Wealthy businessman Brian Vincent Attwell sentenced to 8 years for hitman plot to have his estranged daughter-in-law murdered.

Well known WA sentenced to eight years and six months in jail, for attempting to hire a hitman to have his estranged daughter-in-law murdered.

Brian Vincent Attwell was found guilty last November of attempting to procure the murder of Michelle Patreena Attwell, the former wife of his son.

The 74-year-old from Albany was found to have paid $10,000 to an undercover police officer, posing as a hitman, to have the woman killed.


Brian Vincent Attwell, 74, was in November found guilty by a jury of the rare offence of attempting to procure the commission of a crime, following a five-day trial in the Albany Justice Complex.

Brian Vincent Attwell was motivated by sheer hatred, the prosecutor said.
Brian Vincent Attwell was motivated by sheer hatred, the prosecutor said.

The court heard the accused had asked a truck driver, who approached him desperate for work with his civil contracting company AD Contractors, to kill 50-year-old Michelle Patreena Attwell after becoming frustrated with a protracted, bitter legal dispute between her and his son following the breakdown of their marriage.

The driver informed police, who instructed him to set up a meeting between Attwell and an undercover policeman.

Attwell met the policeman twice at a beach near the woman’s home and paid $10,000 in two instalments as a down payment on a $30,000 job, telling the officer to bind her in duct tape, strangle her and bury her in a 30-foot hole dug by an excavator.

During the trial, Attwell argued his comments were “huff and puff”, while defence lawyer Tom Percy said his client was “a crotchety old bugger” and “a classic grumpy old man”, but he was not homicidal.

On Tuesday, Supreme Court of Western Australia Justice Ralph Simmonds said a term of immediate imprisonment was appropriate for such a serious offence.

“I consider this to be a serious example of a serious offence,” Justice Simmonds said.

He ruled that the maximum sentence for the offence was life imprisonment, not 14 years as contended by the defence.

Attwell will be eligible for parole after serving six years and six months in jail.

He spent more than six months in remand, meaning he’ll be 80 before he can be considered for release.

Justice Simmonds said aggravating factors included elements of premeditation and planning.

While that was unsophisticated, “there was calculation”, Justice Simmonds said.

Another aggravating factor was that Attwell had paid “a not insignificant sum”.

Referring to Ms Attwell’s victim impact statement, Justice Simmonds said she had suffered continuing trauma from her ordeal, including feeling vulnerable, losing sleep, a disrupted eating pattern, and fears for her children’s safety.

The court heard during sentencing submissions on Friday that she had been immensely frightened – not even even listening to music so she could hear if someone was approaching her house.

Justice Simmonds said Attwell had been held in high regard in the Albany community, where he was known for his generosity and successful business, but he had shown no remorse and no empathy towards his intended victim.

Albany businessman Brian Attwell was found guilty of trying to hire a hitman to kill his daughter-in-law.
Albany businessman Brian Attwell was found guilty of trying to hire a hitman to kill his daughter-in-law.

Justice Simmonds said he had taken into account Attwell’s ill physical health, with the frail diabetic suffering from limited mobility, however that could be satisfactorily managed in prison.

Attwell said via video link from Albany that he was “not very happy” and intended to appeal.

Well known WA sentenced to eight years and six months in jail, for attempting to hire a hitman to have his estranged daughter-in-law murdered.

Brian Vincent Attwell was found guilty last November of attempting to procure the murder of Michelle Patreena Attwell, the former wife of his son.

The 74-year-old from Albany was found to have paid $10,000 to an undercover police officer, posing as a hitman, to have the woman killed.

The court heard Attwell was angry over legal action after his son’s divorce and he was motivated by “sheer hatred” of Michelle Attwell.

The trial was played recordings of the businessman saying his daughter-in-law had cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars through Family Court proceedings, and he wanted her “strangled and buried”.

Justice Ralph Simmonds said Attwell had not accepted responsibility for his actions or shown any empathy or remorse.

He said Attwell’s offending was serious, aggravated by premeditation and planning, and he had behaved in a calculated way.

The judge said while he accepted time in custody would have a significant effect on Attwell, he said the seriousness of the offense was a stronger sentencing factor.

Justice Simmonds said the victim had suffered through “a loss of sleep, significant fear and difficulties returning to a normal life”.

Brian Attwell appeared via videolink from the prison.
Brian Attwell appeared via videolink from the prison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the verdict, Attwell told the judge he was “not very happy” and he planned to appeal.

Attwell said there were “anomalies in the courtroom” during the trial, which he said affected the way it played out.

Police interview reveals motive

An interview with police on the day he was arrested revealed Attwell admitted to meeting a man he knew only as Josh and paying him $2,000 to “do some investigations”.

The businessman was asked if he had requested Josh to kill his daughter-in-law, which he denied.

“I wouldn’t say ‘kill Michelle’, I’d say ‘bring her to her bloody senses’. Killing her would be a bit rich,” Attwell said.

“[Killing someone] is obviously not the right thing to do.”

But Attwell also described his daughter-in-law as a “nuisance to society”, “a bloody animal” and “a maggot” who he wanted “put to sleep” and “got rid of”.

He also said “there were about 40 blokes who would like to get hold of” Mrs Attwell.

During the trial, Detective First Class Constable Jon MacMillan testified that a police search of the businessman’s vehicle found a news article from the coverage of Lloyd Rayney‘s murder trial.

Mr Rayney was tried and acquitted of murdering his wife Corryn in November 2012.

Constable MacMillan told the court the article detailed evidence on Mrs Rayney’s body being exhumed from its Kings Park burial.

The officer also said police found a wooden axe handle in the vehicle and “a significant quantity” of cash in another premises that was searched.

Defence counsel Tom Percy argued his client’s statements that he wanted Mrs Attwell killed were “puff” and “an exaggeration”.

He told the jury Attwell had paid the officer to “keep his options open” but had no desire to have his daughter-in-law killed.

Part of the trial was held behind closed doors to allow a police officer, identified only as Officer 429, to testify.

Attwell will be eligible for parole after six years and six months, while the sentence was backdated to last August due to time spent in custody during the trial.

The earliest he can be released is early in 2020.

Albany businessman Brian Vincent Attwell found guilty of attempting to hire hit man to murder daughter-in-law Michelle Patreena Attwell

Updated Fri 29 Nov 2013,

A prominent Albany businessman has been found guilty of attempting to hire a hit man to murder his estranged daughter-in-law.

Brian Vincent Attwell was on trial in the Supreme Court in Albany, accused of paying $10,000 to an undercover police officer, posing as a hit man, to kill Michelle Patreena Attwell.

During the trial, prosecutor James McTaggart told the court Attwell was motivated by “sheer hatred” for the woman and told the “hit man” he wanted her strangled and then buried in a hole.

The court heard Attwell’s interview with police on the day he was arrested, in September last year.

In that interview, the accused admitted to meeting a man he knew only as Josh, and paying him $2,000 to “do some investigations”.

Attwell was asked if he had asked Josh to kill the woman, which he denied.

“I wouldn’t say ‘kill Michelle’; I’d say ‘bring her to her bloody senses’. Killing her would be a bit rich,” Attwell said in the interview.

“[Killing someone] is obviously not the right thing to do.”

But Attwell also described the woman as a “nuisance to society”, “a bloody animal” and “a maggot” who he wanted “put to sleep” and “got rid of”.

He also said “there were about 40 blokes who’d like to get hold of” Ms Attwell.

Trial told daughter-in-law cost hundreds of thousands

The trial was also played recordings of Attwell saying Ms Attwell had cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars and he wanted her “strangled and buried”, which prosecutor James MacTaggart has argued was his intention in paying the undercover officer.

Detective First Class Constable Jon MacMillan testified that a police search of the businessman’s vehicle found a news article from the coverage of Lloyd Rayney’s murder trial.

Mr Rayney was tried and acquitted of murdering his wife, Corryn, in a high-profile case in Perth.

Constable MacMillan told the court the article detailed evidence on Ms Rayney’s body being exhumed from its Kings Park burial site.

The officer also testified that police found a wooden axe handle in the vehicle and “a significant quantity” of cash in another premises which was searched.

Attwell denies the accusation he was attempting to have Ms Attwell killed, with his defence counsel Tom Percy arguing his client’s statements along those lines were “puff” and “an exaggeration”.

Mr Percy told the jury Attwell had paid the officer to “keep his options open” but had no desire to have his estranged daughter-in-law killed.

Part of the trial was held behind closed doors to allow a police officer, identified only as Officer 429, to testify.

Attwell was found guilty by a jury and is due to be sentenced in January.

A prominent Albany businessman accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill a woman has been committed to stand trial.

Brian Vincent Attwell, 73, appeared in the Stirling Gardens Magistrate’s Court today via video link from the Albany courthouse.

The earthmoving business owner is charged with attempting to procure the commission of murder.

The court was told Mr Attwell, who was recently released on bail that includes strict conditions such as a $500,000 personal undertaking with a similar surety and a $100,000 cash deposit, intends to plead not guilty.

It is uncertain at this stage whether the trial would be held in Perth or Albany, with the court told Mr Attwell’s defence keen to have the case heard in the Great Southern city.

Magistrate Jan Whitbread committed Mr Attwell to stand trial and adjourned the case for a first appearance in the Perth Supreme Court next month.

The identity of the alleged victim remains suppressed.

The court has previously been told Mr Attwell allegedly paid $10,000 to a man, who unbeknownst to him was an undercover police officer, to kill a woman.

He allegedly requested the woman be strangled to avoid any blood being spilt and said he would use his work equipment to dig a 30-foot grave.

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Author: Robbo

I also love family, Photography, Cooking a great BBQ , Computers, Reading Crime Books, and solving crimes before the end of the show !

2 thoughts on “Wealthy businessman Brian Vincent Attwell sentenced to 8 years for hitman plot to have his estranged daughter-in-law murdered.”

    1. Yeah that too Oz, but I reckon he thought money buys whatever you want. A former family member just becomes a pest, and businessmen exterminate pests…

      I thought he would get a suspended sentence being so old. If he did he would of skipped out of there. Not now, might get carried out in a box

      Like

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