Man jailed after Christchurch crime spree

Lennon Donald Auckram was jailed after he and a co-offender demanded a KFC staff member bring them money from the safe, telling her they would ram a car through the door if she didn't. (file photo)
EWAN SARGENT/STUFF
Lennon Donald Auckram was jailed after he and a co-offender demanded a KFC staff member bring them money from the safe, telling her they would ram a car through the door if she didn't. (file photo)

A man involved in a crime rampage in Christchurch that included bludgeoning a barman with a baseball bat and robbing a KFC restaurant has been jailed.

Lennon Donald Auckram, 31, of Redwood, pleaded guilty to charges of unlawfully taking a car, two armed robbery, one armed burglary, demanding with intent to steal, interfering with a vehicle, assault with a weapon, dangerous driving, and two charges of failing to stop for the police when he appeared in the Christchurch District Court on Tuesday.

Judge Tom Gilbert sentenced Auckram to four-and-a-half years in prison and gave him a second strike warning, meaning he will not get parole or early release.

Auckram and his co-offender jumped a fence at the Celtic Arms on Spreydon St and stole the cash drawer before demanding the safe and pokie machines be opened. (file photo)
STACY SQUIRES/STUFF
Auckram and his co-offender jumped a fence at the Celtic Arms on Spreydon St and stole the cash drawer before demanding the safe and pokie machines be opened. (file photo)

The judge said it was a "small miracle more people were not seriously hurt".

On June 9, Auckram and an alleged co-offender were in a car that had been stolen from near Pines Beach about six weeks before. They were wearing balaclavas and hooded sweatshirts and carrying a baseball bat and a knife.

They rattled the doors and tried to get into the Little Brown Jug bar in Bryndwr, but could not get inside. The incident badly affected the woman working inside because she had been the victim of two previous robberies.

The pair then went to the Celtic Arms hotel in Spreydon where they jumped over a fence and went in through the door to the smokers' area. They took a cash drawer with $958 and demanded to check the safe but found no money in it. They then demanded the pokie machines be opened.

The Crown says the other offender then bashed a victim with the bat, causing his arm to split open. They ran out when the victim threw a large tip jar and a bottle at them.

They then drove to KFC near Christchurch Airport and demanded that a woman staff member outside go inside and bring them the money from the safe or they would ram the car through the door. She brought out $523 but they then demanded the money from the tills. The woman showed them the tills were empty so they demanded that the staff hand over their wallets. All refused and the robbers left.

They raided a property in Swannanoa where they demanded a householder hand over the keys to a Mustang. He refused. The Crown alleges the co-offender drove their car at him and crashed into another car when he stepped out of the way. The co-offender then beat him with a shovel, until he pulled off one of their balaclavas and they fled.

They then raided another property and a vehicle before police began trying to stop them. Police abandoned one pursuit, but soon after they chased the pair again and a patrol car was rammed, locking it alongside the offenders' vehicle for about 100m.

They then got into another pursuit and came close to hitting an officer who had set out road spikes. The car slowed and stopped. Auckram ran off but was found nearby.

The baseball bat victim received bruising and swelling to his forearms and a cut to one arm. The man struck with the spade had a cut 5cm to 8cm long on his head, and broken ribs.

Defence counsel Anselm Williams argued that Auckram was acting under duress because of a drug debt, but Judge Gilbert rejected that, saying that Auckram had about $15,000 in the car which could have been used to cover the $3000 debt.

He noted the Auckram had serious violence-related offending on his record and had received a first-strike warning in 2013. He had longstanding drug and alcohol problems. He was assessed as being a high risk of reoffending. Since his mid-to-late teens, he had been associated with the Road Knights motorcycle gang.

He had attended restorative justice meetings with victims, but his offending had had a devastating effect on them. Judge Gilbert accepted he was genuinely remorseful.

Williams sought a reduced sentence for Auckram for his remorse and his participation in restorative justice.

Judge Gilbert said that Auckram had brandished the knife and although he had not inflicted actual violence he had been "there front and centre throughout this offending spree".

There was a high emotional toll on the victims. Apart from the four-and-a-half year jail term, without parole, Judge Gilbert ordered that the victims be paid emotional harm reparations totalling $7863, and $7128 to the police for the damage to the patrol car. This will be taken from the money found in the car, which Auckram said was his.

The money taken from the robbery victims will be returned to them.

Auckram was also disqualified from driving for two-and-a-half years.

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