A one-day crime spree which included the attempted robbery of a Toowoomba hotel during which a shot was fired has left a 37-year-old man with a seven year jail sentence.

And, Alexander Maxwell Connell’s jail term will not start until February next year when the current sentence he is serving is completed.

Connell and co-offender Kepler Dennis Hood, 37, were both armed when they broke into the United Fuels service station in Cambooya on the morning of May 5, 2019.

The pair unsuccessfully tried to break into the store’s ATM and left with just a fire extinguisher and some confectionary, Toowoomba District Court heard.

However, a few hours later the pair had gone to the Federal Hotel in James Street, both armed with firearms.

Again, they left empty-handed but not before Hood had chased the duty manager out of the hotel and into the car park, threatening

to shoot him before firing off a shot, Crown prosecutor Shontelle Petrie told the court.

The duty manager had fallen in the car park when being chased and had broken his leg, she said.

Connell later that day was involved in the torching of the stolen car they had been driving, she said.

The car believed to be involved in the attempted robbery was later found burnt out in Centenary Heights. May 2019he car believed to be involved in the attempted robbery was later found burnt out in Centenary Heights. May 2019

Ms Petrie said Connell had spent a total of 15 years and nine months in custody since 2003 and he had served two years and two months of his most recent sentence of which 474 days was declarable under this new sentence.

Hood had in May been sentenced to seven years and nine months for his roles in the events, but he was not found to be involved in the burning of the car though he had fired the shot at the Federal Hotel.

Connell’s barrister Daniel Boddice told the court his client’s application for parole wouldn’t be looked at for at least eight months after he applied and asked that his parole eligibility date be brought forward to October this year.

Judge Jennifer Rosengren said Connell had a “very concerning” criminal history which included serious offending.

The offence of possessing a Category H shortened rifle brought a mandatory period of imprisonment of its own.

Judge Rosengren sentenced Connell to seven years in jail to commence from the completion of his current term in February next year but ordered he be eligible to apply for release on parole as of December 6 this year.

Extracted in full from: Alexander Maxwell Connell jailed for Toowoomba Federal Hotel shooting, Cabooya United Fuels break-in | The Chronicle

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