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Pleaded guilty in armed robbery with machete

The lawyer for a Geelong woman who took part in a brutal armed robbery with a machete-wielding brute has argued she should be spared jail.

Holly Rose Kruger, 23, appeared in Melbourne County District Court on Monday for a new plea hearing on a single charge of armed robbery, after pleading guilty in January 2023.

According to documents released by the court, Kruger and an co-offender, Bradley Matthews, went to a home in Norlane around 9:30 a.m. on March 11, 2022.

The victim was in his back shed working on a friend’s car when the pair arrived.

Kruger knew the victim, the court heard, but Matthews, a friend of Kruger’s then-boyfriend, did not.

Matthews wore a black face mask and was armed with a machete.

He told Kruger to “call the boys and wake them up” – one of whom was Kruger’s then boyfriend, the court heard.

The victim was robbed of $700 and Kruger and Matthews fled in his friend’s car, a 2005 BMW.

The next day, police briefly chased the stolen car from Norlane to Corio until it burst into flames after driving over road spikes placed by officers. The badly burned machete was found in the car.

Matthews was arrested as he fled the scene, while Kruger was arrested at an address in Corio on April 8, 2022.

Kruger made “no comment” on the armed robbery allegations and denied knowing Matthews.

Matthews pleaded guilty and was sentenced on September 26, 2022, on multiple charges stemming from the robbery and car chase. He was sentenced to at least three years in prison.

Kruger’s lawyer, Liliana Dubroja, told the court her client had begun treatment to address a number of “complex issues” underlying her mental health, and asked judge Martine Marich to defer her sentence .

“She is someone who has never spent time in prison… the impact of the prison sentence itself would have a significant negative impact on her mental health,” Ms Dubroja said.

Kruger had suffered “years of transience and homelessness” and poor relationships with family members, the court heard.

Ms Dubroja told the court that Kruger had not received any mental health treatment, but such treatment was now “in its infancy” and she was enjoying a “real period of stability”.

Kruger had been on medication for two months and was now on a waiting list to see a specialist, the court heard.

Ms Dubroja told the court that Kruger did not know the robbery would take place when she was picked up by Matthews.

In response, prosecutor Richard Pirrie said Kruger had had “ample opportunities” to address her mental health issues in the two years since the robbery.

“The system is doing everything it can to give her a chance,” Mr Pirrie said.

“There is no material here to please anyone.”

Mr Pirrie rejected the idea that Kruger was only “involved” in the robbery at the last minute.

“She is deeply involved in this crime,” he said.

The case will return to court at a later date.

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