Robert Paul Atkinson facing extra charges for August 11 robbery, break-in and police pursuit after crime spree from Armidale to Tamworth

Crime scene: Police and detectives at the scene of the alleged armed robbery at a removals business in Armidale on August 11. Photo: Rachel Baxter

Crime scene: Police and detectives at the scene of the alleged armed robbery at a removals business in Armidale on August 11. Photo: Rachel Baxter

DETECTIVES have laid extra robbery and break-in charges against a Queensland man accused of a crime spree spanning from Armidale to Tamworth.

Robert Paul Atkinson is being held in the maximum security wing of Cessnock Correctional Centre after the alleged spree on August 11.

Police allege Atkinson went to a Barloo Rd, Invergowrie, property on August 11 and smashed his way in through a laundry door about 2pm.

Once inside, the 45-year-old allegedly ransacked the house and used a crow bar to smash walls, benches, electrical goods, a car and stole a diamond ring.

From there police allege he stole a knife, cans of drink and meat from two Armidale businesses before attempting to rob a 71-year-old woman at knifepoint at an Armidale removal buisness.

Fairfax Media can now reveal that police allege he knew the owners of the house and the business, triggering the fresh charges that were laid at court in Tamworth on Wednesday.

Atkinson’s then accused of fleeing Armidale without cash before he was intercepted by police near Bendemeer.

He’s facing seven charges that he allegedly tried to ram officers using the silver Camry to avoid arrest by driving at four police cars, and police pursuit in the Tamworth and Moore Creek area.

CRIME SCENE: Police at the scene of the arrest in Marius St, Tamworth, on August 11. Photo: Gareth Gardner

CRIME SCENE: Police at the scene of the arrest in Marius St, Tamworth, on August 11. Photo: Gareth Gardner

He’s also accused of attempting to carjack a woman’s vehicle in Marius St before allegedly punching her in the face. Officers arrested him after they found him hiding in a nearby garage.

A solicitor for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) told Tamworth Local Court a copy of a recorded interview with the suspect was still outstanding, along with other brief materials. 

“I understand some admissions were made in an erisp and the defence is seeking [access],” she said.

I understand some admissions were made in an erisp and the defence is seeking [access]. - Solicitor for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)

Legal Aid solicitor Rae Parker said her client had a “lengthy” history of medical issues and she needed time to source Queensland records.

“I’m waiting for various notes,” she said. Ms Parker said she had received some items of the brief of evidence from detectives.

“I have some sets of papers … I did receive those last week,” she said.

“Until I get both sets of paper … it doesn’t help Mr Atkinson.”

The DPP solicitor said CCTV from two Armidale businesses where Atkinson allegedly stole goods from, including a knife, was still outstanding, along with statements from police.

“There is DNA and fingerprint material outstanding taken from the knife,” she said. “That material won’t be available by October.”

A brief of evidence connected to the Tamworth charges was served by detectives but is yet to be considered.

Magistrate Roger Prowse told Atkinson the DPP had elected on all charges meaning they would be heard at trial or sentence in the district court.

“That means all the matters are off to the other place,” he said, before Atkinson nodded.

“Bail not being applied for, it’s refused.”

The case will return to court in Tamworth next month.

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