Teenage armed robber in jail

A GYMPIE teenager who turned 17 a month ago has been sentenced to three years in jail for armed robbery.

Zane James Loveridge, 17, pleaded guilty in Gympie District Court yesterday to the September 15 offence in which he held a knife to the throat of a shop assistant at Ginger’s Fruit and Vegetable Convenience Store on Gympie’s Southside.

Crown prosecutor Alex Stark said the 58-year-old shop assistant was preparing to close the store at around 7pm when she was confronted by a masked Loveridge brandishing a 20 centimetre knife, demanding money.

“He held the knife at her throat...and said ‘give me the money, give me the money’,” Mr Stark said.

“Initially she said ‘no’ and grabbed onto the knife (but then) saw he was serious and let go.”

Mr Stark told the court the shop assistant was forced to open the register and Loveridge took off with $1100 in cash.

“Police apprehended him the next day, and evidence against him is his own full and frank admission.” The court heard Loveridge planned the robbery by stealing a knife and leaving a change of clothes on the river bank earlier that day.

After fleeing the store he threw the 20 centimetre knife into bush and swam across the Mary River where he dried off his wet clothes and burned them.

Loveridge told arresting officers he lost some of the money when he swam across the river and spent the rest of it on pizza and alcohol with his friends.

The shop assistant’s victim impact statement was tendered to Judge David Reid, who asked defence barrister Callum Cassidy to show it to Loveridge.

“Something these perpetrators need to know when they commit these types of crimes is they have a very significant effect on (the victim)... It can be extremely debilitating for some,” Judge Reid said.

Mr Stark said Loveridge didn’t show any remorse when interviewed by police and asked for Judge Reid to sentence the 17-year-old to three years in jail to be released on parole after serving one-third of the time.

Judge Reid said a guilty plea within six days of the offence showed some remorse and added that there were a few things going in Loveridge’s favour; his youth, co-operation with police and a plea of guilty at a very early stage without the need for a committal hearing. He said Loveridge was disadvantaged by planning the robbery and taking a knife to commit the offence.

Mr Cassidy said his client’s rehabilitation would be better achieved with a community-based order rather than custody where he would be further corrupted and “go on to live a life of crime”.

Justice Reid deemed the crime serious enough to warrant three years in jail with parole in May 2011.

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