Armed holdup pair's remorse lost on judge

Two men who went on a drug-fuelled crime spree in Hamilton last year say they regret their actions.

But their remorse didn't stop Judge Merelina Burnett from sentencing them each to more than six years' jail when they appeared in the Hamilton District Court.

Daniel Haumaha, 25, of Te Awamutu, and Daniel Payne, 24, of Hamilton, carried out several serious robberies and thefts, leaving terrified victims in their wake.

They began by stealing items from businesses on August 13. They took $134.92 of Sudafed, cream and Lemsip from Unichem Pharmacy at Beerescourt before heading to Ngaruawahia Pharmacy and making off with medication and pharmacy products worth $575.

Two days later they headed to Super Liquor Lyndon Court, Chartwell, and threatened the shopkeeper before running off with cash from the till and alcohol.

Their offending then began getting more serious.

Haumaha and Payne armed themselves with a pistol before threatening two shopkeepers at the Tuhikaramea Superette on August 16. They left with cash and cigarettes before heading to Frankton where they cased the TAB on King St.

They waited for most of the staff to leave before smashing the front window at 10.25pm.

Once inside they kicked down a door and found members of staff counting the day's takings.

They threatened one of them with a pistol, demanding access to the safe before fleeing with $14,242 cash and a cheque book.

At the time, Payne was serving community detention.

He admitted a further charge of theft of food from various retailers in Cambridge between August 6 and 13 last year.

Haumaha's counsel Kerry Tustin told Judge Burnett that her client hadn't been idle while in jail awaiting a court appearance. Instead he had taken part and completed several courses, including anger management.

Tustin said he was already taking steps towards parole by getting in touch with alcohol and drug agencies behind the prison walls.

He described his actions as "horrific and stupid", she said.

Judge Burnett noted that Haumaha had "quite a significant history" including alcohol and substance abuse, gambling and an addictive personality.

Tustin agreed and accepted that had been his lifestyle but he was keen to make a fresh start.

Judge Burnett told Haumaha that his new outlook on life was "all well and good" but his pre-sentence report wasn't particularly flattering.

Despite having a supportive family, his "life has been unstructured and self-absorbed and led you to where you are at the moment".

Mark Sturm, counsel for Payne, said his client was remorseful, but accepted that he was going to prison. He had completed drug and alcohol courses and was about to start a chefs' course.

Judge Burnett jailed Payne for six years and nine months.

Haumaha was jailed for six years and five months, which included one month for driving with excess breath alcohol for the sixth time and driving while disqualified on August 7.

The pair were also issued first strike warnings as aggravated robbery is a qualifying violence offence.

Waikato Times