Woman moves in next door to her victims

A cafe worker who helped a group of men rob her bosses now lives next door to the victims, in an "uncomfortable" set of circumstances described in Wollongong District Court on Friday.

Natasha Kirkland, 22, had been working at the San Churro chocolate cafe in Globe Lane for only a few weeks before she helped her then partner and others carry out a midnight robbery on June 1 last year.

She has since moved into the home of her parents - neighbours of the cafe owners - and told the court she avoided going outside when she knew the pair were home.

"I feel ashamed. They gave me their trust and I destroyed it," she told the court. "It's made everybody uncomfortable and my parents are embarrassed."

Kirkland has pleaded guilty to a charge of armed robbery.

The court heard she provided her then partner with details of her bosses' finances and movements, with the understanding he and others would rob the couple in Wollongong.

Instead the men went to the couple's Haywards Bay home and threatened them with a weapon as they entered their driveway, making off with their personal possessions.

Kirkland was arrested on June 14 at the Steelworks Hotel.

Police monitored text messages exchanged between the co-offenders before laying charges.

Yesterday defence lawyer Elizabeth Parkes, representing Kirkland, told the court her client had a "spiralling out-of-control drug addiction", fuelled by her relationship with her then partner, when she became involved in the robbery plot.

The court heard Kirkland had since come to consider the events "a good thing" because she had stopped her drug use and gained a better outlook on life as a result.

Kirkland told the court she ended her relationship and her drug habit immediately after the offence. She said she was scared of her ex-boyfriend because he was violent.

Crown representative Michael Love said Kirkland knew of the man's capacity for violence when she aided him in targeting her bosses.

"Even with your concern, you dropped off your partner at the time and three co-offenders with the plan of them committing a robbery and you certainly understood there was a real possibility that [the victims] could be hurt."

Judge Paul Conlon said Kirkland had attempted to downplay her role during a subsequent police interview.

"It wasn't her partner that introduced any [details] about her employer and how much money they were making. She's the one who raises how much money they're making, and as a result of that they say, 'We might do something about it'," he said.

The matter was adjourned to March 17.

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