Matthew James Paton pleaded guilty to assaulting a shop employee who tried to stop him from leaving without paying.
Matthew James Paton pleaded guilty to assaulting a shop employee who tried to stop him from leaving without paying.

Thief assaults shop worker with bag full of stolen goods

A MAN caught red-handed trying to steal auto parts struck and injured a female shop attendant with his shopping bag.

The goods he was trying to take spilt onto the floor of the Autobarn Ipswich store, a court heard on Wednesday.

Paton ran from the store on Ellenborough Street, just up from the police station, and jumped into the back of his mate’s ute.

The ute driver had been completely unaware of what Paton was up to, Ipswich District Court heard when Paton appeared for sentence.

Paton’s apparent six-month bender on ice was possibly a factor in his decision making at the time.

Matthew James Paton, 35, from Brassall, pleaded guilty to unlawful assault causing bodily harm when armed; and stealing from the Autobarn Ipswich store on September 9, 2019.

Crown prosecutor Cameron Wilkins said Paton went into the Autobarn store at 10am that same day, but left after walking around for a while.

Matthew James Paton pleaded guilty to assaulting a shop employee who tried to stop him from leaving without paying.
Matthew James Paton pleaded guilty to assaulting a shop employee who tried to stop him from leaving without paying.

He returned a couple of hours later, and was seen filling his shopping bag with goods.

The female attendant stood in front of him as he attempted to leave without paying.

Mr Wilkins said Paton swung his bag and struck the woman on her arm.

“He did admit stealing from the store but not to hitting the woman,” Mr Wilkins said.

“He says the bag broke and told police then he had been under the influence of methylamphetamine since Easter.”

Judge Dennis Lynch QC said Paton was sentenced on May 29 this year to a nine-month jail term for offences committed at a similar time.

He received immediate parole due to already spending 108 days in custody.

“I wanted to plead guilty when police arrested me but Aboriginal legal aid would not let me,” Paton said from the dock.

Defence barrister Geoffrey Seaholme said Paton’s previous parole was completed in November and he sought his immediate release.

Judge Lynch said Paton was tracked down after someone took the registration of the vehicle.

“You ran out taking some items and launched yourself into the rear of the utility. You came with a friend and he had no idea what you were up to,” Judge Lynch said.

“The registration was taken and you were tracked down.

“The woman was significantly affected by your conduct. She is now less trusting of customers and she does not like to be left alone in the store.”

Paton was sentenced to a six-month jail order for the assault, and two months jail for the stealing charge. He was granted immediate parole.

Judge Lynch warned Paton that if he wanted to stay out of jail then he must stay off illicit drugs.



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