Woman held at gunpoint prays
As the partially masked Slade Joseph Moa threatened a supermarket worker with a gun, the woman prayed and told her children she loved them.
The security guard accompanying her outside the Super Seven Supermarket in Palmerston North turned his face away from the firearm so if Moa shot him, he would not see the flash.
Moa's gun was not real. However, when he lunged out of the darkness about 11.30pm on November 16, 2011, the woman and the security guard did not know that.
On one charge of aggravated robbery, Moa, 20, was yesterday jailed for three years, one month and two weeks.
The woman had just locked up the supermarket, on the corner of Milson Line and McGregor St, when the drama began.
Moa had parked in Fairs Rd and, as the Palmerston North District Court heard yesterday, ran towards the man and the woman demanding money. His face was partly covered.
"The woman threw her handbag towards you," Judge David Smith told Moa.
"She raised her hands and threw herself on the footpath."
The man could not find his wallet and instead gave Moa his radio. Moa gathered his loot and ran off.
A statement from the woman said she had been having trouble sleeping, was distrustful of others and suffered from panic attacks and flashbacks since the holdup.
"She was absolutely petrified and thought she was going to die," Judge Smith said.
"She closed her eyes and prayed and told her children that she loved them and that she would always be there for them."
The security guard also suffers flashbacks, seeing the gun muzzle that was just inches away from him.
The man had now left his job and the area, and had started drinking, while the woman was having counselling.
Moa was to have faced a jury trial, but changed his plea after a sentencing indication hearing before Christmas.
Defence lawyer Paul Knowsley successfully argued Moa should get a small reduction for showing remorse.
Knowsley brought to court a letter Moa had written and said his client was interested in having a restorative justice meeting with the victims.
Both Allan Kete Kawhena and Roxanne Terehunga McGregor were in the car parked in Fairs Rd, but didn't get out with Moa.
They have each admitted a charge of being a party to robbery. Kawhena was jailed for two years while McGregor will be sentenced later this month.