Two cousins who robbed a mother and her young son, who has autism, at their home were led out of Orange District Court in handcuffs on Tuesday after finding out they will remain behind bars until at least 2020.
Kurt Douglas Edwards, 28, and Allan Wayne Jack Taylor Edwards, 28, were sentenced by Judge Rodney Madgwick for using a pistol, or replica pistol, to rob the woman and her son at their Lords Place home about 7.30pm on May 21, 2016.
“The victims were vulnerable, it was in their own home,” Judge Madgwick said.
He put the pistol under [her] chin and said “this is a stick up” [she] was very protective of her son and grabbed the gun.Judge Rodney Madgwick
He said the two offenders, accompanied by Alicia Howarth, with whom Allan Edwards was then in a relationship, and a fourth man, who was not charged, went to the victim’s home seeking drugs despite the victim telling Howarth earlier that the town was “dry” and she no longer used drugs.
Judge Madgwick said in a second visit the group found the victim outside tending to her garden and said they had seen detectives in the area and needed somewhere to “chill”.
“Allan said that he had just got a gun implying the urgency of their hiding,” Judge Madgwick said.
However, he said the [the victim] refused to let them in so Allan produced a pistol or a replica.
“He put the pistol under [her] chin and said “this is a stick up” [she] was very protective of her son and grabbed the gun.
“Allan told her it was loaded and she was stupid, she tried to push the gun over her shoulder so if it fired it would not hit her.”
Judge Madgwick said she also called for her son to lock the doors and call police but Kurt Edwards then punched her several times in the face, she was hit in the head by the weapon, and the third man kicked her in the face, with the assaults causing a black eye, facial bleeding and she may have lost consciousness.
Allan told him to him to get on the floor, which the boy did, he clearly saw the pistol and knew what it was.Judge Rodney Madgwick
He said Allan then went into the house where the boy was.
“Allan told him to him to get on the floor, which the boy did, he clearly saw the pistol and knew what it was,” he said.
Judge Madgwick said Allan then took an iPhone, iPad, handbag and wallet containing cash and the four people drove off.
Allan and Kurt were arrested three days later.
On Monday, in a last-minute show of contrition, which Judge Madgwick likened to a death-bed expression of remorse, in separate statements read out by their barristers they said Howarth, who gave evidence during the trial, was telling the truth “in all respects”.
They also said they were sorry for what happened to the victims and they knew from childhood experience how terrifying it would have been, especially for a child.
Judge Madgwick said Monday’s statements, which were made “on the eve of the hunt”, would be easy to dismiss but they did give insight that the men understood the harm they had had done.
“They were prepared to admit their involvement in the robbery on the basis of a joint criminal enterprise but were denying that there were any weapons involved and were suggesting that it was the other man who was the principal actor,” he said.
He said they would also know better than most people what the consequences of their actions would have been for the woman and particularly her son who “struggled to give evidence in court”.
“Each of them had a childhood marked by violence and threats to them from their father in the case of Allan and step-father in the case of Kurt,” Judge Madgwick said.
Before their last minute statements were made on Monday, members of both men’s families also gave sworn testimonies about their disrupted childhoods and exposure to violence, substance abuse and family tragedy.
Close family members and friends also said the cousins could both be “kind-hearted” people but were in the grip of drugs.
In his sentencing, Judge Madgwick also took into account both men’s Aboriginal heritage and the racial tension in Bourke where they both lived for periods of time, although they also moved around a lot.
“While it is by means always the case, exposure to substance abuse and family violence in the case of many Aboriginal people is intensified by generations of racial exclusion, family separation, ill-health, premature deaths, one way or another dating back to initial dispossession and disrespect for the original custodians,” he said.
“This is not to say that Aboriginal people are necessarily treated with greater leniency than non Aboriginal offenders, who mostly also have particularly disrupted childhoods.”
Kurt was given a jail sentence of six years and six months with a supervised non-parole period of four years and three months and Allan was given a six years with a supervised non-parole period of three years and nine months.
Six months before this offence in Cowra he approached a man, his wife and two children who were on the verandah of their home believing that that house and the lady of the house to be a source for drugs.Judge Rodney Madgwick
Judge Madgwick also called up two 12-month suspended jail sentences Kurt was on for two charges of common assault and gave him 12 months’ jail which was included in his main sentence.
“Six months before this offence in Cowra he approached a man, his wife and two children who were on the verandah of their home believing that that house and the lady of the house to be a source for drugs,” he said.
“When he was told there were no drugs to be had there he punched the woman and then the man and got away from one of the children, it was the son who tried to restrain him.”
Judge Madgwick said both men were arrested three days after the robbery and Kurt spent one year and 10 months in jail.
Taking that into account he back dated Kurt’s sentence to September 12, 2016, meaning he could be released on supervised parole on December 11, 2020.
Judge Madgwick said Allan spent two years and three months in jail since the offence so he back-dated his sentence to May 24, 2016, so he could be eligible for release on parole on February 23, 2020.
He said Allan was granted bail after spending 12 months in jail after his arrest, but three weeks after he was released he committed an assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
For that he was given a nine-month jail sentence with seven-month non parole period which has been served.
On Monday, Judge Madgwick offered to adjourn Allan’s sentencing so a psychological report could be undertaken, which depending on the result could have reduced his non-parole period, but Allan rejected the offer and said he did not want to wait anymore and just wanted the matter dealt with.
DO YOU WANT MORE ORANGE NEWS?
- Receive our free newsletter delivered to your inbox every morning, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up here.