Bay of Plenty Times story here
Bay of Plenty Times story 5th November 2005
When Ricki Warren pulled the trigger of a sawn-off shotgun at the BP Summit service station, the bullet flew so close to an attendant's head his hair moved.
The jobless 29-year-old claimed it was discharged accidentally but it was the first shot fired in a Tauranga aggravated robbery since 1999.
The discharged gun was an aggravating feature presented by the Crown and accepted by Judge Peter Rollo in Tauranga District Court yesterday.
He sentenced Warren to eight and a half years' imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of four years, after the Hairini resident pleaded guilty to two charges of aggravated robbery of the 15th Avenue Shell station on August 2 and the BP Summit station on August 11.
"The prospect of death was high with the loaded firearm and more so because it was discharged. The second robbery could so easily have been a homicide," Judge Rollo said.
He agreed with Crown Solicitor Greg Hollister-Jones that the court had a duty to deter other offenders, recognise the anguish suffered by the victims and protect the community.
The BP robbery was made worse by Warren employing a 16-year-old youth as the get-away driver, Judge Rollo said. "He has been dealt with in the Youth Court but that was a further aggravating feature that you should involve such a young person."
Defence lawyer Tony Balme said Warren had shown remorse and a desire to apologise to his victims. Mr Balme was concerned about the impact of a lengthy prison term after the probation officer said Warren had "no motivation to continue living" and he had observed the same.
"His descent into a sort of complete spiritual emptiness seems near complete."
Warren had attempted to take his own life several times while in custody and had scars on his arms to prove it, Mr Balme said.
Judge Rollo said the premeditated nature of the first robbery was a further aggravating feature.
"You cased the 15th Ave service station by visiting it on three occasions to confirm your plan and secure arrangements."
In each robbery, Warren covered the lower part of his face and neck with a scarf and wore a beanie hat.
He demanded money in both instances and was handed a total of $706.
Judge Rollo questioned whether it was all worth it for that sum.
"For eight and a half years in prison I have worked out that you would get $83.06 a year," he said.
Warren claimed through his lawyer that the shot was fired accidentally. After grabbing $90 in notes, he turned to leave and released the trigger, sending one cartridge of pellets into a cigarette stand behind the attendant. A still photograph taken from video surveillance footage showed the attendant's hair being blown upward by the blast.
Yesterday Judge Rollo told Warren he hoped there would be life after prison. "I hope you will make changes in your life and become a useful member of the community."
Date of Birth
Armed robberies of two service stations in Tauranga in August 2005
Sentenced to 8 years 6 months with a 4 year non-parole period in November 2005
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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