Pepita Ridgeway says people in abusive relationships - including emotionally abusive ones - need to take threats seriously.
Pepita Ridgeway says people in abusive relationships - including emotionally abusive ones - need to take threats seriously. Liam Kidston

Death plot survivor's warning to others

THE bad news is, he tried to kill her.

The good news, Pepita Ridgeway says, is that people can get help before it's too late.

On Thursday, her husband Robert Wayne Ridgeway was sentenced to 10 years' jail for trying to kill her as she slept in a caravan in Doonan on the Sunshine Coast.

Mrs Ridgeway said people in relationships shouldn't normalise emotional abuse or threats.

"It's very, very hard to understand when you're in it," she said after her husband, 64, was sentenced.

"No one should be abusing you. It can escalate. If there's abuse, verbal abuse and threats, take them very seriously."

She said in this case, the abuse and threats escalated to the point her husband tried killing her by infiltrating a caravan with nitrogen.

Jurors at Ridgeway's Brisbane Supreme Court trial heard Ridgeway once threatened to kill his wife and their children, after a trivial dispute over food.

Mrs Ridgeway said it could be tough and dangerous for women to leave abusive partners.

Domestic violence researchers and professionals have said the risk of women being killed increases when they leave their abuser.

And Mrs Ridgeway said abusive partners should get help to become better people.

"Robert's fear of counselling is that he was going to get abused, he would get in trouble," Mrs Ridgeway said.

But counselling was about "getting tools" to help people improve themselves and relationships, she said.

"If the suggestion of counselling comes up, take it."

Mrs Ridgeway also told News Regional her husband would indulge in "gaslighting".

The term is used to describe manipulators who try make victims question their reality.

At Ridgeway's sentencing on Thursday, Justice Glenn Martin said the husband's plot was "cold and calculating".

Justice Martin said there was "no one thing" Mrs Ridgeway did or said to cause her husband's murderous plans.

Justice Martin said if the plot had manifested the way the scientist intended, Mrs Ridgeway "may well have died gasping for air".

Ridgeway will not be eligible for parole until he is 70. -NewsRegional


* Emotional violence can include control of finances, isolation from family and friends, repeat humiliation, threats of injury or death

* On average one woman a week in Australia is murdered by her current or former partner, according to 


*For 24-hour support call Queensland DVConnect on 1800 811 811 or MensLine on 1800 600 636, NSW Domestic Violence Line on 1800 656 463 or national hotline 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732)