Robbery victim's message to 'mongrels'

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 22/05/2014

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A New Plymouth man left with permanent injuries after a vicious street robbery has a message for those who attacked him.

"To the two mongrels that did this to me: if you were dogs you would be put down.

"To the driver who chose to look away, I hope the image of me covered in blood lives with you for the rest of your life," the 40-year-old man said in his victim impact statement read out to the New Plymouth District Court yesterday.

Todd Archie Richards, 25, admitted his role in the aggravated robbery at midnight on March 21 while getaway driver Codi Danielle Featonby, 20, admitted being a party to the offence.

The stick-wielding main offender, Rowan Pratt, will be sentenced next week after also pleading guilty.

Richards, who was on the run from police at the time of the attack, was sentenced to 3 years, 9 months jail for the robbery as well as a series of other offences including drink-driving, possession of cannabis and a methamphetamine pipe, disqualified driving and breaching bail. He was disqualified from driving for 15 months.

Featonby was candid to her pre-sentence report writer saying she felt the vicious assault was her fault. "I shouldn't have stopped the car. I knew what they were going to do," Featonby said in the interview.

Judge Allan Roberts said Richards must have known of Pratt's pedigree.

"He spends more time in jail than out," the judge said.

Their victim had walked from his home to the Caltex service station on Eliot St to buy cigarettes and took $300 cash from the ATM.

"A paltry sum," the judge said.

The three, who went to the petrol station to buy petrol saw their victim take the money and followed him in their car to Devon St. Pratt got out of the car and struck his victim from behind with a 40cm solid timber chair leg taken from Featonby's in anticipation of conflict.

The first blow opened up a large gash in the victim's head which bled heavily.

The victim tried to fight back and was hit several times more with the weapon. Richards joined in, attacking the victim in the head while he was on the ground grappling with Pratt.

He felt the pair rifling through his pockets, stealing his cellphone, the $300 and cigarettes.

The victim was hospitalised for a raft of injuries. He had four staples in the wound in his head, blurred vision after suffering two black eyes, burst blood vessels and six loose teeth.

His life was now changed completely after he was left with hearing loss and permanent ringing in his head, the judge said.

To Richards, the judge said he needlessly joined in the attack with Pratt.

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He knew Pratt's pedigree, the judge describing him as an "entrenched and thoroughly evil criminal".

To Featonby, the judge said she was the driver and in the presence of seasoned offenders and knew Pratt well. But she had reunited with her parents who would give her better oversight.

Featonby was given four months' home detention and 100 hours community work and ordered to attend substance abuse counselling As the only person retaining their liberty, she was ordered to pay the full reparation of $480.

- Taranaki Daily News

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