"Sorry, but empty the till ... this is a hold-up"

A MAN who apologised for robbing a Willowbank service station on the same note he used to hold it up will spend the next three months in prison.

David Matthew Parmenter, 39, pleaded guilty to robbery in the Ipswich District Court yesterday.

On December 21 last year Parmenter walked into the Matilda service station at Willowbank and began talking to the 36-year-old female attendant.

He gave her a hand written note which said "sorry but empty the till this is a hold up. I don't want to do this sorry".

On the other side of the note it stated "I just needed some help".

The attendant asked Parmenter if he was serious to which he replied "I'm not proud of it" before telling her he didn't want to use violence.

She hit the silent alarm before handing him $100 cash.

Parmenter got in his car, which the attendant noted the number plate of, and drove off.

The court heard the attendant continued to struggle to go to work and now lived in fear.

Parmenter hung his head as her statement was read out.

"(You) don't expect people, especially regulars to do this," the statement said. "(I) don't go out in public, don't trust people with his build because his face appears on theirs."

After pleading guilty Parmenter told the court he was sorry and ashamed for the robbery and the impact it had on the attendant.

The court heard he took the money to pay for rent and to pay off debts, and that he was trying to drive to Cowra after hearing of the death of someone close to one of his oldest friends.

Parmenter, a qualified pastry chef who lost his job following an injury, had been diagnosed with depression but had been off his medication in the days leading up to the crime.

He had turned to drinking to self medicate, and was arrested later that night for drink-driving, blowing a blood-alcohol reading of 0.130.

Judge Gregory Koppenol said Parmenter's actions had caused a great deal of suffering to the woman behind the counter.

"(Your actions) had significant negative impact on the complainant," he said.

"She's scared of going to work or being at work. That is not an uncommon reaction to robberies."

He said the community had an expectation people who commit robberies would be sent to prison.

He was sentenced to 18 months of imprisonment with a parole release date in three months.

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