James Manuel decided to rob a Whangarei superette with a plastic gun after losing his job and his car and a breakdown in a relationship.

But, it was Manuel who ended being the one under attack when the dairy owner fought back with a plastic stick.

The 29-year-old pleaded guilty in the Whangarei District Court to one charge of assault with intent to rob and another of threatening to kill.

He was sentenced to two years and 10 months in jail when he appeared for sentencing on Friday.


Reading from the police summary of facts, Judge Phillip Cooper said Manuel entered the Otangarei Superette on William Jones Dr about 6pm on June 12 this year wearing a hooded jacket.

He pointed a gun at the shop owner and demanded cash.

As the shop owner began to reach down for the money, his nephew said the firearm was an imitation gun.

The shop owner then picked up a stick and swung it at the plastic gun which broke.

Manuel then threatened to kill the shop owner. But the owner swung the stick at Manuel four times before he retreated and left the superette with nothing.

His lawyer Dave Sayes said there should not be an uplift in any prison term imposed on the charge of threatening to kill because such violence was implicit in such cases.

Judge Cooper said Manuel offended when he lost his job, his relationship broke down, and his car was stolen.

He said the disguise Manuel wore added a sense of menace as far as the shop owner was concerned.