'Bonnie and Clyde' spree crim jailed

By Sophie Tarr

He carried an axe, she was armed with a walking stick, and the young lovers knew they would soon be back behind bars.

But Amanda Ridden - who in September 2013 became one half of the drug-fuelled couple dubbed Sydney's Bonnie and Clyde - "simply did not care", a judge declared on Friday.

Sydney District Court Judge Andrew Haesler has told how Ridden, now 23, had mounted a 24-hour crime binge with her boyfriend Daniel Roach and two other men that began with the carjacking of an elderly man in the city's north shore and ended when multiple police officers wrestled her to the ground.

"Both were in need of somewhere to live and money to live on," Judge Haesler said.

"Both determined to commit further crimes.

"Both well knew that they would soon be returning to jail."

He sentenced Ridden to up to nine and a half years' jail, setting a non-parole period that ensures she will not walk out of prison until at least 2019.

Judge Haesler told how Ridden had grown up on Sydney's northern beaches, surrounded by family and the religious community to which they belonged.

But Ridden "rejected that lifestyle and rebelled against its strictures", he said.

She left home and school early. By 16, she was abusing drugs and had been involuntarily admitted to hospital.

In September 2013, fresh from an early stint behind bars, Ridden and her boyfriend were planning "a job" and had secured backup in the form of two young men and a sawn-off shotgun.

They began in Lane Cove, where they accosted an 87-year-old man as he drove into his garage and demanded he hand over the keys to his Nissan.

Less than half an hour later Ridden, Roach and the two men marched into Roseville cinema armed with the shotgun and an axe and demanded employee Michael Sheppard open the tills.

"Roach jumped over the candy bar, at the same time the co-offender pointed a shotgun at Mr Sheppard and shouted, 'Do you want to die?" Judge Haesler said.

The group then demanded wallets from cinema patrons but left with only one wallet and $506 taken from the till.

Undeterred, they set out for Revesby, in the city's southwest, in the car they had stolen earlier in the evening.

There they stormed Revesby Pacific Hotel - Ridden now armed with a walking stick - and ransacked the tills, taking thousands of dollars, before setting the stolen car alight.

Ridden was arrested the following day in a tussle that left police officers bruised and swollen.

Documents previously tendered in the case revealed Ridden kicked and spat at police officers as they attempted to cuff her.

Even after the pair were taken into custody she continued to yell at police, telling Roach: "Don't tell them your name babe. If they come near you, bash them."

But her most recent stint behind bars had been marked by a move away from drugs and a growing maturity, Judge Haesler said, adding that Ridden had told a clinical psychologist she deserved to be punished.

"I have confidence that with that assistance, she can turn her life around," he said.