‘Cowardly’ shooter jailed for 13 years 8 months

August 17, 2017 | By More

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

A family described gunman Douglas Anderson Roake’s crimes as “disgusting and cowardly” before they saw him jailed for 13 years 8 months for his violent home invasion and six armed robberies.

Deidre Dawson, a member of the Rolleston family where Roake broke in and shot two women, asked for the Christchurch District Court to hold the 23-year-old accountable for his disgusting crimes at his sentencing.

Creighton Dawson, who had a gun pointed at him, told of receiving a call from his mother at night on April 19, saying: “There’s a man in the house with a gun.”

He referred to Roake’s “cowardly crimes” in shooting his sister and mother, telling the court in his victim impact statement that he had seen parts of his sister’s body “up the walls and on the floor” after the attack.

Roake had admitted six aggravated robberies, two charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and two of presenting a firearm, after a series of armed raids around Christchurch and Canterbury.

Roake robbed the Tavern Harewood, The Brickworks Bar twice, Trevino’s Restaurant and Bar, the Hotel Ashburton, and the Springston Hotel. None of the $115,000 he took in his robberies has been found, except for $2000 he dropped while making one getaway.

Michaela Dawson, 27, who was shot in the leg during Roake’s home invasion told how she woke up every day thinking about how he had shot his way into her home, where she was with her mother and her four-and-a-half month old baby was sleeping.

She was also struck with the mallet Roake was wielding, and her mother was shot in front of her.

She said she had to have skin grafts and the injuries had ruined “so much for me, including my career”.

“I have visions of him chasing me around the kitchen, with my flesh and blood splattered everywhere,” she said.

The woman’s 53-year-old mother, Nicola Dawson, who was shot in her abdomen in the incident at Rolleston, said was still in pain and discomfort three months after being injured. She described the costs of installing extra security measures including cameras and lights as a result of the incident, costing many thousands of dollars. She said she no longer felt safe at home and she was hyper-vigilant when she went out. She became anxious if she was at events where there were too many people she did not know.

Roake sat apparently impassive in the dock as the eight victim impact statements were read in court. Several of the people he robbed or blasted, knew him or lived in his community. One said the 17-minute armed robbery – including point a gun at people and firing it into the ceiling – had felt like “a lifetime”.

Defence counsel Jonathan Eaton QC said Roake had heard the victim statements and “he is now extremely conscious of he pain, grief, frustration, anger, and distress his victims feel”. Since his arrest, he had continually expressed his deep regret, and had inquired about the progress of the victims. His own family members had “expressed their disbelief, shame, and distress” at what he had done. Roake accepted responsibility and did not seek to excuse his behaviour.

There was no rational explanation for these actions by a first offenders. It was known that he had Asperger’s syndrome and in the months leading up to the five-weeks of offending he had been obsessed with body building and strong-man contests. He had been heavily abusing testosterone supplements for body building which could cause aggression, Mr Eaton said. His spree of armed robberies was to get money to compete in competitions.

Crown prosecutor Barnaby Hawes said the offending seemed to “come out of nowhere”. The money taken in the robberies had never been recovered, and the effects of the offending had been “profound and devastating” on a large number of people.

Judge Farish said Roake had gone to his doctor on March 7 and described feeling like being “in a pressure cooker”, and being stressed and worried about how to manage his anger. He was prescribed anti-depressants and referred for counselling. Three days later he commenced his five-week spree of serious criminal offending.

His offending had been “inexplicable”, and everyone was baffled. She noted that his aberrant behaviour seemed to have disappeared since he had been held in custody.

She referred to the incredible bravery and courageous actions of the members of the Dawson family the face of Roake’s armed attack. He had caused all his victims mental anguish and had robbed them of their sense of well being and safety.

The judge said the robberies had posed a significant danger to members of the public, and had involved threatening and menacing the victims. He had caused serious and grave injuries to two women when he shot them because they were not being compliant with his wishes.

She said his explanation was bizarre – that he wanted money to buy illegal anabolic steroids to give him an edge in his strong man contests.

She reduced his sentence for his previous good character, his relative youth, his remorse, and his mental health issues, as well as his early guilty pleas. She imposed the 13 year 8 month sentence with a non-parole term of six-and-a-half years before he can be considered for parole.

As one of the robbery victims said directly to Roake in the dock: “You thought you were clever. How clever are you now?”

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: News

Pin It on Pinterest