Australian man convicted of hit on son's ex-wife

Last updated 16:41 29/11/2013

Relevant offers


Malcolm Turnbull to make first official visit to New Zealand as Prime Minister 40 New Zealanders being held at Christmas Island immigration detention centre 'If you don't like Australia, leave' - Sydney mosque chairman to extremists Harriet Wran - daughter of former NSW premier - to face murder trial Hunt family killings: 'Geoff motivated by suicide more than murder' inquest hears Australian toddler Jaxon Taylor's head reattached to spine after car crash Human kidney grown in lab offers hope for patients Sydney teen shooter 'recruited' by extremists Australian public servant wins legal fight over A$20,000 breast surgery We're risking a mass extinction of frogs

An elderly, wealthy West Australian businessman has been found guilty of attempting to hire a hitman to murder his son's ex-wife.

Brian Vincent Attwell, 73, has been on trial in the Albany Courthouse on the state's southern coast for the past five days, charged with the rare offence of attempting to procure the commission of a crime.

The court heard the accused asked a truck diver, who approached him desperate for work with his civil contracting company AD Contractors, to kill 50-year-old Michelle Patreena Attwell after becoming frustrated with a protracted, bitter legal dispute between her and his son following the breakdown of their marriage.

The driver informed police, who instructed him to set up a meeting between Attwell and an undercover policeman.

Attwell met the policeman twice at a beach near the woman's home, and paid A$10,000 in two instalments as a down payment on a A$30,000 job.

The court heard Attwell refer to her as a "maggot", a "pain in the arse" and a "nuisance to society" who should be "put to sleep".

He told the officer to bind Attwell in duct tape, strangle her and bury her in a 30-foot hole dug by an excavator.

Defence lawyer Tom Percy argued his client was just expressing his frustration with the ongoing legal dispute, a central point of contention being his son's stake in AD Contractors, a multi-million dollar business.

Attwell repeatedly said during his testimony that his hateful comments were "huff and puff", and that he only wanted his estranged daughter-in-law frightened.

But state prosecutor James MacTaggart said evidence showed Attwell was committed to having her murdered.

Percy argued the undercover policeman had not been given enough information about Attwell - including a photograph - for her to have been in real danger.

MacTaggart, however, said Attwell had provided an address and general description, and that was sufficient for the woman to be at serious risk.

On Friday, a jury convicted Attwell, who spent six months in custody after he was charged.

They deliberated for more than three hours over two days.

MacTaggart noted Attwell was ill and barely mobile, but said he deserved a substantial term of imprisonment as he had engaged a contract killer to a party in a legal dispute.

Ad Feedback


Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content