Town’s ‘unofficial sheriff’ sees error of his ways
A UKI man told a court he was misguidedly acting as the 'unofficial sheriff' of Murwillumbah when he robbed a resident.
Carl Andrew Gye brandished an iron tube while wearing an orange makeshift balaclava about 4.10pm on March 26 while taking items from a Murwillumbah home.
The 53-year-old fronted Tweed Heads Local Court on September 23 for sentence after previously pleading guilty to five charges including being disguised and armed while committing an indictable offence, stealing, common assault and hindering police.
Gye said before the robbery he was distraught after separating with his partner when he saw a man he knew who claimed another person owed him property.
"I took it upon myself to be the 'unofficial sheriff' of Murwillumbah which I've learnt the hard way was wrong," he said.
"That day I had a gutful a number of things; I was drunk and I said to the man I'd help him get his stuff back.
"It was this fantasy that I could help him retrieve this property which I know was wrong and against the law."
Court documents reveal Gye said "don't even try" while pointing an iron bar at a man who came outside his unit when he heard a noise on Wardrop St to find Gye rummaging through possessions in the storage area under the Queenslander-style home.
After Gye only mumbled in response to the resident asking what he was doing, the man called the police.
Gye piled a gas bottle, axe and ladder on top of a lawnmower from the home and walked it down the street as police arrived.
After a short foot chase, Gye jumped over a fence and fell into a laneway where he was arrested.
Gye said at the time his drinking problem ruled his life, he waited down the street for police and was filled with a sense of relief when they arrived knowing he would be remanded into custody.
He said his estranged partner committed suicide while he was in custody and he went through a period of contemplative mediation which assisted with his recovery from alcohol as "the bane of his existence".
"I have a bit between my teeth. I'm doing my best. I've lost a lot, this relapse has cost me my family, parents, siblings and children," he said.
"I am at the point where I see the harm my behaviour."
Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy convicted and sentenced Gye to an aggregate term of 12 months imprisonment with a non parole period of four months.
As Gye had already served four months in custody before getting bail he received immediate parole.