There’s a story about “consequences” out of Australia that is sure to warm the cockles of any police detective’s heart… and yours and mine!
Between 1980 and 1985 a series of horrific crimes took place in Sydney, Australia that terrorized the city, particularly the legal community. Media pundits called the case the “Family Court Murders”.
Firefighter Leonard George Warwick seemed to be the link between a number of homicides beginning in February 1980 with the shooting of Stephen Blanchard, Mr. Warwick’s brother-in-law.
A few months later Justice David Opas heard the door bell ring at his home and opened the door to be greeted by a bullet that took his life. He was the judge who presided over a hotly disputed custody case involving Leonard Warwick, his then-wife, Andrea Warwick, nee Blanchard, and their one-year old daughter.
With Judge Opas’ violent demise a new judge was appointed, Justice Richard Gee. He too was the victim of violence when his home was bombed, injuring him and his family.
In April of 1984 the courthouse in Parramatta was bombed. Thankfully no one was injured but you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that it was in Parramatta that Mr. Warwick’s custody trial took place.
During Judge Gee’s convalescence, another judge was directed to take over the Warwick case. Justice Ray Watson presided until July of 1984 when his wife Pearle was killed by a bomb placed on the doorstep of their home.
In February 1995 Andrea Warwick’s lawyer, Gary Watts, was the target of another bomb attack. However, Mr. Watts no longer lived at the address targeted. When the new tenant opened the hood of his car parked outside the home to do some minor mechanical work, he saw the bomb and called police. He was a very lucky man.
But there was more to come, much more. Six months later a bomb was detonated at a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall in a suburb of Sydney, killing minister Graham Wykes and injuring 13 other parishioners, who were at the church for a service. The connection to Mr. Warwick? Andrea Warwick’s sister attended the church and had been a shoulder for her to cry on.
And then the violence stopped, coincident with Andrea Warwick’s decision to relinquish custody of their now 7-year old daughter to Mr. Warwick.
All of this occurred with nary an arrest despite a reward of $500,000, until a cold case squad picked up the investigative mantle in 2012 after decades of dormancy.
Last week police in Sydney laid 32 charges against Leonard Warwick, including four murder charges and attempted murder charges. New South Wales deputy police commissioner, Nick Kaldas commented:
“The evidence that we’ve gathered includes significant new evidence, historic evidence enhanced using technology not available 30 years ago, witness evidence that was historic and new witness evidence.”
It boggles the mind that Mr. Warwick was not arrested 30 years earlier, but as the police commissioner remarked:
“We won’t give up!”
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang