An Illawarra drug addict who robbed the Tarrawanna Post Office of $1000 after jumping the counter and attacking the owner has been sentenced to almost four years’ jail.
Jesse Lionel Murray, a seasoned criminal who has spent 13 of the last 16 years behind bars, had been out of prison just two months when he walked into the shop just after 10.30am on October 4 and demanded cash, telling the shop owner “I got a piece” while holding his hand between his pants and jacket.
The shop owner told Murray he didn’t have any money, prompting the 34-year-old to jump the counter, punched the shop owner and grab money from the till as the victim tried to fend him off with a chair.
Employees from a nearby shop were alerted to the incident and followed Murray along Caldwell Street.
They later told police $50 notes were falling out of his pants as he walked.
Police arrived a short time later and cornered Murray.
Officers said a wad of $50 and $20 notes fell to the ground as Murray put his hands in the air.
By the time he was arrested, he had less than $200 of the initial $1000 left on him.
Sentencing judge Andrew Haesler described the incident as “violent” and “nasty”, noting the attack had been carried out on a vulnerable man in his 60s while other people were present.
“This was an assault on a person providing a service to the community,” he said.
“You were a younger, stronger man who on your own admission was affected by drugs.
However, Judge Haesler also noted Murray was remorseful for his actions.
“I was very shocked to watch that myself,” Murray said after viewing CCTV footage of the incident played in court.
“I feel ashamed, I don’t fell good about it, I don’t feel proud.
“My heart was racing watching that.
“I want to say sorry [to the victim].”
The court heard Murray had had a troubled upbringing filled with violence, abuse and drug use from a young age, prompting Judge Haesler to say he would need significant help from Community Corrections while on parole.
He set a non-parole period of two years and eight months, meaning with time served, Murray will be eligible for release in June 2019.