Guilty plea by getaway driver

THE getaway car driver for a dangerous armed robbery duo accused of shooting Water Board Bowling Club patron Dick McGuigan pleaded guilty yesterday to his role in a daring bank robbery.

Matthew John Hollebone, 27, told his girlfriend to pack him a bag because ‘‘I’m going to make lots of money’’ on July 15 last year, a statement of facts said.

Hollebone, of Tamar Street, Belmont North, drove his two accomplices to the Newcastle Permanent Building Society at New Lambton in a stolen car where the duo stormed the branch, armed with a sawn-off shotgun and a sledgehammer.

The gunman threatened staff while the offender with the sledgehammer tried to smash his way through a security door before they escaped with $44,000, the statement said

Hollebone was paid $3500 for dropping the robbers off and then driving them from the scene to his girlfriend’s car,  parked in a neighbouring street.

His DNA was found in the stolen car and he was arrested last October before he confessed.

Hollebone pleaded guilty in Newcastle Local Court yesterday to four counts of armed robbery and was committed to the district court where he will be sentenced later this year.

His two co-accused, who will appear in the district court next week, are also charged with  carrying out the Water Board Bowling Club robbery in June last year.

During that robbery, on a Sunday night,  one of the robbers said to the gunman ‘‘Put one in him’’ before the shooter aimed at Mr McGuigan and fired.

Mr McGuigan survived after a long stint in hospital.

The two alleged robbers are charged with attempted murder as well as armed robberies at the Criterion Hotel at Carrington on May 22 last year, the bowling club on June 19, Carrington post office on June 10, 2010, and the building society last year.

They have not entered pleas.

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