New mum off to prison for robbery role

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A mum involved in a group robbery of a man she lured to a house in Napier while he was visiting Hawke's Bay has been sentenced to two years and 10 months' jail, just eight weeks after the birth of her second child.

Chelsea Lee Paul, of Hastings but from Wairoa, was appearing yesterday before Judge Geoff Rea in Napier District Court, for sentencing which had been deferred on September 27 as the court grappled over the future of the newborn child and the possibility of her being allowed to raise the child in a special unit in Auckland for incarcerated mums and their babies.

She had pleaded guilty to one charge of aggravated robbery and one of unlawfully taking the victim's car in a plot she hatched with another woman and at least two men and carried out on December 16 last year.

Yesterday defence counsel Roger Philip said the prospect of Paul taking the child to prison with her had been ruled out, as mothers could apply only once actually in prison, but her brother had "stepped-up" to look after the infant.

Judge Rea said he didn't accept that Paul's lack of involvement in violence towards the victim lessened her role and said: "None of this would have happened had you not been involved."

The court was told Paul had met the New Plymouth man in Napier earlier last year, and they communicated via text messages and Facebook over the following weeks.

When he came back to Hawke's Bay in December to buy a car, she and associates decided to rob him and she contacted him and asked him to meet her at an address in Napier. When he arrived, they went upstairs, where the others were waiting.

He was shut in a bedroom with two males and threatened, ultimately saying they could have his bank card and its security number if they let him go. He was, however, held in the house while Paul drove his car to an ATM and an unsuccessful attempt was made to withdraw some money.

After she returned he took an opportunity to escape, waving down a motorist in Latham St and alerting the police as Paul and her associates fled in his car, which was found several days later, a stripped wreck.

The other woman and one of the men have since also been dealt with by the courts.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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