A Blackbutt man involved in two armed robberies south of Wollongong will remain behind bars until June next year, a court has ruled.
Darren Butler, 21, has already spent 12 months in custody on charges relating to the October 2012 robberies of a Berkeley service station and newsagency at Warrawong.
Wollongong District Court judge Paul Conlon yesterday ordered him to spent a further eight months in jail, bringing his total minimum sentence for the crimes to 20 months.
Butler pleaded guilty to charges of being an accessory after the fact to robbery and assault with intent to rob (while armed).
He yesterday admitted to acting as the getaway driver when three co-offenders, two youths and another unidentified man, stormed into the Nolan Street 7 Eleven just after 5am on October 27 armed with a knife, tomahawk and screwdriver.
They threatened the store’s attendant before stealing cash and cigarettes and fleeing to a rear laneway, where Butler was waiting in a stolen car.
Butler told the court yesterday that he didn’t know about the planned robbery, nor did he know the car had been stolen from Toowoomba, in Queensland, days prior.
The morning after the first incident, Butler and the trio hit again, this time holding up a newsagency in King Street.
Butler held a 30-centimetre knife to a man’s throat in an attempt to steal cash, however, the group fled empty-handed after the shop owner threw a pile of newspapers at them.
A tip-off led police to Butler, who initially denied his involvement but dobbed in the youths.
They subsequently told police about Butler’s role in the crimes, and investigating officers matched Butler’s DNA with that found on a cigarette butt at the service station and gloves used in the newsagency hit.
Facing court yesterday, Butler admitted he’d been on a big drug binge when he committed the crimes.
A psychologist’s report tendered to court yesterday said Butler had been using methamphetamine since he was 17. It said while he wasn’t a drug addict, he did have a problem with committing offences when he was drug-affected.
Butler’s lawyer, Cathy Doosey, said her client had been given an ultimatum by his partner to stop drug taking and to clean up his act or she would take their four-month baby and leave him.
‘‘He knows it’s his last chance,’’ Ms Doosey said.
Judge Conlon acknowledged Butler had a significant criminal record, which included previous terms of imprisonment for violent offences.
However, he also noted Butler had a strong interest in securing work when he eventually got out of prison, agreeing that the worst thing to do upon his release would be to sit idle.
Judge Conlon ordered Butler to serve a parole period of two years in the community upon his release next June.