Newcastle courthouse. AN APOLOGETIC armed robber told police he used a large knife to hold up two Muswellbrook businesses because his drug dealer had threatened to break his legs.
“Sorry to do this to you, but give me all the money,” Joseph Andrew O’Shea told a staff member at Miller’s fashion store in Bridge Street on October 10 last year.
“I know I’m going to get caught for this and I know you will ring the police.
“You’re doing really well, I am going to put the knife away.”
The staff member handed him a bundle of denominations, but O’Shea passed her back all the $5 notes.
And then, when he was leaving the store with about $250 in hand, O’Shea said to himself: “I’m an asshole”, according to an agreed statement of facts.
Three weeks later, O’Shea, 23, approached the counter of Christine’s Asian Gourmet in the Central Arcade at Muswellbrook armed with a knife.
“Give me all your money,” O’Shea told the female staff member.
But as the woman handed over the cash, O’Shea said: “That’s it, that’s enough”.
Again he left behind the $5 notes, but fled with about $800.
Police examined CCTV footage from surrounding businesses and identified O’Shea, arresting him on November 2 outside the Woolworths service station in nearby BrookStreet.
When he was questioned, O’Shea initially said he only committed one robbery, at Christine’s Asian Gourmet, because he was in “a bad mental state” and “needed money”.
O’Shea said he awoke to a phone call from his drug dealer, who said he would have his legs broken over a debt.
He said he was “freaking out” and had to force himself to do the robbery.
He told police he found the knife in a creek under the railway bridge and, after the robbery, snapped the blade and burnt his clothes.
He initially denied committing the robbery at Miller’s, but later admitted to being responsible, saying he needed the money to cover rent, bills and hisdrug debt.
He told police he was “sorry” for committing the robberies and wanted to co-operate to “sort it all out”.
O’Shea, of Glenbawn Place, Muswellbrook, appeared in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday via audio visual link from jail where he pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery.
He will appear in Newcastle District Court on April 5 to get a sentence date.