’Somewhat bizarre’ hold-up

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

An armed robber has been jailed after pointing an imitation pistol at a man’s head while demanding repayment of an alleged debt.

Rickie King, then 24, drove to the man’s girlfriend’s home in Frankston on 1 July 2020 and demanded immediate payment of $2500 for damage to his car.

“If it’s not me who gets the money, then someone much bigger and ‘badder’ than me will come and get the money,” King said.

“He won’t care that you have kids here. He will enter the premises and come through it in order to get the money back.”

Fearing for her and her four young children’s safety, the girlfriend – “shaking and crying” – wasn’t aware that the pistol was a fake, County Court of Victoria judge Michael McInerney said on 16 February.

As King stood by with gun in hand, she transferred the money to King’s nominated bank account

Judge McInerney said the girlfriend reported the “serious but somewhat bizarre” hold-up to police several hours later – against the wishes of her partner.

King and his associates were arrested in Doveton on 3 July.

During a raid of King’s Ashwood home that day, police seized 19.3 grams of cannabis and a flick-knife.

At the time, King was on bail – awaiting a 12-month deferred sentence so he could attend rehab at Odyssey House.

Six weeks in, he was expelled from Odyssey for not “lagging” on a person bringing drugs into the facility. King was not using drugs at the time, his defence lawyer submitted.

King pleaded guilty to level 2 armed robbery – which carries a mandatory jail sentence, drug possession and possessing a prohibited weapon.

His 17-page criminal history, involving dishonesty, assault, recklessly endangering an emergency worker, drugs and driving offences, dates back a decade.

In that time, King has been sentenced to a series of community correction orders and jail terms.

Judge McInerney said King’s “deprived” upbringing and the impact of drugs on King and his family was “not … an excuse” but an “explanation” for his criminality.

Noting King’s efforts to be drug-free and apply himself to courses, the judge urged the accused to “free himself from drugs” or risk becoming institutionalised.

“It’s my fervent hope you will be rehabilitated.”

King was jailed for two-and-a-half years, including a non-parole period of 15 months.

He had already served 139 days of pre-sentence detention.

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