12 April 2024

WATCH: 'Why am I getting out so early?', wannabe car wash robber asks when sentenced

| Albert McKnight
car in a car wash

Aaron Kenneth Campbell, 37, was filmed trying to commit a robbery at a Calwell car wash on 11 February 2022. Screenshot: Tendered to the court.

A serial criminal who had just been sentenced for two violent home invasions as well as trying to commit a robbery in a car wash appeared confused when he learned he could be released from jail later this year.

“Yeah, I don’t understand any of it,” 37-year-old Aaron Kenneth Campbell told the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday (11 April) about his sentence.

“Why am I getting out so early then?”

He was convicted and handed a total of about 10 years and two months’ jail with a non-parole period of about six-and-a-half years, backdated to account for time served.

This means he is eligible to be released from August 2024, but Justice Louise Taylor warned him he would still have a very significant period of imprisonment hanging over his head.

On 11 February 2022, Campbell lured his victim to the Pit Stop Carwash in Calwell, then ran at him with a machete when his victim parked his car in a car wash bay.

Campbell smashed a window before the victim tried to flee by reversing, but crashed into a pillar.

“Where are the drugs?” Campbell then said before hitting his victim on the head with the machete. The victim fled, chased by his attacker for a short time, and was left with cuts to his scalp and finger.

Campbell was found guilty of charges that included attempted robbery after a judge-alone Supreme Court trial last year.

READ ALSO Heroin killer Christopher Weaver handed jail sentence for death of Laura Crncevic

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery over home invasions he committed with Ivan Stephen Djerke, who has already been sentenced over his role in the incidents.

On 14 April 2022, the pair entered a home in Kambah where Campbell held a knife to a woman’s finger and said, “Where’s the money?”

She was punched in the face and the pair stole her belongings, including her car.

The very next night, 15 April 2022, the two home invaders took a machete and a crowbar with them when they broke into a home in Holt.

When one of the residents tasered Campbell, he hit him with the crowbar and also threatened to hurt their dog. The pair fled with some of the residents’ belongings.

READ ALSO Man allegedly threw $10,000-worth of cash onto rooftops after stolen luxury car crash

Justice Taylor said Campbell had endured a traumatic childhood, started using alcohol when he was eight and was expelled from school when he was 13.

He has a lengthy criminal history in NSW and the ACT and is a long-time drug user, including heroin and methamphetamine. However, he had recently reported abstinence from illicit substances.

Justice Taylor said she was satisfied Campbell had expressed some remorse and had shown a genuine commitment to reform.

He had described his behaviour as “appalling” and wanted to apologise to his victims.

Campbell’s sentence also took into account a previous sentence, as he had been on parole for a different robbery at the time of these more recent offences.

His new non-parole period was backdated to the start date of his sentence for this prior robbery, February 2018. The time he has to spend on parole will ensure he has supervision once in the community.

“Thank you, Your Honour,” he said before the matter finished.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.