Two South Coast teens at the centre of a murder plot coordinated from inside a Sydney prison are only alive today thanks to the most unlikely of heroes - their would-be executioner’s hard-nosed cellmate.
The inmate, a long-term prisoner with an apparent intense dislike of authority, took the extraordinary step of contacting police in early 2015 after learning his bunk buddy was looking to hire a hitman for $50,000.
He said the man’s targets were a 14-year-old girl who had accused him of sexual abuse, and his own son, also 14, who backed the girl’s assault claims.
The incredible exploit was outlined in a set of police facts tendered in a criminal court case against the 36-year-old man’s wife, who confessed to providing the would-be hitman with instructions from her husband and information about the intended victims.
The court documents reveal the man was arrested in January last year after the girl reported the sexual abuse to police.
The man’s son, who was in the same year as the girl at school, attended the police station three days later and handed officers a .22 calibre bolt action rifle belonging to his father.
He also confirmed the relationship between his dad and the girl and confessed to allowing him to use his Facebook account so the pair could communicate without raising suspicion.
The father was remanded in custody, soon finding himself in the same cell as the children’s eventual saviour.
Within days of disclosing his plan to have the children killed, the father told the inmate he had found another prisoner, due to be released in less than a month, who was willing to carry out the deed at $25,000 per child.
The inmate said up to this point he thought the man had been joking, but decided to inform authorities once he realised the man was “really shopping for a hitman”.
He openly admitted he would not have minded if the man’s target had been a fellow prisoner or even a police officer “that got someone arrested”, however said he couldn’t have the death of children on his conscience.
“To associate with the justice system, which I don’t think much of, I mean I really had to believe that this man was definitely going to kill those two children,” the inmate told police.
He agreed to work with officers and a plan was hatched to convince the father to use someone recommended by the inmate. Police would then send one of their own in undercover.
The officer, codenamed Alec, met with the man’s wife four times during April. Each time, she answered questions about what they wanted to happen to the children.
She also provided Alec with a significant amount of information and photographs of the two, including their respective addresses, what school they went to and what social activities they attended and when.
In a particularly disturbing encounter between the pair, Alec asked the woman if she wanted the girl’s body to be found after she was killed.
The woman replied “I want her completely disappeared, not even a bone, nothing”.
Alec also asked if they wanted the girl to know who was behind her demise. The woman initially said yes so she [the girl] “would know she should have kept her mouth shut” however later decided against it.
The woman said she wanted the same treatment for her step-son, labelling him “a real arsehole”.
The woman was arrested on April 24 after her final meeting with Alec and charged with two counts of solicit to murder. She refused to answer questions in a police interview.
She will face sentencing in Wollongong District Court in March.
The case against her husband returns to court this week.