Desperate addict hits food store

A Warilla woman will spend at least 10 months behind bars for the armed robbery of her local takeaway shop.

Elizabeth Susan Butler arrived at the shop moments after the roller door went up on the morning of September 22, 2013, desperate to borrow money.

The shopkeeper lent her mobile phone to Butler, a regular customer, so she could ask the business owner for the loan, but when efforts to contact the man failed, Butler announced, "You know what, I'm going to take f---ing money".

On Friday Wollongong District Court heard Butler picked up a padlock from the shop counter and swung it at the head of the victim when she tried to stop Butler from coming behind the counter.

The woman used her arm in defence and fell backwards.

Butler told her, "Don't f---ing try to stop me Barb ... I will hurt you," and collected $160 in bills from the till, saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm desperate," as she did so.

As Butler left the shop she said, "Don't tell anyone or you're f---ing dead, I promise you, you will be dead."

Butler, 52, pleaded guilty to a charge of robbery armed with an offensive weapon.

The court heard she had a long-standing drug problem, which began at age eight when she started inhaling cooking spray. She tried cannabis at age 10, heroin at 12 and was addicted to heroin by 16.

Judge Paul Conlon noted Butler's "extensive criminal record", which included numerous convictions for robberies.

Butler's lawyer, Sian Aldis, said her client had serious health problems including emphysema, asthma and mental health issues, and that "there will come a time - and I think that time has come - that Ms Butler physically won't be able to commit these offences".

Butler was sentenced to an overall prison term of two years, with a non-parole period of 10 months.

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