A PAIR of armed robbers who were duped into appearing on CCTV cameras at the University of Newcastle campus by a quick-thinking mathematics and science student have been jailed in Newcastle District Court.
The 18-year-old student told police he had just finished an exam about 8pm on May 31 last year and was walking to the Warabrook railway station when he was confronted by Scott Burrell, 33, who was armed with a knife, and his fiance, Caitlin Smith, 27. "I'm going to need your phone and wallet," Burrell told the student.
But instead of handing over his possessions, the first-year student bargained with the pair and said he could take them to an ATM where he said he could only afford to withdraw $150.
He later told police he also knew there were CCTV cameras near the ATMs.
But the student's audacious plan nearly came unstuck when Burrell took a peek at the ATM screen and saw his victim's bank balance was hovering around the $3000 mark.
After seeing this, Burrell doubled his asking price and handed back the victim's wallet - but not before he looked at his ID and said: "we know where you live, we don't want to have to come to your house".
Bizarrely, the student then gave his attackers directions on how to get out of the university.
The student's plan worked, in part, with CCTV footage capturing some of the robbery.
But more importantly it helped support his version of events. When police arrested Burrell he initially told a "fanciful" story about running into the student, who asked him and his girlfriend if they knew where he could find a brothel.
Burrell said they negotiated for his girlfriend to perform "sex acts" on the student for $300.
Burrell later gave a second police interview where he made full admissions to his involvement in the armed robbery.
"It wasn't a gratuitously cruel robbery," Burrell's solicitor, Mark Ramsland, said. "He saw the victim had $3000 and chose to take $300 and return his card. "He even established some sort of rapport with the victim."
Burrell was jailed for a maximum of three years and nine months, with a non-parole period of two years and three months in Newcastle District Court on Monday.
He will be eligible for parole in January, 2021.
Mr Ramsland said Burrell intended to make reparations for the $300 he stole and was working in jail to repay the victim.
Ms Smith, who was represented by solicitor Hannah Bruce, played a lesser role in the armed robbery and was jailed for a maximum of three years, with a non-parole period of two years. She will be out in August, 2020.
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