Armed robbery victim: I held gunman as baby
Judy Outerbridge barely flinched as an armed robber pointed a gun in her chest and demanded she “open the f***ing cash register”.
She stood strong six months later when the same robber targeted her workplace, Pasta Basta, again wielding a gun and threatening staff.
It was only when she discovered the identity of the man that she broke down in tears.
Upon hearing the name Tio Weeks, Ms Outerbridge realised that she had been the first person to hold him as a baby, and he had spent the first year of his life in her home in California with his mother.
Weeks, now 40, pleaded guilty on Monday to the two robberies at Pasta Basta, as well as a third armed robbery of Wok Express in Hamilton.
“When the police told me his name I just slumped down,” she said. “That really had a big impact on me and I broke down.
“I realised that I had been the first person he saw as he came into the world, and I was the first person to hold him.
“His mother had lived with me in California and I was there with her when he was born. She and Tio lived with me for about a year after that.
“I just keep thinking that if he had shot me or something had happened he would have been the last person I saw, while I was the first person he saw.”
Ms Outerbridge had been working at Pasta Basta on the evening of March 13, this year, when Weeks entered the restaurant with a red Hallowe'en mask over his face and a hood over his head.
He pointed the gun, which was an imitation firearm, at her chest and told her to open the cash register.
“I stood up to him and just refused,” she said. “I was more angry than I was scared.
“I just could not believe he was threatening me.
“The chef had heard the noise and he came out to the front at which point the robber pointed the gun at him and made him open the till.”
Ms Outerbridge called the police before Weeks fled the scene with the money.
“I was more worried about the chef after he left,” she added.
“He was pretty shaken up by what had happened.
“I was determined to make sure that he would not affect my life and I was back in work the next day. If I had been really affected by what he did I would not have gone back to Pasta Basta.”
Six months later on the night of September 27, Weeks targeted Pasta Basta again.
“I clocked him before he walked into the restaurant,” Ms Outerbridge said.
“No one comes into Pasta Basta at that time of night wearing a full dark visor.
“Just as he entered I hit the panic button which had been installed because of the first robbery and just sat where I was.
“He walked around to the cashier, opened it himself and walked out again.
“As he left he waved the gun and said: ‘I feel like killing one of you mother f***ers'.”
“At the time I did not realise it was the same guy as before, the first time he seemed really on edge, whereas this second time he was much calmer, almost cocky.”
Despite being the victim of a second armed robbery, Ms Outerbridge returned to work again the next day.
“I am not angry at him because he did not and still does not know who I am,” she said.
“But I'm angry simply because he thought he could come into our establishment and threaten me.”
Weeks has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced on November 23.