Rotorua dairy robber jailed after judge brands him a 'danger to community'

The judge branded Tyson Hughes-Turuta's theft of a Hospice charity box as "a callous and nasty sort of offence".
BENN BATHGATE/STUFF

The judge branded Tyson Hughes-Turuta's theft of a Hospice charity box as "a callous and nasty sort of offence".

A dairy robber who committed six offences in one day - including stealing a Hospice charity box - has been jailed after the judge branded him "a danger to yourself and a danger to the community".

Tyson Hughes-Turuta, 25, was sentenced to one year and seven-and-a-half months prison at Rotorua District Court on Friday after an earlier guilty plea to charges including assault, fighting in a public place, assault with a blunt instrument, shoplifting, wilful damage and possession of an offensive weapon.

He was sentenced for one count of fighting in a public place on May 10 and the six further offences committed on June 26, 2017.

The Fresh Dairy on Fenton St where Tyson Hughes-Turuta assaulted the owner, and stole $2 worth of lollies.
BENN BATHGATE/STUFF

The Fresh Dairy on Fenton St where Tyson Hughes-Turuta assaulted the owner, and stole $2 worth of lollies.

The offending spree was revealed in the police summary of facts, including a botched attempt to steal cigarettes from Rotorua's Fresh Dairy on Fenton St.

READ MORE: Rotorua dairy worker assaulted with confectionery container

"He asked the victim [the diary owner] for some Winfield cigarettes. While the victim was getting the cigarettes the defendant selected a packet of lollies valued at $2."

He then refused to pay for the cigarettes until they had been handed over.

"When he refused the defendant got angry and picked up a large metal confectionary container and threw it at the victim striking him in the upper right arm."

After fleeing the store with the owner in pursuit, Hughes-Turuta then picked up a stick and threatened the owner before departing on his bike.

As he continued on he hit another moving car with the stick.

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His last call of the day was at the Z Energy on Fenton St, where a staff member enquired about the stick.

"The defendant told the staff member not to be nosey and threatened him with it and asked if he wanted to taste it."

Inside the petrol station he committed a further assault when he grabbed the staff member behind the counter in an attempt to wrestle cigarettes from their hand before leaving taking the Hospice donation box with him.

Sentencing Hughes-Turuta, Judge Tony Snell described the theft of the Hospice charity box as "a callous and nasty sort of offence".

He also revealed details from victim impact statements, with the dairy owner saying "he considers you an angry man and he never wants to see you in his shop again".

It was also revealed that the Z Energy staff member he assaulted had previously given him food after being told he was homeless.

"They won't be helping you again in the future," Snell said.

He said the offending showed a pattern of escalation and that Hughes-Turuta had "a propensity for violence".

"...you are preying on innocent members of the community," he said.

The Judge said there were no mitigating factors and that Hughes-Turuta had shown no remorse and little insight.

He had a warning for Hughes-Turuta if he continued offending.

"[You will be] behind bars for longer and longer for the protection of the community at large."

Hughes-Turuta's lawyer Des O'Connor said his client has "a history that's quite unfortunate" and cited his abuse of cannabis from the age of 13 as a factor for his behaviour.

He said Hughes-Turuta was hoping to get his life organised and wanted to find work as a truck driver.

Hughes-Turuta spoke just once during proceedings when Snell first mentioned the stick.

"I didn't use that stick to anyone," he said. 

 

 

 

 

 - Stuff

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