26 April 2023

Man who went on crime spree armed with axe and machete handed jail sentence

| Travis Radford
court building

Corey Girvan was sentenced to prison time for his role in an early morning crime spree in May 2022. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A man who went on an “awful and intense crime spree” over more than three hours has been jailed after he pleaded guilty to seven separate offences.

Then-19-year-old Corey Girvan and two other men began the spree at nearly 2 am on 21 May (2022), when the group stole a man’s wallet and car from his home in Banks.

Girvan, who manufactured windows before his arrest, used the first victim’s credit card to buy cigarettes before trying to rob the occupants of two parked cars in Phillip and Weston.

While both cars’ drivers were escaping the respective scenes, Girvan attempted to hit the cars with a knife or machete and successfully shattered one of the Phillip car’s windows.

The offenders pursued both cars, the second for 20 minutes above the speed limit, until both victims eventually turned onto the street of Woden’s police station.

Later that morning, Girvan approached a taxi in Duffy armed with an axe and told the driver to “give me the money” before shattering the driver’s-side window.

The victim attempted to flee but Girvan hit the car a second time, removed the key from the ignition through the broken window, demanded the driver get out and took the car.

The driver of the taxi said in a statement that the incident had had a strong psychological effect and he lost three and a half months’ income and no longer felt safe working in the dark.

Girvan also pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery by joint commission over his role in the spree’s last incident around 4:30 that morning, which involved one man with a knife and two others armed with guns confronting a man outside his home in Duffy. The victim was punched three times in the head after he said he had nothing except his mobile phone, which his attackers also took.

“Looked at overall, this was an awful and intense crime spree involving random victims and the use of violence,” ACT Supreme Court Justice David Mossop said.

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The court heard the now-20-year-old was using methamphetamine heavily at the time, had experienced drug-induced psychosis and did not fully remember the offences.

Girvan had been using the drug since age 17 and his use had increased until he was spending up to $1000 a day and turned to criminal activities to fund his drug use.

Justice Mossop accepted the offences were motivated by the need to obtain money for drugs but said they were at the “desperate and violent end of the spectrum”.

“The fact that the offending was drug-related is an explanation of the conduct rather than an excuse for it,” he said.

“It does indicate that if the difficulties with drugs are addressed, there may be reasonable prospects of rehabilitation.”

He said it was also important to recognise the offender’s youth and lack of prior custodial sentences.

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Girvan pleaded guilty to single counts of obtain property by deception, aggravated robbery, joint commission burglary, joint commission take motor vehicle, joint commission aggravated robbery and two counts of joint commission attempted aggravated robbery and was sentenced to five years and three months’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of two years and nine months.

“Because of the gravity of the offending, there are significant sentences of imprisonment that must be imposed,” Justice Mossop said in his published decision released in March.

But he said he also hoped a “relatively modest” non-parole period would encourage Girvan to pursue rehabilitation for his drug use and obtain his release early.

Girvan will be eligible to be released from custody in March 2025.

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