Leonard Warwick on trial over murders and Family Court Bombings

A FORMER firefighter accused of a string of Sydney bombings and murders in the 1980s allegedly told his ex-wife that a Family Court judge “won’t be there much longer” weeks before he was shot dead.

Opening the crown case on Tuesday, prosecutor Ken McKay said when the ex-wife asked if the judge was going on holidays, Leonard John Warwick replied: “No, he won’t be there at all.”

Mr Warwick, 71, had pleaded not guilty to four murders — including the shooting deaths of his brother-in-law and a judge — and 20 other offences relating to seven events which occurred between February 1980 and July 1985.

Mr McKay told the judge-alone trial in the NSW Supreme Court that Mr Warwick had been involved in a long-running Family Court dispute which “inextricably linked” him to the seven events and provided him with the motivation the crown said existed for him to commit the offences.

Justice Richard Gee's Belrose home after it was bombed. Picture: Manly Daily
Accused Family Court bomber Leonard John Warwick is escorted from a corrective services van as he arrives at the Supreme Court in Sydney on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP

An old photo of Family Court bombing suspect Leonard Warwick. Picture: Channel 7.

They included the 1980 shooting murders of his brother-in-law Stephen Blanchard and Justice David Opas; the bombing of Justice Richard Gee’s home and of the Family Court building in Parramatta in 1984; and, in the same year, the bombing of the home of Justice Ray Watson in which his wife Pearl was killed.

In 1985, Mr Warwick also allegedly set off a bomb that ripped apart a Jehovah’s Witnesses hall, killing Graham Wyke and injuring 13 people.

Leonard Warwick is on trial for 24 historical offences.

The organisation had offered support to Mr Warwick’s ex-wife Andrea Blanchard. Her brother went missing from his room in the home he shared with the family on February 24, 1980 and his body was found in a creek in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park days later.

Attached around his waist were 11 bricks which were similar to those found at Warwick’s home, the prosecutor said.

Shot dead: Stephen Blanchard.

Bomb victim Pearl Watson.

Soon after, the legal dispute came before Justice Opas, who made orders and comments which Mr Warwick allegedly would have regarded as being adverse to his case.

During the break, Mr Warwick allegedly told his ex-wife: “You don’t have to worry about him anymore. He won’t be there much longer.”

The judge was shot dead in the courtyard of his home with a .22 calibre rifle, the same type used to kill Mr Blanchard, Mr McKay said.

Mr Warwick previously allegedly told his ex-wife: “You know I can shoot your father at any time.”

Justice Gee replaced Justice Opas in hearing the court case and a bomb exploded at the front of his house early one morning. It destroyed the building. Mr McKay said.

Mr Warwick’s father had worked at a colliery using explosives and detonators for decades while the accused himself had been in the army from 1967 to 1969.

The trial continues.

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