Four people who did a night time raid on a Springston property to recover $1300 they said was owed from a rip-off are now facing jail terms for armed robbery.
The four pleaded guilty in the Christchurch District Court today and were all remanded in custody for sentencing on December 7.
They were all arrested early on March 27 after the violent and dramatic incident involving the robbery of four innocent victims and two car chases when the police closed in.
The robbers had apparently targeted a man who had been staying at the rural house for about a week, sleeping on the couch, but he was not at the house when the incident unfolded at 1am on a Sunday.
Before the court were Joshua James Watkinson, 21, of Coutts Island, Douglas Anaru Lockley, 31, of Burnside, Paratene Forreste Guy Aupouri Coleman, a 27-year-old butcher from St Albans, and Katherine Pamela Allison, 21, of Redwood, who all admitted the charge of aggravated robbery.
Watkinson had previously admitted charges of driving while disqualified, dangerous driving, and failing to stop for the police, arising from the same incident.
Allison had previously admitted dangerous driving, failing to stop, and possession of methamphetamine and a pipe for smoking it.
Crown prosecutor Deidre Orchard said it might be worthwhile getting an assessment of Allison’s suitability for home detention as part of the pre-sentence reports that were called for. Allison was a first offender, but even so, a home detention sentence seemed unlikely on such serious charges.
The four will be given first-strike warnings at sentencing, under the system that imposes heavier penalties on repeat violent offenders.
Four people were asleep at the house when the intruders entered. Three had bandanas covering parts of their faces. Watkinson had an imitation pistol, Allison had a knife, and Lockley was wielding a metal pole.
They demanded to know where the fifth person was, who had been sleeping on the sofa, and looked through the house. Some of the occupants were threatened with the weapons, and Allison took their cell phones. She also cut the cords to the landline telephones.
Watkinson said he was taking $1300 worth of property because that was the amount owed, and the man who had been staying on the couch had ripped the defendants off over some type of deal.
The intruders removed two televisions, five cell phones, two other phones, and two laptop computers.
Lockley smashed the windows on a car at the property, and when one of the occupants grabbed an axe and confronted the intruders, Watkinson put the gun to his head and demanded that he drop it.
The victim was then struck several times with the metal pole.
One of the woman occupants then phoned the police on a cell phone that had not been taken away.
The stolen property was loaded into a car and the four left. The police saw both cars and tried to get them to stop using their flashing lights. The two police pursuits that followed ended at Rolleston and near Dunsandel. At one stage, Allison had driven at up to 170km an hour, the police said. She had also driven with the lights turned off.
Watkinson told the police he had gone to the address to get his money back from one of the occupants for a debt.