Man uses daughter for theft

A MAN who's given a new meaning to ‘riverbank' used his teen daughter to gain access to a house before getting away with almost $200,000 in cash and jewellery.

The court heard a safe containing $95,000 in cash and $100,000 worth of jewellery was stolen from a local home by Grant Lee Michael Hawdon, who eventually dumped the safe and some jewellery at the Calliope River.

Hawdon, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of burglary with intent, and one count of dangerous driving with excessive speed in the Gladstone District Court yesterday.

Crown Prosecutor Shaun Gordon told the court Hawdon's 13-year-old daughter was visiting the local home with friends, who had been enlisted to walk the family dog.

The home was alarmed and after some visits, Hawdon's daughter was aware of the code to unlock the front door.

At 5am on January 7, Hawdon took his daughter to the residence, who punched in the entry code.

The safe was removed after a short search, taken and cracked open, revealing the valuable contents which were taken. Hawdon then disposed of the safe at the river, along with the jewellery before heading for Rockhampton. The court heard not all the jewellery was recovered from the river.

Mr Gordon told the court Hawdon phoned police to tell them of his crime, but did not surrender.

In the ensuing weeks, the money was frittered away, Hawdon purchasing a black Holden Commodore, drugs and gambling.

On January 29, police spotted the car being driven by Hawdon and a chase eventually took place. The fugitive reached speeds of up to 180kmh along Gladstone Road, driving the wrong way and narrowly missing parked cars.

The court heard although he evaded police, he was caught in his sister's ceiling on January 30 after a tip-off.

Mr Gordon said primary issues of the case were Hawdon's extensive history and the use of the child in the crime. Barrister David Murray said things were going on behind the scenes, including a group of armed men who had set out to capture him and were laying in wait for him.

Mr Murray said his client had taken police to the safe and much of the jewellery had been recovered, some of it brought back by Hawdon.

“He's lived his life as a thief, it's just that simple,” Mr Murray said.

Judge Tutt in sentencing said Hawdon must have thought he'd won the Gold Lotto when the safe was opened.

“You seized the opportunity to help yourself to very easy money, and it's very disturbing the way you used your daughter in the large heist.”

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