11 January 2022

Knife-wielding man sentenced for robbing his local pharmacy twice

| Albert McKnight
Jake Tony Walden

Jake Tony Walden, 26, leaves court on Tuesday after his sentencing. Photo: Albert McKnight

Jake Tony Walden was “really drunk” when he cycled to his local pharmacy and robbed it not once but twice, using knives to threaten staff until they handed over drugs.

On Tuesday (11 January), Acting Justice Richard Refshauge told the ACT Supreme Court the 26-year-old’s crimes showed “ineptitude and opportunism”.

“To choose one’s local pharmacy … when one might be recognised by someone who served you before hardly suggests forethought,” he said.

He said the first robbery took place on the night of 1 August 2020 when Walden went into the pharmacy at Amaroo, which his whole family used as they lived nearby, with no facial covering so his face was visible to staff, customers and security cameras.

Walden pulled out a folding knife with a 10 cm blade and threatened to stab two staff members while demanding oxycodone and Valium.

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He was given drugs and left, apologising before he did so.

“I’m sorry. It’s just paying for the f-king dog’s veterinary bills,” he said.

A week later, on 7 August, he returned to the pharmacy during the day, this time wearing a mask which Justice Refshauge said he could infer was due to the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic rather than an attempt to disguise himself.

Walden drew what appeared to be a hunting knife, which “certainly looked fierce”, Justice Refshauge said, and again demanded oxycodone and Valium from staff.

“Don’t be a hero if you don’t want a hole,” he said. He was again given drugs.

Walden pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and spent 118 days in custody until he was granted bail.

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Justice Refshauge said Walden used to work as a concreter but hadn’t worked since 2016, after which he had received welfare payments.

He said Walden used to drink up to two litres of wine each day and had said he was “really drunk” when he committed the robberies. He also used to use drugs like heroin and methamphetamine.

Justice Refshauge did say he had shown insight and regret.

Walden was sentenced to three years and 11 months’ jail, with the remainder suspended from Tuesday for him to complete a two-year Drug and Alcohol Treatment Order.

Once the treatment order finishes, he must serve the remainder of his sentence as a good behaviour order.

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