Deeply troubled and hearing voices, a 27-year-old Christchurch woman decided her best option to keep herself safe was to get locked up for a dairy robbery.
Her bizarre story was told at her Christchurch District Court sentencing session yesterday.
Carly Denise Laughton was on the verge of attempting to commit suicide on the morning of October 9, after her efforts to get help had failed.
After a recent experience, she had ruled out going back to Hillmorton Hospital because she thought they would help her for no longer than 24 hours.
She had turned herself in at the police station, confessing that she had syringes and needles. She wanted to get herself arrested and put into safe care.
The police declined to arrest her.
On the spur of the moment she decided not to go ahead with the suicide, and thought about what crime she could commit to get herself arrested and remanded in custody.
That was when she decided to take the knife and rob a foodmarket.
She went into the shop with the knife and threatened the owner who managed to fend her off with a chair, but she grabbed $200 from the till and left.
Laughton was never going to get away with it, since she made no effort to hide her identity. She was quickly found and arrested, which was what she wanted.
In the meantime she had spent $14 of the loot on cigarettes and a roll of clingwrap.
She was remanded in custody and has stayed there while on remand, while a pre-sentence report and a psychiatric report were prepared.
Judge Jane Farish said the psychiatrist diagnosed post traumatic stress disorder, a likely borderline personality disorder, and poly-substance abuse issues.
Laughton was appearing for sentencing after pleading guilty to a charge of armed robbery.
Defence counsel Andrew McKenzie urged that a two-year jail term be imposed.
He said it would give Laughton certainty about her release date so that plans could be put in place for her to attend a residential drug rehabilitation course.
Laughton, who had plenty of supporters in court, burst into sobs when she realised she was going to get her wish.
Judge Farish paused and urged her to "take a deep breath".
The judge imposed the two-year jail term, saying there needed to be certainty about her rehabilitation.
While in prison, Laughton should take any treatment options available. She would need a psychological assessment and one-on-one counselling.
After the end of her sentence, Laughton will need to take treatment as required for another six months.
The judge recommended that she be seen by a departmental psychologist, and ordered that she remain compliant with her medication, particularly for depression.
- The Press