See the moment this 79-year-old man tackled an armed robber

 

AN ELDERLY cleaner bravely tried to stop an armed robber from taking prescription medication from a Gold Coast pharmacy before being threatened with a tomahawk.

Harry Robert MaGrath, 25, entered the Nerang pharmacy on June 24 last year wearing a jumper around his head.

MaGrath was carrying a bag containing a handle that looked like that of a hammer or axe, the Southport District Court was told.

He demanded the 36-year-old pharmacist to load up his bag with valium and the opioid medication oxycodone from the store's safe.

The court heard that as she was doing so she saw what appeared to be a sawn off shotgun - which later turned out to be fake - in the bag.

MaGrath then told the woman to lock herself at the back of the premises.

Still from CCTV video of a cleaner bravely confronting raiders at a Nerang pharmacy. Picture: 7News
Still from CCTV video of a cleaner bravely confronting raiders at a Nerang pharmacy. Picture: 7News

Cleaner Colin New, then stepped in, grabbing a pole and chasing MaGrath.

He began striking the robber with the pole in an attempt to get him to drop the bag.

MaGrath then went back into store and forcefully pushed over the elderly man.

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He pulled out a tomahawk, raised it above his head and said: "I'll hit you, I'll hit you with it," the court was told.

The elderly man was taken to hospital with cuts and a sore body, while MaGrath was arrested at a storage shed in Carrara.

The court heard New was "quite shaken up" after the incident, and unrelated to the crime, was now in hospital with illness.

Still from CCTV video of a cleaner bravely confronting raiders at a Nerang pharmacy. Picture: 7News
Still from CCTV video of a cleaner bravely confronting raiders at a Nerang pharmacy. Picture: 7News

Judge Bernard Porter QC said "no one can question his courage and determination" but added no ordinary citizens have to take that risk.

MaGrath pleaded guilty in Southport District Court to armed robbery, serious assault of a person over 60, and a string of drug, weapon and other offences.

Judge Porter sentenced him to four years prison.

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He said the robbery and other offences leading up to it highlighted a descent into an ever increasing paranoia and "lack of control of your actions related to drug offending".

Barrister Hayley Robertson, instructed by Legal Aid Queensland, said her client was remorseful. She said he had the support of his family and friends, and would be addressing his drug habit.

He will be eligible for parole immediately, taking into account 428 days already served.

Originally published as Moment 79-year-old tackled armed robber



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