Dairy owner thwarts robber

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 11:41 13/08/2014

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A 17-year-old would-be armed robber is in custody awaiting sentence after a brave dairy owner fought back and took his air rifle off him.

Alexander William Edward Cottrell and a co-offender who was driving went to a Yaldhurst dairy on June 21.

Cottrell went into the dairy at 6.35pm, pointed an unloaded air rifle at the dairy owner's face and demanded cash and cigarettes.

The dairy owner put the items on the counter, but then he pushed the muzzle of the rifle aside from his face.

He told police at the time that he realised it was not a high-powered rifle and "took matters into his own hands".

The dairy owner won the wrestle for the rifle and Cottrell ran out of the dairy without his cash, tobacco and air rifle. He ran 500m to the waiting car and the pair drove off.

He pleaded guilty today to a charge of assault with intent to rob and defence counsel Tim Fournier asked for his release on bail pending sentence.

Judge Robert Murfitt refused bail and told Cottrell, "I am not satisfied that you can be trusted at this stage not to reoffend given your impulsivity and poor judgment."

When he realised he was being remanded in custody, Cottrell threw a packet of cigarettes from the dock to a friend in the court's public seats. Police checked the packet before the friend was allowed to have it.

Cottrell's mother told the Christchurch District Court of psychiatric issues her son faces and offered to have him at home with her in Windwhistle, inland Canterbury, while he was on bail.

Judge Murfitt said Cottrell could not be trusted and remanded him in custody until sentencing on September 17. He ordered a report on his suitability for home detention.

Probation told the court that Cottrell had not reported on his current supervision sentence since June 6 and his community work sentence since June 18.

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