Violent serial robber jailed


By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A man’s 12-day violent spree of armed robberies, assault, stolen cars, petrol drive-offs and an aggravated burglary while on bail has landed him in jail for more than three years.

Travis Smith’s offending in November 2019 included robbing and holding a knife to the throat of a teenage boy walking on Webb Street, Narre Warren.

He also “gratuitously” broke a back-yard bungalow resident’s skull with a tyre-lever during an aggravated burglary with four other masked intruders in Narre Warren.

He and his fellow intruders barged in and “jumped on” two brothers late at night.

They stole “low-value” items from the alleged drug-dealing occupants, such as a electronic tablet, Bluetooth headphones, watch, a portable speaker, toiletries bag, nail clippers and $50.

Smith was topless and armed at the time, while his mates wore hoodies and shirts covering their faces.

Their attack would have been “highly intimidatory and frightening, as it was intended to be,” Victorian County Court judge Carolene Gwynn said in sentencing on 22 October.

The then 23-year-old also pointed a box-cutter knife at a Dandenong North bottle-shop attendant as he and and an accomplice stole 10-packs of Jack Daniels pre-mix cans.

In the meantime, the unlicensed Smith swapped between three stolen cars and stole petrol from four servos in Dandenong, Noble Park North and Hampton Park.

During that time he failed to answer bail at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court. He was taking booze, ice and cannabis during his crime wave.

Upon his arrest in Bairnsdale, he was found by police hiding under blankets in a bedroom.

In sentencing, Judge Gwynn noted Smith’s long criminal history of similar offending and “guarded” rehabilitation prospects.

Severe childhood deprivation also reduced his moral culpability, she said.

His upbringing was blighted by domestic violence, learning difficulties, constant interstate moves and exposure to substance abuse.

Smith was admitted to hospital with alcohol poisoning at age 10. He left school at about the same time, illiterate.

However, a psychologist found that his drug-taking a more major factor in his offending than his cognitive deficits.

While in remand, Smith became a father and inspired to be a positive role-model. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, he had yet to meet his son face-to-face.

“You’re still relatively young and with considerable motivation it can’t be said you’re beyond rehabilitation,” Judge Gwynn said.

Smith was jailed for up to five years and eight months. He’ll be eligible for parole after three years and three months.

His term included 570 days already served in pre-sentence remand.