By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A 38-year-old mother of 10 has been jailed for an armed robbery and a petrol drive-off in the company of her own children in Officer and Oakleigh.
She carried out the armed robbery with her 17-year-old son and niece, and the petrol drive-off with her 14-year-old daughter as the getaway driver.
Victorian County Court Judge Michael McInerney observed during sentencing on 10 May that the woman had lived “a modern horror story” of largely untreated drug use and living on the streets since she was 12 years old.
She has not been named by Star News so as not to identify her children.
During a two week crime spree, the woman, her 17-year-old son and 17-year-old niece waited in a car for a “soft target” outside Oakleigh railway station on 30 September.
They then kneed, punched and held up an alone 44-year-old Asian woman at knifepoint about 7.30pm, stealing her $200 backpack and $30 cash.
The traumatised victim’s hand was cut while she apparently grabbed the knife wielded by the woman’s niece.
About 15 minutes later, they robbed another alone woman on Dandenong Road, Windsor.
Days later, she was involved in three petrol drive-offs in a car with number plates stolen from Officer.
In the last of those offences, she stole about $70 of petrol from an Officer service station.
“In this instance, if it wasn’t bad enough that (the accused earlier) committed the armed robbery with her 17-year-old son and niece, the driver that drove off was her own 14-year-old daughter,” Judge McInerney said.
The accused was arrested in possession of 3.96 grams of methamphetamine on 12 October.
She had been on a community corrections order at the time for drug possession and dishonesty charges.
Judge McInerney noted that the robberies and thefts, despite their seriousness, netted “paltry” returns of between $1000 and $2000.
They had been her most serious offences in her 20-year criminal history.
Since leaving home at 12 years old, she had led a transient existence filled with untreated psychological “distress” and poly-substance abuse.
Her 10 children were conceived by six different fathers.
She had at times granted sexual favours to get accommodation, Judge McInerney said.
The woman’s son, who was the car’s driver during the Oakleigh armed robbery, had earlier been sentenced to 12 months in a youth training facility, Judge McInerney said.
The niece had been sentenced to a supervision order for her offending.
In sentencing, Judge McInerney took into account the need to deter and denounce such drug-fuelled crime and the “irresponsibility” of the woman involving her own children and niece.
She was jailed for three and a half years with a non-parole period of two years.