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Ipswich trio jailed for date-turned-armed robbery

WHAT started as a chance encounter in a shopping centre and ended with a man's thumb almost cut off with a machete has landed three people behind bars.

Siblings Rachael Kali Henderson, 24, and Brenton Dwayne Henderson, 27, held hands in the docks in Ipswich District Court yesterday as their mother sobbed when they and their friend Robert Wayde Saunter, 32, were sentenced for their roles in a violent Churchill home invasion in 2015.

It was a crime fuelled by the trio's "long standing and chronic addiction to methamphetmaine", desperation for money and to put food on the table for their children.

Rachael Henderson met one of the victims (two housemates) in a supermarket days before she, her brother and Saunter robbed him.

She exchanged phone numbers with the victim and went for a drive in his car on a date. She told him her name was Ashley.

She asked him about his job, his living arrangements, who owned the car, how much money he had and to see his house.

The pair went back to his house where she contacted her brother and Saunter who arrived at the home armed with a machete and a large knife.

"Just rush in on them," she texted.

The Churchill man's flatmate tried to lock himself in the toilet but Brenton Henderson attempted to stab him and slashed his thumb with the machete.

The victim was pleading for his life.

The trio stole some electrical items and fled.

Police analysis of text messages on their phones revealed they initially planned to lure the victim into bushland but ultimately robbed him and his house mate and split up the proceeds of the crime.

All three defendants pleaded guilty earlier this week to a string of offences arising from the robbery.

Judge Dennis Lynch sentenced Rachael Henderson to three and a half years imprisonment with immediate parole eligibility and 400 days pre-sentence custody declared.

Brenton Henderson was sentenced to four a half years imprisonment with parole eligibility on August 8 and 493 days pre-sentence custody declared.

Saunter was sentenced to four years imprisonment with immediate parole eligibility and 485 days pre-sentence custody declared.

The three defendants will be eligible to apply for parole however will remain behind bars until the Parole Board grants their applications.

Topics:  ipswich ipswich court ipswich crime