Man robbed post shop to feed family

Confronting a gunman on her first day at a new job was the most traumatic experience ever for a PostShop teller, and now her children are afraid when she goes to work.

The teller at Onerahi PostShop, who has asked for her name to be withheld, was forced to hand over $1150 cash to Brandon Joel Worthington, 25, after he pointed an imitation pistol at her on September 9 and said: "Give me all your money, I don't want to hurt you."

Worthington was yesterday sentenced by the Whangarei District Court to two years, 10 months in jail after earlier pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated robbery with the use of a firearm.

In dire financial straits having lost his job three weeks before the robbery and with his home power supply disconnected, no food or nappies for his two children and a pregnant partner, Worthington had decided to steal, the court was told.

Judge Eddie Paul said while the court took into consideration his reasons for carrying out the robbery, the consequences for the teller could not be overlooked. In her victim impact statement, the teller said: "All I could think of was 'Please don't hurt me. What about my children, what about my husband?"'

She was numb after the robbery and now her children were scared for her to go to work, the statement said.

After the robbery, Worthington had changed his clothes in nearby bushes and walked past the PostShop on his way to a supermarket where be bought groceries with the stolen money.

None of the stolen cash was recovered.

He was arrested on September 17 and admitted his offending.

Crown prosecutor Moana Jarman-Taylor said although it was accepted that Worthington's planning and preparation were not sophisticated, the robbery was premeditated as an imitation pistol, hooded sweatshirt and change of clothes were used.

Defence lawyer Dave Sayes said the level of planning for the robbery was so poor it was almost "laughable" that Worthington thought for a moment he could get away with it.

He said police wouldn't get an easier confession than that made by his client.

Police were able to identify Worthington from fingerprints on a certificate in a discarded backpack which he left in the bushes after his getaway.

Mr Sayes said Worthington felt he had a responsibility to provide for his family but no one was willing to employ him because of his previous convictions.

Judge Paul said there were many young people who struggled financially but did not commit crimes to survive.

- By Imran Ali of the Northern Advocate

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