8 May 2024

'I'll stab you': Bega KFC robber jailed after threatening teen employee in restaurant

| Albert McKnight
Bega KFC

Bega KFC was the scene of a robbery in March 2023. Photo: Google Maps.

A group of young employees were working at a South Coast KFC store when one was surprised by a threatening robber.

Matthew John Scott pleaded guilty to a charge of robbery armed with an offensive weapon over the incident and was sentenced to just over three years’ jail by the NSW District Court earlier this year, detailed in recently released sentencing remarks.

“People should feel safe when they go out at night to get take‑away food,” Judge Andrew Haesler SC said in his recently published decision.

“They cannot feel safe if one of their fellow customers is in the queue with a knife and then commits a robbery.”

The judge described the facts of the case as “relatively simple but sad”.

A number of young people were working at the Bega KFC store on 9 March 2023 when Scott, then 35, who had only recently been granted parole, went inside.

He approached his 17-year-old victim, who was working at the counter, and told him, “There’s going to be trouble tonight.”

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Scott demanded the victim open the cash register and lifted the front of his jumper to show him a black handle of what looked like a knife.

“I’ll stab you,” he told the teenager.

When his victim didn’t respond, Scott said, “I’ll jump over and open it”. He then stole about $250 from the cash register before running out of the restaurant.

But he didn’t remain at large for long as he was arrested within an hour. Police found him with a large knife as well as some cash. He has remained in custody since his arrest.

Judge Haesler said the victim had still been a child at the time.

“I do not have a victim impact statement from him, but it needs little imagination to know how someone, probably in their first job, working at night, would feel after being threatened in the way he was,” he said.

“He was not to know whether the threat to stab him would be carried out.”

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He also said Scott had a “tragic” childhood, including receiving a brain injury and abusing alcohol when he was still young.

He has spent about three-and-a-half years out of the last 15 in the community, with the rest being spent in custody.

Judge Haesler said he was not to be treated the same way as a person who did not have his disadvantages, while the impact of his history reduced his moral culpability.

“The longer he is locked away, the worse his behaviour has become,” he said.

Scott was handed two years’ non-parole, which means he is eligible to be released from custody in March 2025.

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