Man charged over four bomb deaths in 1980s
THREE decades after a series of bombs obliterated homes and lives – and rocked the nation – more than 30 charges have been laid against a Sydney man.
Former firefighter Leonard John Warwick was arrested in Campbelltown in Sydney’s southwest yesterday and taken in for questioning over the Family Law Court bombings.
As he was led into Narellan police station, dozens of police swarmed his semi- rural property in Douglas Park.
It was a long time coming for the families who up to 35 years ago had loved ones targeted by Warwick’s alleged destructive spree.
Last night, the 68- year- old was hit with 32 charges, including four counts of murder.
At the centre of the crimes was allegedly a custody battle in the Family Law Court between Warwick and his exwife Andrea. Warwick is accused of shooting dead Andrea’s brother, Stephen Blanchard, in Sydney in 1980.
In the same year he allegedly shot and killed Justice David Opas at his Woollahra home in Sydney’s east.
Four years later, a bomb blew apart the home of fellow Family Law Court Justice Richard Gee, but no one died.
It was not the same case for Justice Ray Watson’s waterfront home in Sydney’s north.
In July 1984, a bomb, allegedly planted by Warwick, killed his wife Pearl Watson.
All justices had been involved in adverse findings against Warwick in his family court case, including financially and restricting access to his daughter.
In 1985, a car bomb was put in place targeting Warwick’s ex- wife’s solicitor, Garry Watts.
And finally in 1985, a bomb ripped apart the Jehovah’s Witness Hall in Casula, killing Graham Wykes and injuring 13 others. The Jehovah’s Witness had counselled and offered support to Warwick’s ex- wife in the midst of her battle in the Family Law Court.
For three decades the crimes have been unsolved, although Warwick was considered a suspect early on.
It is understood advances in technology have allowed police to gather crucial DNA evidence that will form an integral part in their case.
Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas said the case included historic evidence that had been enhanced by technology not available in the 1980s.
“These crimes are not only crimes against individuals, they were crimes against our society,” Homicide Squad Superintendent Michael Willing said.
Warwick is scheduled to appear in Campbelltown Local Court today.
ARRESTED: Police arrest Leonard Warwick yesterday; ( inset) the Family Law Court in Parramatta that was bombed on April 14, 1984.
Pearl Watson, the wife of Justice Ray Watson, was killed on July 4, 1984.