A grandfather has been sentenced to thee years jail for the knifepoint robbery of a woman at a Rosslea Hotel.
A grandfather has been sentenced to thee years jail for the knifepoint robbery of a woman at a Rosslea Hotel.

Woman fights back against knife-wielding robber

A grandfather who robbed a woman at knifepoint was given a rude awakening when his victim fought back against his attack.

Leigh Douglas Symons was visiting his son at the Coolabah Motel in Rosslea when he approached a woman arriving at the motel on February 6.

The Townsville District Court heard Symons begged the woman for a lift to Stocklands but she refused.

Symons then threatened to stab the woman with a 30cm kitchen knife at her motel room door and stole her car keys, wallet and mobile phone.

As Symons jumped in her car and reversed in the carpark with the driver's door open, the woman managed to take the keys out of the ignition.

Crown prosecutor Molly Mahlouzarides presented CCTV camera footage to the court capturing the terrifying attack in the motel carpark.

The woman is heard screaming for help while yelling at Symons to get out of her car. Symons ran to a petrol station, where he jumped in the passenger seat of a car and was given a lift by the motorist out of fear.

Police arrested the 44-year-old on February 9 after a car chase ended with him crashing into a parked truck.

The court heard Symons had an 11-page criminal history with 18 prior convictions for enter premises with intent and was on parole for armed robbery.

The grandfather-of-two pleaded guilty to robbery armed with personal violence, enter dwelling with intent while armed and dangerous operation of a vehicle.

Defence barrister Harvey Walters told the court his client had been exposed to "harsh life experiences" as a boy and was a "victim of his own circumstances".

Judge Gregory Lynham pointed out Symons' past indiscretions.

"Your criminal history can only be described as appalling," he said.

"You were out in the community for barely two weeks before you engaged in your current offending."

Symons was sentenced to three years' jail with a parole eligibility date set at October 22, 2021.

Originally published as Woman fights back against knife-wielding robber


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