Andrew Simon Bell, 47, is on trial accused of planning a March 2015 robbery at Nambour Jewellers.
Andrew Simon Bell, 47, is on trial accused of planning a March 2015 robbery at Nambour Jewellers. John McCutcheon

Robber tells of jail yard threats after jewellery heist

JEWELLERY store robber Brendon Howard has told a jury he committed the crime to pay back a man accused of masterminding the theft.

Mr Howard, 33, appeared in Maroochydore District Court on Tuesday as a witness for the prosecution in a case against 47-year-old Andrew Simon Bell.

Bell was in the dock as Mr Howard gave evidence to the court.

Mr Howard said he had known Bell for about 10 years in the lead-up to a robbery at Nambour Jewellers on March 26, 2015.

He said he flew from Melbourne on March 19, 2015, to visit Bell with another man at Bell's Montville home.

Mr Howard told the jury Bell suggested he and the other man rob the store and use a stolen car in the process.

He was nervous as he spoke, at one stage telling defence barrister Simone Bain during cross examination he was distracted by Bell shaking his head.

"(Be)cause you're a liar," Bell called out from the dock.

Mr Howard said he and Bell had been imprisoned together after police raided Bell's home the day after the robbery.

He said Bell had forced him through threats to sign two statutory declarations which said Bell had no part in the robbery.

Mr Howard said Bell had slashed him on the stomach with a "shiv" in a prison yard.

"I believe it is a plastic ruler made with a razor blade on it," Mr Howard said.

Ms Bain noted Mr Howard had agreed to give evidence against Bell in order to get a reduced sentence for his part in the robbery.

She said he had asked police to come visit him so he could see what he could get for information.

Ms Bain questioned why Mr Howard had not told prison authorities about the alleged slashing.

"It's jail," Mr Howard said.

"That's just a warning of what's to come."

Ms Bain suggested that Bell had no involvement at any stage in the robbery.

"I suggest to you that is false," Mr Howard replied.

Ms Bain then suggested Bell had not organised for Mr Howard and another man to steal a car before the robbery.

"I don't accept that," Mr Howard replied.

The trial continues.


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