Brave worker’s message to man who pointed 30cm knife at her
A TRAUMATISED service station worker who had a 30cm knife pointed at her during a terrifying daylight hold up has penned a "heartfelt" message while bravely facing the offender in court.
Troy-Tyron Smith Mooka, 22, was trying to feed his drug habit when he demanded the 37-year-old Mobil worker open the cash register while he pointed the knife, before making off with $500 alongside a co-offender in January.
The incident was in the midst of a six-month crime spree which ran from August last year to his arrest in February.
He pleaded guilty to a string of almost 40 property and driving charges on Wednesday, including nine car thefts and eight burglaries at residences around Cairns.
Judge Tracy Fantin spoke directly to the service station victim sitting in court during Mooka's sentencing in the Cairns District Court, telling her: "can I say that I hear you?".
"This sentence cannot change what happened to you, nor can it give you back the life you had before (this happened)," she said.
The court heard the woman had been forced to seek professional help and had lost work due to the incident.
"She no longer wants to go to work, she's fearful of being there," Crown prosecutor Sheridan Shaw said.
"Convenience store and petrol station operators are particularly vulnerable to this sort of offending."
Among Mooka's other offending was a dangerous driving incident through a small Far North town where a truck driver was forced to take evasive action when he swerved onto the wrong side of the road in October last year.
Three days later he clocked 126km/h in an 80km/h zone in Cairns while attempting to flee police.
The court heard Mooka had an "appalling" criminal history, committed three of the offences while he was on parole and a majority of the rest while a warrant was out for his arrest.
Defence barrister Tim Grau said he read the victim's statement to Mooka before court and he was "visibly distressed" by it.
"He appreciates the incident itself would have been terrifying, particularly for her," he said.
"He wanted to apologise to the entire community because he recognised his spree of offending had an impact on (many) people in Cairns."
Mr Grau said Mooka was addicted to ice and "going downhill" when the crime spree occurred, but wanted to become a role model to his newborn child who his partner gave birth to while he was in jail.
Judge Fantin sentenced him to four years jail and he will be eligible for parole in June next year.
Originally published as Brave worker's message to man who pointed 30cm knife at her