Couple plead guilty to role in a spree of New Plymouth robberies

ANDY JACKSON/Stuff.co.nz

Fitzroy business owner Kris Armstrong talks about watching a robbery unfold.

A couple with four children have pleaded guilty to their role in an armed holdup of a New Plymouth TAB during a mini crime spree that netted them about $1000.

Teaomarama Moki Tupe, 36 and Jannah Patricia Bennett, 28, appeared in the New Plymouth District Court on Tuesday.

Tupe pleaded guilty to two charges of aggravated robbery and one of robbery. Bennett pleaded guilty to two charges of robbery.

Couple plead guilty to armed holdup of New Plymouth TAB.
ANDY JACKSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Couple plead guilty to armed holdup of New Plymouth TAB.

Bennett and Tupe are partners and have four children together, aged between 5 to 10 years.

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Bennett's mother Joanne Patricia Bennett was initially charged with aggravated robbery but this had since been withdrawn by police.

The couple's crime spree, which spanned five days, began on October 7 last year, when Tupe and Bennett went to the Barriball Street dairy in New Plymouth.

Tupe brandished a firearm at the shop keeper and stole money. A cash register was also taken in the robbery. After stealing the items, he fled to a vehicle which was being driven by Bennett.

​On October 12, the two attempted to rob the Nag and Noggin bar on Tukapa St, just before midday.

Armed police swarmed to the TAB in Fitzroy, New Plymouth   on October 12 last year after reports of an armed robbery.
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ

Armed police swarmed to the TAB in Fitzroy, New Plymouth on October 12 last year after reports of an armed robbery.

The couple then drove to the Fitzroy TAB on Devon St East, where Tupe entered the betting shop and stole money at gunpoint.

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It is understood a double barrelled shotgun was in Tupe's possession during all three of the offences. The firearm had since been recovered by police.

The amount of money taken in the robberies was about $1000.

Three of the couple's children attended Tuesday's court hearing to see Tupe, who has been in custody since his arrest last year.

After the pleas were entered, Judge Chris Sygrove remanded Tupe into custody again to reappear with Bennett, who is on bail, for sentencing on May 16.  

 - Stuff

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