Offered a lift, then robbed

HAVING lost their way while trying to walk back to a caravan park in North Mackay, two French tourists accepted a ride from a good Samaritan.

But their luck changed when he robbed them.

Benjamin Beith was jailed for two years for robbing the foreign nationals but will be eligible for release in six months.

Beith 26, pleaded guilty in the District Court in Mackay to one count of robbery with personal violence after robbing Jonathon Serrano and Alice Berard on June 4 last year.

Prosecutor for the Director of Public Prosecutions Emily Coley said the couple had been in Mackay a week and were walking back to their caravan park after an evening meal when they lost their way.

When they asked Beith for directions, he and his companion told them they could drop them off, so the tourists got inside Beith's vehicle.

Ms Coley said Beith began asking them for money so they asked the driver to stop the car. As they got out Beith followed them, before grabbing hold of Mr Serrano's shirt. Mr Serrano then grabbed Beith's shirt and the two men wrestled on the ground. A fearful Ms Berard handed over $220 to Beith who left the crime scene.

Beith also pleaded guilty to 10 other unrelated offences which occurred since the robbery, including stealing, fraud and wilful damage.

Ms Coley said that at the time of the robbery Beith was on a six-month jail sentence suspended for two years.

Defence barrister Bronwyn Hartigan said her client had been a long-time drug user and on the day of the robbery had taken morphine and methylamphetamine.

Judge Brian Devereaux sentenced Beith to two years jail for the robbery and activated the previous six-month suspended sentence to be served concurrently.

He will be eligible for parole in April, 2015.

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