Man charged over four bomb deaths in 1980s

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - AVA BENNY- MOR­RI­SON

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.

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