Six years for armed robbery

A WEST Albury man who committed a terrifying armed robbery to impress a woman was jailed yesterday for more than six years.

County Court Judge Roy Punshon said Brendan Coleman — who was using heroin at the time — thought the woman believed he “had no ticker”.

“The armed robbery is particularly serious," he said in sentencing Coleman in Wodonga.

“Obviously if (the firearm) was loaded the incident would have been more serious.”

Coleman pointed an unloaded a single-barrel shotgun at the head of a shop attendant at the Wodonga BWS liquor store on July 7 last year.

The worker handed over between $300 and $310 in cash, which Coleman stuffed in a bag before fleeing.

Judge Punshon said he took into account the decision by Coleman, 28, to plead guilty at the earliest opportunity to the charges of armed robbery, using a firearm when prohibited and handling stolen goods.

He sentenced Coleman to six years and three months jail on an amalgamation of the first two charges.

One month of a four-month sentence for handling stolen goods was cumulative, giving Coleman an effective maximum term of six years and four months.

Judge Punshon set a minimum non-parole period of four years. Judge Punshon referred to a psychologist’s report in which it was stated that Coleman — who had a long criminal history — suffered from an undiagnosed, persistent depressive illness.

Coleman had also told the psychologist that he was a long-term drug user and was also an alcoholic who had a difficult childhood with little parental supervision.

Judge Punshon said while Coleman faced his first custodial sentence, “you are not beyond hope”. But he also highlighted how the shop attendant had “suffered considerably” as a result of the robbery.

Coleman showed no emotion over his sentence, though his mother — accompanied by other family — quietly sobbed.

Judge Punshon allowed her to say her goodbyes to Coleman in the court so she didn’t have to do so in the Wodonga police cells.

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