Mum of three threatened store owner with syringe

A WOMAN who held up a Leichhardt convenience store with a syringe, but left with only a packet of cigarettes will spend 10 months behind bars.

Justine Margaret Murphy, 25, pleaded guilty at the Ipswich District Court on Thursday to armed robbery. The court heard that on December 3 last year Murphy tried to get a a packet of cigarettes on store credit from a Leichhardt convenience store.

She left but returned soon after. The court heard she stood about 30cm away from the store owner while wielding a syringe. She demanded the woman open the till saying "I have AIDS, do you want AIDS".

The owner refused and Murphy grabbed a packet of cigarettes. Murphy fled after the owner hit her with a metal curtain rod.

The court heard the robbery has had a severe impact on the store owner who no longer felt safe in the store and had to sell it.

Defence lawyer Scott Neaves said Murphy was addicted to methylamphetamines and in a violent relationship at the time of the offence.

"She'd just had a shot of ice and she was drunk," he said. "She was clearly acting on the spur of the moment."

He said Murphy was a mother of three boys, aged two to seven, who lived with her mother in north Queensland.

Judge Deborah Richards said Murphy's offending was unsophisticated but persistent.

"When you couldn't get cigarettes on credit you came back (and robbed the store)," she said.

"It's clear there wasn't a lot of planning in this."

Murphy was sentenced to three years' jail. She will be released on parole in October, 10 months after she was taken into custody.



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