Robber must stay in rehab

A man who robbed a Temuka petrol station at knifepoint has been sentenced to a year's home detention.

Igor Vladmimiravich Culish, who was 52 at the time of the incident, appeared in the Timaru District Court yesterday on a charge of aggravated robbery.

Culish drove to the Z Temuka service station at 6am on September 4, where he pumped "just over" $20 of petrol into his car. He then took a 30 centimetre knife into the shop and told the female attendant "give me your money now", before fleeing the scene.

Police found him at an address in Parkside, Timaru.

Reading from a report, Judge Joanna Maze said Culish drove to the Kensington Centre, Timaru's mental health unit, immediately after the incident to get help. He had also made previous attempts two days prior.

She said there was no evidence his actions at the petrol station were premeditated.

Judge Maze took into account that the incident did not consist of "actual" violence. The knife was presented by putting it on the counter to create the threat.

"It was kept on the counter - it wasn't waved about or thrust at the victim. There were no customers present, a small sum was taken [and] there was no attempt at disguise."

She also acknowledged Culish had shown remorse. He has attended a restorative justice session with the victim and was seeking help for alcohol abuse.

"You have apologised face-to-face in circumstances that could not have been easy. That could not have been easy for the victim either."

However, his actions had traumatised the victim, she said.

She sentenced him to a year's home detention, to be served at Nova Lodge in Christchurch where he is in an alcohol and drug rehabilitation programme. Conditions of his sentence meant he had to remain at the lodge 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

He was also ordered to pay reparation of $36.50.

The Timaru Herald