Armed robber pleads for help in tackling drug addiction

Rosie Gillingham
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William Macaulay facing substantial jail sentence

William Macaulay knows he’s going to jail for a long time.

William Macaulay

On Thursday, he stood before a judge and begged for help in tackling a serious drug addiction which he says has taken over his life.

During his sentencing hearing at provincial court, the 42-year-old

St. John’s man asked Judge James Walsh to recommend he be enrolled at an inmates’ drug rehabilitation centre in Quebec.

“It would mean the world to me if you could do this for me,” Macaulay said, reading from a sheet of paper.

It’s not known if Walsh will respond to the request when he sentences Macaulay on Dec. 19.

Macaulay committed two armed robberies — one on Sept. 29 at the Esso gas station on Portugal Cove Road and one five days later at Family Drug Mart across the street.

When the defence gave its closing arguments, the court was told about Macaulay’s disturbing past.

Michelle Coady told the judge that Macaulay was taken from his alcoholic parents in New Brunswick at birth and placed in foster homes.

He was sexually assaulted during his days playing baseball as a child.

Coady said he spent time in a psychiatric institution, where he was also sexually assaulted.

He was part of a class-action suit against the institution and, in 1998, received a $40,000 settlement.

“He spent every cent of it on crack cocaine,” Coady said, adding he had turned to drugs as a teenager.

She said he’s desperate to get treatment and fears if he doesn’t, he will end up dead.

Macaulay also suffers from several health issues, including epilepsy and Hepatitis C, which has caused him liver problems. She said he was also diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder.

Coady said while she understands her client must be jailed for his crimes, she said rehabilitation is paramount for him.

She said Macaulay has recently reconnected with his mother, as well as his daughter, whom he hasn’t seen in 15 years. He also has a grandchild, who Macaulay said he loves “with all my heart.”

“I have grown a lot while in jail,” he told the judge. “I realize I must take more programs and take them seriously so I can be there for my family.”

When the Crown gave its recommendations on sentencing a few weeks ago, prosecutor Kathleen O’Reilly said Macaulay should go to jail for up to 10 years, given his long history with committing armed robberies.

The latest two robberies mark the fifth and sixth he’s committed in the last seven years.

In 1996, he held up a business and was sentenced to four years in jail. He got six years behind bars for two holdups in 2000 and 5 1/2 years for another in 2008.

However, on Thursday, Coady said a seven-year jail term is more appropriate for Macaulay.

“At this stage in his life, he needs support,” she said. “He’s not beyond hope and if sentenced to a federal institution for (more than 10 years), that’s how we would describe him.”

Macaulay pleaded guilty to several charges, including armed robberies, having his face masked and possessing a dangerous weapon.

He was arrested in dramatic fashion while in the act of holding up Family Drug Mart in the East Gate Plaza.

Police had surveillance on Macaulay, since he was suspected of committing the robbery at the Esso station the week before.

On Oct. 4., he was seen leaving his apartment on Portugal Cove Place, located just around the corner from the pharmacy. He walked into the pharmacy, pulled out a knife, threw a small bag on the counter and demanded prescription drugs.

The video from the pharmacy shows police officers rushing into the store with guns drawn. Macaulay immediately held up his hands and got down on the floor.

When he was brought to RNC headquarters, Macaulay admitted to committing the armed robbery at the Esso station days before.

He told officers he held up the businesses because he had a serious drug addiction.

In his statement to the judge, Macaulay apologized to the stores’ employees.

“I know what it’s like to be a victim,” he said. “I should have known better.”

Twitter: @TelyCourt

Organizations: Esso

Geographic location: Quebec, Portugal Cove Road, New Brunswick East Gate Plaza.Police Portugal Cove Place

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Recent comments

  • david
    December 06, 2013 - 19:28

    I notice he left out being bullied as a child. That one is so hot right now. Big mistake.