A GROUP of young people walking home from a night out feared for their lives when a Sebastopol man held an imitation shotgun to their heads while threatening to kill them, a court heard yesterday.
Tai Sharp, 20, was with a carload of friends on a Saturday night in November last year, when the group drove around central Ballarat terrorising and robbing people walking home from nightspots.
In one attack Sharp’s co-accused allegedly pointed an imitation firearm at a man while Sharp kicked the man’s legs out and stole his phone.
In another incident Sharp hid in the front yard of a house where he waited for a man walking towards him, before jumping out and attempting to rob him.
Again the co-accused allegedly pointed the imitation firearm at the man.
Before the string of robberies, Sharp burgled a house in Wendouree Parade, escaping with a television, laptop, jewellery and bank cards.
Appearing in the County Court at Ballarat, Sharp pleaded guilty to a string of charges including armed robbery, attempted armed robbery, four counts of making a threat to kill, and two counts of theft.
Sharp was jailed for four months in 2011 after he wrung a pet rabbit’s neck in a violent display at at Ballarat bus stop.
Crown prosecutor David O’Doherty told the court that before the latest crime spree, a co-accused allegedly stole number plates and attached them to the car used in the offending.
Mr O’Doherty said one of the victims, who was heavily intoxicated, remembered nothing else other than “looking down the barrel of a gun”.
Sharp’s defence barrister, Stephen Howe, said his client had an intellectual disability and a history of crime and a “very troubled youth”.
He said Sharp, who is on a disability pension, was susceptible and vulnerable.
Judge Howard Mason adjourned the hearing so Sharp could be assessed for a youth training facility. Sharp will be sentenced tomorrow.