Community service for armed thief

A KNIFE-wielding confectionery thief who made threats to kill after a six-day drinking binge has avoided immediate jail, but must perform community service.

In the Launceston Supreme Court yesterday, Justice Robert Pearce jailed Gunnaid Anding Taher Ford, 19, for three months, wholly suspended for two years.

Justice Pearce also ordered Ford to complete 105 hours of community work.

Ford had previously pleaded guilty to assault and stealing, which had been downgraded from armed robbery.

He also pleaded guilty to having destroyed property, being a window he smashed after fleeing Coles supermarket.

Justice Pearce said most people would be terrified if they faced a threatening man brandishing a 40-centimetre long knife, despite the five-metre distance between Ford and the 22-year-old Coles manager.

‘‘It is hardly surprising that he may suffer some ongoing psychological effects,’’ Justice Pearce said of the impact on the victim.

Ford, among a group of young people, twice entered Coles in Charles Street, Launceston, on the evening of September 26 last year.

Each time CCTV captured him inserting chocolate bars into the front of his pants.

On the second occasion the store manager confronted Ford and asked him to return the chocolate bars, but Ford left the store.

The manager, standing at the entrance of Coles, called police and Ford overheard him.

CCTV footage showed Ford descending the ramp towards the store entrance and making stabbing motions with a knife which had a curved, 30-centimetre blade.

At the same time, Ford repeatedly said that he was going to kill the store manager.

Justice Pearce said Ford was highly intoxicated, but that was no excuse.

‘‘It was submitted that he was in bad company, but he is responsible for his own behaviour, and the others played no part in the assault,’’ he said.