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Gay couple jailed for faking armed robbery

Gay couple jailed for faking armed robbery

Two young Australian gay men have been jailed for faking an armed robbery of a public bar that one of the men worked at.

Jamie Eldredge, 22, had been working as the duty manager at the Lara Hotel near the city of Geelong in the state of Victoria but was convinced by his boyfriend, Justin Hoadley, 23, to help him rob the bar by staging an armed robbery.

The Victorian County Court heard that Hoadley began joking about the idea soon after their relationship began and that he soon convinced Eldridge to give him inside information about the hotel’s security arrangements and the location of its safe.

Just before closing on a night in February this year, Hoadley entered the bar’s toilets and waited for Eldridge to meet him there.

They then exited the toilets with Hoadley holding a semi-automatic pistol to his back.

Hoadley convinced a terrified female employee of the bar to open the safe and then fled the scene with $18,000 in a car owned by his cousin.

Eldredge told police he did not know Hoadley and claimed to be a victim in the crime but he later received $1,000 from his boyfriend.

Meanwhile Hoadley disposed of the gun and burned other items associated with the robbery.

The couple later confessed to their deception and plead guilty to armed robbery, with Eldredge pleading guilty to the additional charge of perjury.

The court heard that Eldredge had gone along with the robbery because he was afraid Hoadley would end their relationship, while Hoadley had planned the robbery to fund his crystal methamphetamine addiction.

Hoadley was sentenced to 4 years in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 2 and a half years while Eldredge was sentenced to 4 and a half years with a minimum non-parole period of 3 years.

The Victorian state Office of Public Prosecutions had sought a minimum of 2 and a half years non-parole term for Hoadley and 3 years for Eldredge.

Eldredge’s defense lawyer told the court that Hoadley had been his first boyfriend and was only the second person that Eldredge had revealed his sexuality to.

He said that Hoadley had ‘groomed and manipulated’ him into committing the crime.

However prosecutors cited Eldredge’s breach of trust of his employers, lying to police and role in the planning of the crime when challenged on why they held the men equally responsible.

The couple have since broken up.