Alleged attempted murder victim Pepita Ridgeway. Picture: Liam Kidston.
Alleged attempted murder victim Pepita Ridgeway. Picture: Liam Kidston.

Coast man allegedly tried to gas wife in her sleep

THE teenage daughter of a man on trial for attempting to murder his wife by gassing her while she slept, told police how her parents often argued over money and that her mother had wanted a divorce.

After police came to their Sunshine Coast hinterland home early on July 5, 2016, the daughter said her mother - who had been sleeping in a caravan - told her that her father had gassed her.

Robert Ridgeway, is alleged to have pumped nitrogen gas into the caravan, next to the family's Doonan house, in an attempt to suffocate Pepita Ridgeway, his wife of 18 years.

Mrs Ridgeway told the Supreme Court of waking to a hissing sound about 2am and finding a hose under her bed, and tracing it back to a gas cylinder in a carport.

Ridgeway has pleaded not guilty to attempting to murder his wife, and alternately, to causing noxious nitrogen to be administered to her, with the intention to injure or annoy her.

In an interview on July 5, 2016, played in court on Wednesday, the girl said when she went to bed the night before she had a feeling that something bad was going to happen.

She said she put a chair against her bedroom door and from 3am someone twice opened her door and it hit the chair.

The girl said after police arrived, around 4am, she thought there might have been a burglary, something had happened to her grandmother or parents.

"Then my mum came in and told me. She said someone had gassed her or put gas in her caravan, and she said it was my dad.''

The girl said her mother had been sleeping in the caravan since having a big fight with her father, two to three weeks earlier.

"She hit dad and he pushed her,'' the girl, who is now 17, said.

"She was trying to get a divorce after that and dad doesn't want a divorce, so she's been sleeping in the caravan.''

She said her mother had threatened divorce "a lot''.

Giving videoed evidence for the trial, earlier this year, the teenager agreed that her mother told her on July 5, 2016, that her father had admitted his involvement in the gassing.

When it was put to her that her parents fought about money because her mother wanted more money, the girl said: "No, that's not correct.''

The Brisbane trial continues.



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