Monique Clubb leaving the watchhouse on a previous occasion.
Monique Clubb leaving the watchhouse on a previous occasion. Alistair Brightman

Robbery Romeo takes rap for lover

LOVE has quite literally set Monique Clubb free.

Yesterday, the 23-year-old sat in a jail cell accused of robbing a taxi driver at knifepoint.

Today, she is back in the Hervey Bay community, a free young woman once again.

Clubb can thank Michael William Hartley, her lover and accomplice, for this newfound freedom after he took full blame for the crime in the Hervey Bay District Court.

In an extraordinary act of chivalry, Hartley signed an affidavit stating that Clubb's role in the June 1 robbery and taxi hijacking at Susan River was minimal.

"Everything that was happening was my doing," Hartley's statement said.

"All that Monique Clubb was trying to do was calm me down and defuse the situation."

As a result, Clubb's armed robbery charge was dropped and she pleaded guilty on Thursday to the lesser charge of unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

Judge Hugh Botting noted that serial offender Clubb, who was on probation, had spent 101 days in custody since her arrest.

He released her on a nine-month suspended sentence.

Clubb and Hartley acted like a pair of giddy schoolkids as they sat in the courtroom dock.

They giggled, kissed and held shackled hands.

The court heard that although Hartley was the main offender, it was Clubb's actions that led to the taxi hijacking.
Clubb stole money from one taxi driver - a theft she has not been charged with - before she and Hartley jumped into another cab heading from Maryborough to Hervey Bay.

At Susan River, Hartley realised the police were after them so he pulled a knife on the 62-year-old driver and told him to "Pull over, leave the car running and get out as quickly as you can."

Hartley drove the stolen taxi at speeds of up to 140kmh as Clubb, according to his sworn statement, tried to talk him down.

The 35-year-old pleaded guilty to armed robbery, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and unlawful use of a vehicle.

He will be kept in custody and sentenced at the next sitting of the Hervey Bay District Court.

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