A TAMWORTH businessman has lashed out at the “inadequate” jail sentence handed down to the knife-wielding bandit that terrorised his store.
Barry Bourne owns two takeaway food stores in town and became an inadvertent crime crusader after both were hit by armed men in separate incidents last year.
This week 37-year-old David George Thompson was sentenced to three years and nine months in jail for the armed hold-up at the Hi-Way Superette store on October 13.
But he could spend just one year and three months behind bars with good behaviour.
“It’s absolutely ruined our lives, mine and my wife’s,” Mr Bourne told The Leader.
“Every night since that robbery, it has impacted us and one of the junior girls and a senior staff member, too.
“I go and spend that last hour with the girls at the shop every night because they don’t want to be there on their own. “We’re not controlling our businesses, our businesses are controlling us.”
Making matters worse, the armed hold-up was just one of three Thompson – who hails from Tamworth – committed in less than a month.
“For a career criminal for three armed hold ups to get just over three years ... the way that it has affected our lives,” Mr Bourne said.
“That’s really inadequate.”
On September 20, Thompson hit an insurance company in Raymond Terrace, threatening an employee with a knife before running with a stash of cash. He returned home to Tamworth and a few weeks later jumped the counter and pulled a 25cm kitchen knife on two women who were preparing to close up the Goonoo Goonoo Rd superette before escaping with a large amount of money.
On October 16, he entered an Adamstown newsagency and threatened the employee but his quick cash grab was foiled and he fled empty- handed.
In a sentencing hearing in Newcastle District Court before Judge Peter Maiden, Thompson received a three-years-and-nine-month sentence for the armed cash grabs , but he’ll serve just three years – with 12 months non-parole – for the failed armed robbery in Adamstown.
Thompson’s time on the run eventually came to an end when he was arrested at Nobby’s Beach after police recognised him on October 17.
He pleaded guilty to each offence, and will be eligible for parole in July next year, but it’s cold comfort for Mr Bourne.
“For a long-term criminal, when are they going to say enough is enough and make him to do that longer sentence?” Mr Bourne asked.
“I don’t believe in this business of serving concurrent sentences; it’s no punishment.
“When are they going to stop this?
“At 37 yearsold, that’s ridiculous, he’s not going to change now ... obviously to him, jail doesn’t mean anything, so keep him there.,”