15 February 2023

Jail for carjacker who robbed, injured 83-year-old man in Moruya

| Albert McKnight
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Justice system.

Clayton Cooper has been sentenced over robbing an elderly man in Moruya. Photo: Sang Hyun Cho, Pixabay.

A man who injured an 83-year-old when he knocked him to the ground during a daylight carjacking on the Far South Coast has been handed a four-and-a-half year jail sentence.

Clayton Cooper had been released on parole about a month before he was seen walking around Moruya looking for a face mask and a methadone dose on 20 July 2021, a recently-released NSW District Court judgement says.

The 83-year-old parked his Holden Berlina behind Harris Scarfe and walked towards the Moruya Plaza Arcade with his wife, but turned back to check he’d locked his car while his wife went on ahead.

He locked his car and walked back. He was at the top of a concrete ramp at the back of the arcade when Cooper grabbed him from behind, picked him up and made him fall to the concrete.

He dropped his keys when he crashed to the ground, which Cooper grabbed before stealing his car and fleeing.

It was about 2pm and many people were in the area. Those who came to help the elderly man saw he had blood dripping down his arm and leg.

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Paramedics arrived, found him with injuries to his hand, elbow and knees and took him to hospital. Police arrested Cooper in Doonside, Sydney, a week later.

He told them he had gone to the South Coast for a funeral, had been affected by drugs at the time and had no way to return to Sydney.

“He appeared upset that he had caused the injuries to the victim,” Justice James Bennett SC said.

Clayton, who was born in 1996 so is aged in his mid to late 20s, has a lengthy criminal history, which the judge described as “bleak” for someone of his age, and has spent several periods of time in custody.

The father-of-one has not worked since he was 22, after which he began using about two grams of the drug ‘ice’ per day.

“He sees drugs as beneficial, helping him to cope emotionally with his sense of hopelessness,” Judge Bennett said.

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He said when Cooper was stranded in Moruya after the funeral, he began to think that he was more secure in jail and safer in that environment than in the community.

Cooper pleaded guilty to and was convicted on a charge of aggravated robbery.

He was sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ jail with a non-parole period of two years and four months.

Due to the revocation of the parole he had been on at the time of the robbery as well as another sentence he has to serve, he will be eligible for parole in May 2024.

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