Warren Lynam

‘Clever’ robber proves stupid on DNA after all

A MAN who kidnapped and sexually assaulted a great-grandmother during a 2008 robbery in Byron Bay will stay behind bars.

Jaron Angus McDonald was 19 when he attacked a night cleaner at the Byron Bay Beach Cafe and ordered her hold a cigarette to his mouth while he pried open cash registers with a screwdriver.

He smoked the cigarette to the end through the mouth-hole of his balaclava. The butt fell to the floor.

McDonald picked up the cigarette and dropped it into a drinking glass, telling his victim he was "not so stupid as to leave my DNA lying around".

Pushing the woman with a wooden stake, he threatened to return to kill her and come after her family if she went to police.

He then snatched a bunch of alcohol and forced the woman into the passenger seat of her car, while he took the steering wheel.

McDonald drove through the streets of Byron Bay and pulled over, told his victim he was aroused and propositioned her for a sex act.

He grabbed at her left breast and pulled it violently for some minutes while she pleaded with him not to hurt her.

He continued sexually assaulting her after stopping the car again, beside bushland further down Ocean St.

He then ordered the woman, in her 60s, to get into the driver's seat and leave.

She drove directly to her son's home and he took her to Byron Bay police station.

Officers found McDonald sleeping face-down in the grass not far from Ocean St the next morning, but he declined their offer of a lift home.

A few hours later, police searched the woman's car and discovered cigarette butts among broken glass on the floor.

McDonald and another man were taken in for questioning after they were found with a bag full of alcohol bottles, but were released without charge that afternoon.

Items including a silver neck chain were seized from McDonald a few days later.

The victim identified the jewellery as being worn by McDonald during the attack.

McDonald was ordered to supply a DNA sample to police about two months later on October 31, 2008.

He never showed up.

The sample was finally taken when he was arrested more than two years later.

His DNA profile matched the sample taken from the cigarette butts found in the back of the woman's car.

McDonald's legal team argued the DNA evidence should not have been admitted in court and the eight-year sentence was excessive.

Supreme Court Justice Robert Hulme rejected all grounds of appeal.

"Particular regard should be had to the fact that the victim had no way of knowing for how long she was going to be detained or where the applicant was intending to take her," he said.

"Her trauma must have also been enhanced by the fact that the applicant indecently assaulted her on two occasions and she had no means of knowing what else was going to befall her."


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