Jail for ‘disturbing’ petrol attack on pharmacist

cigarette lighter

A man has been sentenced to seven years’ jail after he threw petrol on a pharmacist and threatened to burn him

Fairfax media reports that Kepa Kemp, a former disability worker and father of two, carried out five armed robberies in Melbourne’s western suburbs in December 2016.

The spree included the robbery of a tobacco store in which he stole $2500; the Boxing Day 2016 knife robbery of a taxi driver; the assault of his then partner; and theft of a mobile phone after threatening a man with an axe.

During the Christmas Eve robbery of the pharmacy in Hoppers Crossing, Mr Kemp took a drink bottle filled with petrol into the store and splashed it over the 29-year-old pharmacist.

He then showed the man a cigarette lighter and said, “Give the money or I’ll put fire on you,” the court heard.

Mr Kemp left the pharmacy with $300, some perfume and painkillers, and the pharmacist’s wallet.

The court heard that Mr Kemp had suffered a significant amount of stress and had been juggling his career with raising his two children, as their mothers had significant issues with mental health.

He began to use cannabis and ice and before long was consuming between four and six litres of cask wine each day.

He approached his GP and Wyndham Hospital to access help for his mental health problems, but was told no help was available.

Judge Trevor Wraight said that this was “regrettable” but it had still been Mr Kemp who made the decision to keep consuming the drugs and alcohol.

He said that throwing petrol onto the “soft target” of the pharmacist was a “particularly disturbing” act and that it clearly involved prior planning.

“As a man of 41 years of age with no relevant prior criminal history, to commit serious offences of armed robbery in the way that you did seems extraordinary,” said Judge Wraight.

The court heard that Mr Kemp had shown remorse and empathy towards his victims. He pleaded guilty to five counts of armed robbery and offending while on bail.

Judge Wraight jailed him for seven years. Mr Kemp will be eligible for parole after serving four years.

He has already served about 480 days in jail and may be deported to New Zealand on completion of his sentence.

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