Servo staff fuming at jail term

A SERVICE station operator is disgusted after a knife and baseball-wielding man, who tried to rob her, will walk free in seven months.

Bonnie Scovell, who still has sleepless nights after the June 2008 attempted robbery, said she did not think Lee Andrew Butler’s sentence was adequate compared to the anguish she and her staff continued to suffer.

Butler, 27, yesterday pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery in company, following the incident at the United Service Station on FE Walker Street.

Judge Keith Dodds sentenced him to two years in prison, with a parole release date of May 6 next year.

“In truth they came in to maim and kill me and my staff,” Mrs Scovell said.

“Is all my life worth only seven months?”

Crown prosecutor Yuu Matsuyama told Bundaberg District Court that in the early hours of the morning Butler, along with two of his mates, loitered around the service station.

Then Butler, armed with a kitchen knife, baseball bat and with his face covered by a beanie, entered the service station.

Another man brandishing a bowling pin, with his face also covered, then allegedly entered the service station.

Mrs Scovell began to yell at the men as her staff member grabbed a fishing gaffe hook from behind the counter and returned their threats.

The three men fled after an alarm sounded, dropping gloves, weapons and other items used in the attempted robbery along the way.

The court was told DNA taken from the items police officers picked up the next day allegedly placed one of the other men at the scene of the crime, and he spilled the beans on Butler.

The defendant was arrested on October 7 and has been in jail since.

Defence counsel Simon Burgess said the majority of Butler’s criminal history centred around an addiction to marijuana and heroin.

“He got to the age of 25 before there was real intervention,” Mr Burgess said.

But, despite the bravado, Mrs Scovell displayed during the incident, she worries endlessly about her staff and is still jumpy when doing the night shift.

The service station operator said the sentence was not enough to deter someone else from committing the same crime.

“When people come at me fast I turn around and get ready to attack,” Mrs Scovell said.

“I’m changed from being a lovely old lady to one who thinks she should learn martial arts.”

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