Woman charged with helping bank robber

Last updated 13:01 19/12/2012

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Police allege that Christchurch's smiling bank robber did not act alone.

Sian Elizabeth Starling, of Fernside in rural Canterbury, has been charged with being involved in the robbery of a Woolston bank on September 24.

The robber, 22-year-old Timothy Daniel Whelan, used a weapon that appeared to be a bomb and detonator at the ANZ bank in Ferry Rd.

He smiled and made no attempt to conceal his identity from the security cameras. He was spoken to by police and arrested after the media published the images.

Whelan pleaded guilty to the robbery charge on October 18 and is due for sentence on January 23. His defence counsel has said psychiatric issues would be cited as mitigating factors at his sentencing.

Starling, a 22-year-old Welsh-born optician, appeared before Judge David Saunders in the Christchurch District Court today and was remanded on bail to appear at the court session at Nga Hau e Wha marae on January 18.

She is charged with robbery of the bank as a principal offender, but police are likely to amend the charge to allege that she was a party to the robbery by doing the driving.

Police did not oppose her release on bail during the remand. While on bail, she will have to live at Fernside, not go to any ANZ or National Bank branch, surrender her passport, and not contact Whelan.

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