A TORQUAY convenience store owner was left traumatised after an 18-year-old Hervey Bay woman robbed the shop, brandishing a 10 inch knife.
Nadine Stevie Wilkinson, now 21, pleaded guilty in Hervey Bay District Court yesterday to one count of armed robbery in relation to the theft from the Cypress Street Store.
The court heard that in June 2014, Wilkinson had reportedly received a threat from her drug dealer in relation to an amount of money she owed them at the time, not long before she committed the armed robbery.
Crown Prosecutor Michael Connolly said Wilkinson entered the store wearing a grey hooded jumper, with the hood covering her head and a black cloth over her face.
The victim, 55 at the time, came out of the back room of the store when she heard Wilkinson come in.
"The defendant was holding a knife, 10 inches long with a brown handle and a silver serrated blade, at hip height," Mr Connolly said.
"[Wilkinson] said 'give me your money' and thrust the tip of the knife at the complainant, stopping six inches from her [the victim's] stomach."
The victim hit the panic button and opened the till, and Wilkinson grabbed about $400 in cash before leaving the store.
Mr Connolly described the offence as "very serious".
"It involved some pre-planning," he said.
"The complainant is a vulnerable target... there is no doubt this was a frightening ordeal. The weapon was brandished and thrust towards the complainant a number of times."
Reading from the tendered victim impact statement, Judge David Searles said the shop owner described the incident as "soul destroying".
"As a result of the incident, she was afraid of any person who came into the shop wearing a hooded jumper," Judge Searles said.
"[The robbery] affected her, her family and her friends."
Wilkinson's defence barrister Rick Taylor said his client had been using marijuana since she was 11 years old, and her substance abuse had exacerbated her mental health issues.
Reading from a doctor's assessment of Wilkinson, Mr Taylor said his client's "judgment during the period of offending is likely to be compromised".
"[Wilkinson] has made changes in lifestyle and rehabilitation."
Mr Taylor said his client was remorseful for her actions, and it would be more valuable to the community for her to continue rehabilitating out of custody.
Judge Searles sentenced Wilkinson to serve a three year term of imprisonment, and took into consideration her 32 days spend in pre-sentence custody.
Wilkinson was released on parole yesterday.
"I wish you well in the future," the judge said.
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