Woman followed, robbed of pokie winnings


A Victorian woman was followed home and robbed of her pokie winnings. Photo: Michael Coghlan (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A 39-year-old Melbourne man has been sentenced to a two-year community correction order after pleading guilty to aggravated burglary, robbery, and drug possession.

His victim, who was 47 years old at the time of the offences in July 2019, was followed home from the pokies and had $1,300 of her winnings stolen that evening.

Massimiliano Macri pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, and the other related charges.

With no prior criminal history, he will have to serve a two-year community correction order.

The county court heard the aggravated assault case against him and despite Macri’s guilty pleas, presiding Judge Amanda Chambers doubted his remorse for the offending.

“In the circumstances, I am unable to determine your plea is accompanied by genuine remorse for your conduct,” Judge Chambers said.

The victim visited the Gladstone Park Hotel at 3pm and proceeded to play at the pokies, until around 9.15pm on the evening of July 6, 2019.

Macri also attended the Gladstone Park Hotel to play pokies in the late afternoon and remained at the pokies until the evening, at one point standing within close proximity to the victim.

“You are captured on CCTV footage in the smoker’s area of the hotel standing near Ms Johnson at approximately 7.33 pm,” Judge Chambers said.

Macri and the victim, were unknown to each other at the Gladstone Park Hotel, and at the time of the offending.

Macri had witnessed the woman cash her winnings and observed her leave the hotel shortly after.

“CCTV footage from the hotel car park and elsewhere captures you enter your vehicle, a dark-coloured SUV, and follow her home,” Judge Chambers said.

Macri proceeded to follow the woman in his car all the way to her residence and knocked on her door at 9.50pm.

“[She] yelled ‘No, no, no, as she was unsure what you planned to do inside the house,” Judge Chambers said.

As she unlatched the door, Macri pushed his way inside the house and pushed her to the ground, which caused bruising to her left shoulder and forearm.

Judge Chambers asserted that Macri forced himself into the home with the intent to steal and commit aggravated robbery.

“You walked over her and into the kitchen where you took her handbag containing the $1,300 in winnings, a purse containing two Commonwealth Bank credit cards, $50 in cash, a Samsung Galaxy mobile phone and a pair of sunglasses,” Judge Chambers said.

The victim grabbed Macri by the shirt and a struggle ensued, during which Macri’s shoe fell off.

The blue jumper he was wearing that evening was also found on the front of the nature strip outside the victim’s unit.

Judge Chambers remarked that after extensive DNA testing of clothing that was torn off from Macri in the victim’s attempt at self-defence, Macri was forensically linked to the crimes.

“The DNA analysis conducted of the shoe and blue jumper seized by police…forensically linked you to the offending, with it being 100 billion times more likely if you were the contributor to the DNA found on those items,” Judge Chambers said.

After a search warrant was executed by police on Macri’s home, “police seized clothing and located two small Ziploc bags containing methylamphetamine and a glass pipe,” Judge Chambers said.

Macri was found to be in possession of illicit drugs, but said that they belonged to a friend.

The victim’s impact statement was read aloud during the plea hearing.

The victim “no longer feels safe in her house” and now suffers from “feelings of anxiety and vulnerability at night,” Judge Chambers said.

The victim said she was on “prescribed medication for six months following the incident.”

The defence emphasised that the accused remained offence-free since the crimes in July 2019, and that there was an “absence of any prior criminal history and excellent prospects of rehabilitation,” he said.

Judge Chambers in sentencing took into consideration all matters presented by Macri’s counsel and the victim statement, and sentenced Macri to a two-year community correction order, outlining a completion of “180 hours of unpaid community work and drug and alcohol treatment.”

In relation to the charge of possession of a drug of dependence, Macri was fined, without a conviction, the sum of $800.00.