Woman drove ex to bank robbery

ANNE CLARKSON
Last updated 11:45 31/07/2013
Timothy Daniel Whelan
JAILED: Timothy Daniel Whelan is serving a two year and four month prison term for the bank robbery where he had used a fake bomb.

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A woman has admitted driving the getaway car for Christchurch's smiling bank robber.

The robber, 22-year-old Timothy Daniel Whelan, is already serving a two year and four month prison term for the bank robbery where he had used a fake bomb.

His ex-partner, Sian Elizabeth Starling, a 22-year-old optician, was due to have a three-day trial in the Christchurch District Court today on a charge of aggravated robbery, but she pleaded guilty before it began.

She admitted driving Whelan to and from the bank he robbed.

She had helped him to wipe the cardboard box and fake detonator he had constructed to remove any fingerprints, and then drove him to the ANZ bank in Woolston on September 24.

Starling parked the car behind the bank, and Whelan went into the bank and told the teller he had high explosives in the box he was carrying. He showed her the fake detonator, and she handed over $5660.

Starling drove him away, and on the way home Whelan showed her the money in the bag. They stopped at a service station to buy cigarettes and a drink.

When they got home she cut his hair to change his appearance, but he had already been caught on the bank's security camera smiling, and without his face covered, during the robbery.

The pair counted the money before Whelan stashed it. He gave Starling $100 towards her bills and he used $100 to buy them some cannabis.

When the picture from the bank's security camera was released to the media, Whelan was quickly identified and arrested.

Whelan pleaded guilty and was jailed at his sentencing in January.

Judge Raoul Neave today read the three strike warning which imposes heavier penalties on repeat violent offenders to Starling, and remanded her on bail for sentencing on October 16.

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