Tomahawk robber turned himself in after guilt got to him

NINE weeks after he committed a terrifying robbery armed with a tomahawk a guilt racked Ryan Bradley Burwell knocked on the door of the Ipswich Police Station.

The 26-year-old, who wasn't a suspect for the robbery at the time, made a full admission to police that he'd robbed the service station.

On November 12 last year Burwell, who was living rough in the bush at the time, walked into the Yamanto service station wearing a beanie and sunglasses to hide his face.

Holding a plastic bag and with the tomahawk, which he used in his day-to-day life, tucked into his pants, he walked to the counter where a young man, who Burwell knew, was working.

He pulled out the axe and yelled at the man: "Give me the cash or I'll cut your head" and told the attendant he wanted the notes not the coins.


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He put the money into the plastic bag and fled the store with $1678.

Burwell woke up the next morning at his car in the bush where he was living and thought he'd dreamed the robbery until he saw a bag of McDonald's, the first thing he'd bought, and the cash.

He pleaded guilty at the Ipswich District Court to armed robbery.

Defence lawyer Steve Kissick tendered a psychological report for Burwell which stated he was suffering from a number of disorders when he committed the offence.

Judge Greg Koppenol said while Burwell's actions must have been "a frightening experience" for the attendant, the fact Burwell had handed himself in when he wasn't a suspect was a significant mitigating factor.

"Your conscience must have got the better of you," he said.

Mr Kissick said Burwell was now living with his parents, employed and had a baby on the way with his partner.

Judge Koppenol said due to the remorse he showed by handing himself in, and the steps towards rehabilitation he had already taken he wasn't going to put him behind bars.

"I'm giving you an opportunity here today Mr Burwell. If there was any repetition of this sort of behaviour, or indeed any criminal behaviour you would not expect to be walking away."

Burwell was sentenced to three years prison and released immediately on parole. He was ordered to repay the $1675 he stole.


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