Newcastle courthouse. AN 18-year-old mathematics and science student who was robbed at knife-point on the grounds of the University of Newcastle campus tried to outsmart his two attackers, negotiating a deal that meant the pair would be caught on CCTV cameras.
Instead of handing over his wallet and phone, 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.
But the student’saudacious plan nearly came unstuck when one of the robbers, Scott Burrell, 32, took a peek at the ATM screen and saw his victim’s bank balance was hovering around the $3000 mark.
Upon 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.Burrell, of Long Jetty, was represented by solicitor Mark Ramsland when he appeared in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday via audio visual link from jail.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of robbery in company and will appear in Newcastle District Court next week to get a sentence date.
The student told police he had just completed an exam about 8pm on May 31 this year and was walking to Warabrook railway station when he was confronted by Burrell and his girlfriend.
They blocked his path and Burrell, who had a small knife in his hand, said: “I’m going to need your phone and wallet”, according to a statement of police facts.
The student didn’t want to hand over his possessions, he told police, so he tried to “bargain” with the pair, telling them he would go to an ATM and withdraw some cash.
The victim told police he knew there were CCTV cameras near the ATM and did not want to lose his phone and wallet.
He tried to “befriend” his attackers, who constantly asked for his wallet. Eventually, the student won the pair over and they agreed to come with him to the ATM.
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 told a 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 studentfor $300.
Burrell said he took the money and the pair then left the university without holding up their end of the bargain.
He denied ever having a knife or robbing the victim.