12 February 2021

Man who handcuffed, robbed victim after meeting on dating app sentenced to jail

| Albert McKnight
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Shae Frank Charles Elliott pleaded guilty to robbery, theft, obtaining property by deception and taking a vehicle without consent. Photo: Andrej Lisakov.

Shae Frank Charles Elliott, 20, who handcuffed, threatened and robbed a man after meeting him on Grindr, and took the car keys and the car of another victim a month later, was sentenced in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday (11 February).

In a summary of the facts of the case, Magistrate James Lawton said in July 2020, Elliott’s victim offered to pay him $300 for sex after they met on the dating app.

But after they went to the victim’s house and had sex, Elliott restrained and handcuffed the man so he couldn’t move.

Magistrate Lawton said Elliott did “engage with violence” and threaten his victim, saying he would be stabbed or shot if he didn’t comply with his demands before taking his wallet, phone, iPad and cash.

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He said the victim, who would suffer ongoing effects of the attack, was “quite understandably terrified” and had spoken of his fear of being left at the house still restrained.

A month later, in August 2020, Elliott met another person on Grindr, although Magistrate Lawton said this time it was unclear if the motive was for financial gain. In this instance, they went to a hotel room before Elliott left taking his victim’s car keys and car.

Elliott pleaded guilty to robbery, theft, obtaining property by deception and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent over the two incidents.

Elliott’s lawyer argued there was no premeditation to the robbery and that it “sprung from panic and opportunity”, saying it occurred at a time when Elliott was confused with his sexual identity, struggling with drugs and in a poor financial situation.

He said his client, who has been held in custody since August last year, had a challenging upbringing, mainly being raised by his father before leaving home at the age of 14. Elliott had moved to the ACT to be with a new partner before his relationship with her broke down and he was left in the territory with limited support.

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But prosecutor Christina Muthurajah said Elliott’s behaviour during the robbery shouldn’t be attributed to confusion over his sexuality, saying that was not mentioned in the statement of facts and he was in control in both incidents.

She said Elliott engaged in sexual activity with the first victim before robbing him, and he had multiple opportunities to leave in the second incident, but he continued to return to the room.

Magistrate Lawton said the robbery appeared to be pre-meditated as Elliott had not threatened or harmed the victim until he was “restrained and vulnerable”.

He said Elliott had a “sporadic” employment history and had been dependent on welfare payments, from which he had been suspended for not meeting reporting obligations, but he took into account his struggles with drug use and mental health as well as his need for rehabilitation due to his young age.

Elliott was jailed for two years and six months with a non-parole period of 15 months, meaning he will be eligible for release in November taking into account the time he has already served behind bars. He was also ordered to pay about $2500 in fines.

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