A WOMAN who held up a Bendigo pharmacy with a blood-filled syringe and demanded painkillers cried as her crime was read out in court on Monday.
Nerolie Purtill, 42, was urged to seek help for her addiction to painkillers, when facing the Bendigo Magistrates Court for a single charge of armed robbery.
The court heard that at 7.20pm on Sunday, Ms Purtill went to the Bendigo Day and Night Pharmacy and demanded the painkiller OxyContin.
“She held a blood-filled syringe close to a staff member’s chest and threatened her in a menacing way,” prosecuting Senior Constable Tony Graham said.
“When the staff member took out a 5ml strength box of OxyContin, Ms Purtill started yelling for the 80ml strength.”
The staff member gave her three boxes of the drug, before Ms Purtill left the store.
Police conducted a search warrant of Ms Purtill’s property the following day, and found the medication and the clothing worn in the crime.
Ms Purtill made full admissions and was “genuinely remorseful”.
Defence counsel Peter Baker said his client was desperate for OxyContin at the time of the crime.
“She had travelled to Melbourne and had been in excruciating pain,” he said.
“She took a double dose of her daily medication and had run out. She said she did not go to the after-hours clinic because she did not want to be admitted.”
Magistrate Jennifer Tregent said the armed robbery was a “serious crime”.
She said Ms Purtill was “physically and emotionally addicted to the medicine” and asked her to seek alternate measures for her pain.
“There is a lot of abuse with that drug – and if you rely on it, you will become a target for people to steal from,” she said.
“Your doctor should be referring you to other ways to deal with this because you don’t want to be relying on painkillers forever.”
Ms Purtill was granted bail and will face court again on November 27 for a committal mention.