Pepita and Robert Ridgeway pictured on the Sunshine Coast in 2001. The husband was found guilty on Monday of attempted murder.
Pepita and Robert Ridgeway pictured on the Sunshine Coast in 2001. The husband was found guilty on Monday of attempted murder. Noosa News

Wife relieved after verdict on inventor's death plot

THE WAITING is over for Pepita Ridgeway.

Not just two weeks of waiting during a jury trial.

Nearly two years of waiting.

Mrs Ridgeway's scientist husband Robert was found guilty on Monday afternoon of trying to kill her in July 2016.

The couple might have seemed like they had much to envy, including properties in the USA and Australia.

"Robert's a very softly spoken man, and he's very sophisticated," Mrs Ridgeway said.

But she said her highly intelligent husband harboured deep rage.

There was much aggression, she said, and plenty of "gaslighting" or emotional abuse.

"He made it out to be my fault all the time."

Speaking after Monday's guilty verdict, Mrs Ridgeway said her husband was interested in conspiracy theories and "planning for the end of the world".

Brisbane Supreme Court jurors went out to deliberate just before midday, returning in the early afternoon with the verdict.

Mrs Ridgeway said the verdict was a big relief.

The American inventor was accused of trying to asphyxiate his wife by introducing nitrogen to the Doonan caravan where she slept.

Crown prosecutor David Finch said Ridgeway failed to kill - but only because he failed to get the gas calculations right.

Mr Finch said Ridgeway wanted to kill his wife because she was preparing to divorce him.

Any split would be messy, Mr Finch said, citing the couple's intertwined financial interests.

Jurors heard Mrs Ridgeway called police after hearing "hissing" gas.

But the defence said the hose apparatus was no gas dispersal system - just a drain designed to dry out the area under the caravan bed.

Jurors heard Ridgeway told Noosa Heads police his wife could "be very nasty," and if he wanted to kill someone, he'd be "smart" about it.

Mrs Ridgeway was the one "enraged" in one marital argument, defence counsel Catherine Cuthbert claimed.

The defence claimed nobody knew if a hose connected to a nitrogen cylinder was even long enough to reach the caravan.

Ridgeway will be sentenced on Thursday. -NewsRegional 



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