A man bravely fought a thug who came at him with a screwdriver when he was working alone at night in a Preston petrol station.
The devoted employee refused Damien Orr’s requests for money then wrestled the armed thief to try to stop him getting into the cash register at the Liberty franchise on Plenty Rd.
Orr, 34, fronted the County Court on Friday, September 11, having pleaded guilty to armed robbery.
The court heard the attendant let Orr into the service station about 3.10am on January 26 before Orr approached the counter with a can of coke and vegemite.
He said, “Give me some money,” to the man, then pulled a Phillips head screwdriver from behind his back and again demanded money.
The employee said he wouldn’t, telling Orr that his job was important to him and that Orr should be giving him money.
He asked Orr to leave before Orr shouted money was also important to him and yelled, “This is my life, give me the money,” while jabbing the screwdriver into the counter in a threatening way.
The man kept saying no, before Orr climbed over the counter, causing the man to move back, and went to open the cash register with the screwdriver.
The employee tried to stop Orr opening the till, and they got into a struggle, during which the employee’s glasses fell to the floor and broke.
Orr managed to open the till and grab $650 before he shouted at the man to open the doors and fled.
The employee was not injured.
Orr then walked to a Preston property and changed his clothes, putting the ones he’d been wearing in a bin.
The longtime heroin and methamphetamine user later told police he had wanted the cash for a heroin fix.
The court heard he’d previously been jailed for holding up a service station with a knife when he was 21, and had then tried to commit a further two armed robberies, using a pitchfork and a metal rod at a service station, the following year.
Judge William Stuart noted Orr’s “disturbing”, extensive criminal history also included almost 30 violent offences.
He said the serious type of armed robbery was on a soft target and must have left the victim terrified.
The court heard Orr suffered from a low IQ and a range of mental disorders which reduced his moral culpability and would make custody more onerous for him.
Judge Stuart said he was taking into consideration that jail was more onerous because of COVID-19 and that Orr had pleaded guilty as soon as possible.
He sentenced Orr to three years and six months jail, with a non parole period of two years and three months.
Judge Stuart noted Orr had already served 229 days, and said the sentence would have been five years with a three-year non parole period but for the guilty plea.