initially thought it was a joke when James said, "Excuse me, I want your wallet and your purse."

But James quickly became more aggressive, raising what they believed was a knife above his head and saying, "I mean it, I want your purse."

James fled when the husband pushed his wife out of harm's way and punched him in the stomach.

The reason for James's behaviour, as much as there was one, turned out to be one simple word of three letters - "ice".

The court heard that James had battled drug

addiction on and off during his life.

The 35-year-old civil works supervisor and foreman wiped the tears from his eyes as Mr Crews outlined the defendant's biggest weakness.

Mr Crews said James had left home when he was 12 and was a heroin user from age 14 to 19.

He said James had been clean for several years at one stage, and had a good work history, a long-term partner, and two children to look after, but tended to dabbled in drugs when problems arose in his life.

"He put it this way: at different points when he's been drug-free, he's rewarded himself by having a dabble," Mr Crews said.

"In this case, it spiralled out of control because it's the drug ice."

Mr Crews said James was now on anti-depressants in an attempt to ward off the cravings for ice.

Judge John Robertson said it defied "any reasonable explanation" as to why James would commit "such a serious offence in an attempt to obtain money".

Jones was sentenced to periods of two years jail and seven-and-half months jail, to be served at the same time.

He will be due for parole in November, but will be on three years probation.

Judge Robertson reminded James of the link between drug use and anti-social behaviour and warned him he would inevitably end up back in jail if he resumed drug use upon his release.

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