Postcard Bandit's follower in plea hearing

Brendon Berichon, the man who helped notorious "Postcard Bandit" bank robber Brendon James Abbott escape from prison, was living with his wife, Rhiannon Krakouer – the sister of AFL player Andrew Krakouer – in Melbourne when he agreed to take part in the planned bashing of another man, a court heard today.

Berichon, 35, was caught by police carrying a skeleton mask and loaded handgun near the intended victim's home.

Berichon, who shot and wounded two Melbourne transit police officers in 1998 while on the run after helping Abbott and four other prisoners escape from a Brisbane jail, had been out on parole and living in Melbourne's Gladstone Park with Ms Krakouer when he was arrested on July 11, 2011.

He pleaded guilty in the County Court on Monday to conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and being a prohibited person in possession of an unregistered firearm.

The maximum penalty is 20 years' jail.

Prosecutor Sarah Thomas told the court that Berichon had opened the Bulletproof Fitness gym at Hadfield while on parole and was working as a personal trainer when recruited to help attack a man involved in a drug-related burglary.

Berichon was driven with two others, Omar Houssein, 20, and Vincent Myer, 23, to a house at Ringwood on July 11, 2011, when armed with a loaded Smith & Wesson .38 calibre revolver and carrying a skeleton mask as a disguise. Meyer was armed with a set of knuckledusters.

Victoria Police special operations group officers arrested the men near their intended victim's house after having earlier intercepted their mobile phone calls.

Berichon threw the loaded gun into nearby bushes but it was recovered by police.

Ms Thomas said a typed note was later found detailing the instructions given to Berichon for the planned assault, including the intended victim's name and the figure of $5000.

Defence barrister Damian Sheales said Berichon had helped Abbott and four others escape from prison in November 1997.

A previous court hearing was told Berichon tossed bolt cutters over a fence and fired at police and prison guards to keep them at bay to enable the escape.

He had met Abbott and the others while in prison and was on the run for about eight months after the daring escape.

Berichon was later jailed for a minimum nine years for the attempted murder of the two transit police officers in April 1998 while on the run.

He married Ms Krakouer in prison on December 2, 2006.

Abbott was nicknamed the "Postcard Bandit" after taking pictures of himself and accomplices when on the run and it was incorrectly reported that he had sent them to police.

Berichon was extradited to Queensland in 2007 and jailed for five years over the prison break, with a non-parole period of 2� years.

Berichon was later released on parole and opened the Bulletproof Fitness gym.

The plea hearing continues.

This story Postcard Bandit's follower in plea hearing first appeared on The Age.