Crystal clear robbery pics bring guilty pleas

May 18, 2017 | By More

A man clearly caught on security camera doing a service station robbery has pleaded guilty just a week later.

When Nathan Paul French, 23, first appeared in the Christchurch District Court last week, his defence counsel Tony Garrett described the guilty pleas as “inevitable” in view of the photographic evidence.

The pleas to charges of armed robbery and unlawfully taking a car were entered at an appearance by video-link before Judge Stephen O’Driscoll today.

Judge O’Driscoll remanded French in custody for sentencing on July 4.

He did not seek a home detention report, because of the jail term that was likely to be imposed.

He also did not record convictions because that would trigger a first strike warning, which imposes heavier penalties on repeat violent offenders. He wanted French’s lawyer to meet with him before that warning was given.

Police said that about 10.45pm on May 10, French drove into the Z Energy Service Station on the Main South Road at Templeton, and filled the vehicle with petrol.

Undisguised, he then went into the service station holding a large screwdriver and approached the victim, who was behind the counter.

He told the attendant to give him “all the money and cigarettes” while he held the screwdriver at chest height, pointed towards the victim.

The attendant opened the till and stood back with his hands up, telling French to get the money himself. French took $90 in bank notes, and started to walk around behind the counter.

The attendant locked himself in the store room and pressed the panic button he wore around his neck.

While the victim was in the store room, French took 15 pouches of tobacco worth $1048 from a cabinet.

He used the screwdriver to force open the entrance doors to the service station and drove off.

Police said French took a parked vehicle from outside a garage in Leeston, about an hour before the service station robbery. He used a screwdriver to enter and start the vehicle.

When he was caught, he admitted the robbery and said he was short of money and had debts to pay.

The police are asking for reparations for the items taken in the robbery, and they want French disqualified from driving because a car was used for the robbery.

 

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