Family Court bomber Leonard Warwick sentenced to life in prison

The man responsible for three murders and a series of court-related bombings in Sydney in the 1980s will die in prison for his “calculated, violent and hateful” attacks.

The so-called Family Court bomber, Leonard John Warwick, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the three murders.

Warwick’s attacks took place between 1980 and 1985 and were motivated by a bitter feud with his ex-wife.

In his sentencing today, Supreme Court Justice Peter Garling said Warwick’s crimes “cannot be viewed as anything other than an attack on the very foundations of Australian democracy”.

The 73-year-old former firefighter, who pleaded not guilty, faced a marathon Supreme Court trial that dragged on for nearly two years.

His victims were Family Court judge Justice David Opas, Justice Ray Watson’s wife, Pearl, and Jehovah’s Witness Minister Graham Wykes.

Justice David Opas was the first of Warwick’s victims, killed with a .22-calibre weapon in his Woollahra front yard in 1980 after hearing Warwick’s court matters.

The next judge who then oversaw Warwick’s matter, Justice Richard Gee, was injured and his home at Belrose destroyed by a bomb in 1984.

The Family Court building in Parramatta was also bombed that same year, along with the home of Justice Watson.

Justice Watson’s wife, Pearl, was killed when an explosive fixed to the door of their unit blew up as she opened it.

In 1985, an explosion at a Jehovah’s Witness church hall killed Mr Wykes and injured several people inside.

“The conduct of the offender was calculated, violent and hateful,” Justice Garling said.

The Family Court in in Parramatta was bombed in 1984.
The Family Court building in Parramatta was one of Warwick’s targets.(Supplied: NSW Police)

Last month, relatives of Warwick’s victims and survivors of his attacks detailed the physical and psychological impacts they suffered.

The widow of Justice Opas, Kristin, said she had been “looking over her shoulder” for 40 years.

Warwick’s attacks were the first time the Australian judiciary had been targeted.

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