Men jailed for armed hold-up of Bendigo service station using a knife

Tyson Gray is arrested by police on McIvor Road. Picture: 9News/Julian Fisher
Tyson Gray is arrested by police on McIvor Road. Picture: 9News/Julian Fisher

TWO men who committed an armed robbery of the Coles Express service station on McIvor Road have been sent to jail.

Tyson Gray, 25, and Michael Blow, 22, were sentenced in the County Court in Melbourne on Friday.

Blow was considered the main offender, and held a knife up his sleeve while he demanded cash from the attendant at 10.20pm on January 2.

Gray went to the service station with him after the two had earlier met at the nearby Coles supermarket. Gray held his shirt over his face and handed himself in to police immediately after, while Blow fled in nearby streets.

Blow made off with $200 cash and was arrested the following day.

The court was told the two men have long-standing mental health and substance abuse issues, and both had prior convictions for similar offences committed on service stations. Their conditions made them vulnerable in custody.

Gray, who has an intellectual disability, admitted to police he was affected by ice, alcohol and GHB on the day of the offence.

Tyson Gray hands himself in to police shortly after the armed hold-up of Coles Express service station on McIvor Road. Picture: 9News/Julian Fisher

Tyson Gray hands himself in to police shortly after the armed hold-up of Coles Express service station on McIvor Road. Picture: 9News/Julian Fisher

He had managed to address his substance abuse issues in an Indigenous-specific program, but was not allowed to gain help from the program afterwards due to his sobriety. Gray then relapsed.

Blow, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, contravened a community corrections order by committing the offence. The order was handed down in May 2015 in relation to the armed hold-up of a service station in Rochester.

The court was told he struggled to deal with the sudden death of his father.

Judge Jane Patrick said it was unfortunate that both men had failed to address their issues after their last appearances before the court.

“It is indeed regrettable that despite some progress on the community correction order, you have re-offender in a similar way whilst that order was still on foot,” she told Blow.

“It appears to be somewhat ironic that you are able to be sober when you receive support, but once you are sober then the support may no longer be available,” she said to Gray.

Judge Patrick described the offending as “frightening” for the attendant who was working in “isolated circumstances”, and that the service station was a “soft target”.

“(The experience was) one that a person going about their work should not have to face,” she said.

Gray was convicted and jailed for eight months to be followed by a two-year community corrections order, and has served 43 days in custody. He was also fined $500 for breaching a court undertaking.

Blow was convicted and jailed for 30 months with a non-parole period of 15 months. He has served 303 days in custody.