Addiction fuelled robbery: police

RELEASED: Amanda Thatcher, 31, (right) leaves Bendigo Magistrates Court.
RELEASED: Amanda Thatcher, 31, (right) leaves Bendigo Magistrates Court.
CUSTODY: Glen Byrne-Jones is taken away.

CUSTODY: Glen Byrne-Jones is taken away.

A couple charged with the armed robbery of an Epsom service station on Saturday were drug users in need of money to fuel their heroin addiction, a court has heard. 

After being held in custody since Saturday, Glen Byrne-Jones, 25, and Amanda Thatcher, 31, appeared separately in Bendigo Magistrates Court on Monday.

Thatcher faced three charges including armed robbery, being in possession of proceeds of crime and committing an indictable offence while on bail. 

She was released on bail. 

Bryne-Jones, who faced one charge of armed robbery, was refused bail.

Police informants Constable Heath Barker and Detective Senior Constable Lloyd Twycross told the court how the co-accused, who were in a romantic relationship, allegedly worked together on August 2 to pull off the armed robbery. 

Detective Senior Constable Twycross said at 6.55pm the pair entered the BP service station after parking their car around the corner, on Taylor Street.

He said CCTV footage showed Thatcher, who entered the store, bought a drink and used the toilet, appeared to be "casing the place".

After Thatcher went back to the car, CCTV then captured Bryne-Jones' attempt to enter the service station, which was thwarted after Byrne-Jones appeared to be "spooked" by an unknown man. 

The pair then drove to a car wash about 30 metres away from the service station and temporarily parked their car, where they were observed by a nearby security guard. 

At 7.14pm, Byrne-Jones walked into the service station wearing a black beanie and produced a folding knife concealed in his sleeve, demanding the attendant place cash in a backpack.

Police arrested the pair a short time later on Averys Road, Eaglehawk, after seizing Thatcher’s yellow purse, which contained $901.05 and $350 from Byrne-Jones.

The court heard the pair were both heroin addicts and police had found used syringes in the car. 

After they were arrested, Byrne-Jones said he had a habit of $200 a week, while Thatcher said it was $50 to $100 a day.

Thatcher's defence lawyer Alex McClennan argued bail was appropriate because it was the mother-of-three's first time in custody and that she had a limited history of offending. 

She also had suitable accommodation and supervision offered by her mother, who supported her daughter in court.

Byrne-Jones' defence lawyer Megan Aumair made the same arguments for her client and said he was not an unacceptable risk if released on bail.  

Magistrate Richard Wright released Thatcher on bail, subject to conditions she did not associate with the co-accused, stayed away from illicit drugs and adhered to reporting and curfew requirements.

But Magistrate Wright said Byrne-Jones was the “principal protagonist in this exercise” and not in a similar situation with suitable conditions for bail.

Byrne-Jones was refused bail and will appear in court at a later date.


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