Lawyers for a South Coast woman who helped her incarcerated husband plan the murder of two 14-year-olds, have told a court she committed the crime out of fear.
The teens, one of whom is the man’s biological son, are only alive today because an inmate sharing a cell with the husband alerted police to his plans.
Court documents reveal the husband was in custody in January 2015 after being charged with the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl.
His son confirmed the girl’s assault claim when spoken to by police.
This prompted the husband to decide both the girl and his son had to be killed.
He shopped around within the prison, looking to find a hitman to carry out the murders.
The man’s cellmate alerted police, then agreed to work with them to set the husband up.
A plan was hatched to convince him to use someone recommended by the inmate. Police would then send in one of their own.
The husband organised for his wife to meet with the undercover officer four times in April. Each time, she answered questions about what they wanted to happen to the children.
She also provided the undercover officer 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.
In a particularly disturbing encounter between the pair, the officer 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”.
She said she wanted the same treatment for her step-son, labelling him “a real arsehole”.
The woman was arrested on April 24 and charged with two solicit to murder offences. She subsequently pleaded guilty to both.
In Wollongong District Court on Friday, defence lawyer Frank Coyne described his client’s role in the plot as “at the very low end”.
He said she had been subjected to years of domestic abuse at the hands of her husband and agreed to help him “out of fear”.
“She’s extremely submissive and allows others to misuse her,” he said, quoting a psychologist’s report tendered to the court.
He also noted her mental health problems made her “ill-adapted” for prison life.
“She gets preyed on by other prisoners because of her vulnerability,” he said.
However, Crown prosecutor Kate Ratcliffe refuted Mr Coyne’s suggestion the woman had played a minimal role in the crime, saying she was “a significant participant” in providing “essential details” to the undercover officer.
Judge Haesler will sentence the woman on April 10.