A woman who tried to hold onto her $3000 Louis Vuitton handbag during a violent robbery at Berkeley’s Nan Tien Temple last year has suffered devastating and lasting injuries, a court has heard.
The 62-year-old woman was dragged from a moving car through the temple carpark until she released her grip on the bag and was thrown free, the morning of August 26.
People who came to her aid found her on the roadway, bleeding from a head wound and from her ears. She had a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain and five months later continues to receive treatment for a facial droop, speech impediment and other physical impairments.
On Wednesday police arrested a Berkeley woman, 34-year-old Nicole Green, and charged her with robbing the woman in company, causing grievous bodily harm.
Details of the alleged assault were aired in Wollongong Local Court later that day as Green sought bail.
The court heard the injured woman and her 33-year-old son had been seated in a parked car, talking, when Green allegedly grabbed her brown leather handbag through the open front passenger door. The woman held on as Green allegedly got into the front passenger seat of a black Mitsubishi Lancer with a man at the wheel.
Police allege the man drove “harshly”, causing the the woman to fall onto the roadway and hit her head. She spent several weeks in Royal North Shore Hospital.
Meantime, police used a in-car video recorded by a passer-by to track the Lancer to a Berkeley address.
The car’s owner alleged Gregory Lawrence, 35, was staying at her house and had had custody of the car at the time of the robbery.
Police later used mobile phone records to place Lawrence in the Berkeley area.
They allege he sent Green a text less than two hours after the bag snatch - “please don’t tell jess plz babe and Lisa make sure she doesn’t ever call me soon cops everywhere”.
An anonymous caller to Crime Stoppers on September 26 named Green as the woman involved in the robbery, the court heard. Meantime, police found DNA profiles for Green and Lawrence on the Lancer’s steering wheel and front passenger headrest, respectively.
Sergeant Jacob, police prosecutor, argued against Green’s release in court on Wednesday, citing the need to protect the community and the strong likelihood she would be jailed if convicted.
“The victim will suffer lifelong injuries as a result of what happened,” Sgt Jacob said.
But defence solicitor Justine Hall said the case against Green was weak.
“The SMS [from Lawrence] takes the matter nowhere,” she said.
“The DNA match means absolutely nothing at this stage.
“[Calling the case] circumstantial would be generous.”
Magistrate Robert Walker agreed to release Green until her next court appearance on April 3.
“I agree there may be some issue with the strength of the prosecution case,” he said.
It is a condition of her bail that she report daily to police. She must also abide by a 7pm curfew and agreed to pay $1000 if she doesn’t comply with the bail terms.
Lawrence has been issued a court attendance notice for an identical charge and will front court April 5.