Man jailed for cowardly robbery attempt

A WARRNAMBOOL man who committed a cowardly attempted armed robbery on a vulnerable woman has been jailed.

George Rollings, 54, of Cecil Street, was yesterday jailed for two years and three months, with a non-parole period of one year and three months, after he pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery.

The Warrnambool County Court heard on November 13, 2010, Rollings and a co-offender, Bradley Mitchem, went to the Road Pantry Caltex Service Station in Raglan Parade about 1am.

The woman was the sole worker at the service station and while outside smoking a cigarette noticed a man with sunglasses and a tea towel wrapped around his face.

Rollings walked past, then came towards the woman and she noticed he had a knife.

He told her to “give me all your money” in an aggressive tone and the woman backed away, into the shop.

She went inside to the shop’s console, held up two $20 notes and told Rollings to come and get it.

He refused and continued to tell the woman to bring the money out to him, before leaving.

In November 2012 police were called to an incident where Rollings was threatening self-harm. When he was taken for a psychiatric assessment he told a police officer of the attempted armed robbery. 

About the same time Rollings’ former partner went to police and said Rollings had made admissions to her about the attempted armed robbery.

Judge Mark Taft said he’d read the woman’s victim impact statement, which was not read out to the court, and said to be confronted by an armed person in that situation would be truly terrifying.

He said an attempted armed robbery on an isolated and vulnerable worker in the small hours of the morning was a cowardly act.

The court heard Rollings had a history of suicide attempts and had been exposed to alcohol and domestic violence from a young age.

His father left the family when he was 13 and later encouraged him to drink to excess.

Judge Taft said alcohol dependence had dominated and devalued Rollings’ life over a number of decades.

Matthew Leske, a rehabilitation and recovery worker from Aspire, told the court Rollings had suffered from severe depression and his recent return to work had been the biggest turning point in his life.

He said he believed it was possible for Rollings to be rehabilitated if he stayed off alcohol and got continual support.

The court heard Rollings had a prior conviction for attempted armed robbery and in 1984 was given a five-year good behaviour bond, ordered to abstain from alcohol and seek psychiatric treatment.

In August, Mitchem pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery and was sentenced to 19 months’ jail with a minimum of six months.

n If you or someone you know is experiencing an emotional crisis, call Lifeline on 131 114. 

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