Strudwick locked up - Judge refuses bail and warns 'your sentence starts today'

A WOMAN who pleaded guilty to disposing of a packet of bullets, the same kind used in the murder of a police officer, has been refused bail as she waits to learn her fate.

Sharon Strudwick was yesterday taken into custody and will remain behind bars for at least one week after her sentencing hearing wrapped up in Tamworth District Court.

Judge Colin Charteris said there was no other penalty available other than a custodial sentence and the sentence should “commence from today”.

“I revoke her bail,” he told the court yesterday and adjourned to consider his judgment, which will be handed down next week.

It follows more than two days of evidence being given in court after the 49-year-old pleaded guilty to acting with intent to pervert the course of justice by disposing of 0.38-calibre ammunition.

Strudwick, the former partner of convicted murderer Michael Allan Jacobs – the man who shot and killed Senior Constable David Rixon – argued she was frightened and tried to protect herself and her son when she told him to stash the box of bullets.

In final submissions yesterday, crown prosecutor John Stanhope argued Strudwick “knew or believed” the box contained bullets and therefore knew it was “very likely to relate to the murder inquiry”.

“The fact that there is a relationship with the offender and Michael Jacobs ... (there was) motivation inspired by loyalty,” he said.

Mr Stanhope submitted that by hiding the evidence, Strudwick was preventing police from gathering information for the murder investigation.

“The offender at some stage came into the possession of the bullets. She knew they were connected with the shooting that occurred on March 2,” he said.

“She knew police were looking for items to connect Michael Jacobs to the weapon.”

The crown also submitted that Strudwick’s assertion she wasn’t sure about the box’s contents until a March 27 phone call was “highly implausible”.

“Never any hesitation or equivocation,” he said of the language used in the phone conversation to James Strudwick, her son.

“Ultimately, it’s the offender Ms Strudwick ... that says in the conversation ... that it should go in the toilet, shove it up the toilet.”

He said any argument about Strudwick’s presence of mind at the time could not be accepted. “It was not such to prevent her firstly from driving the car, and secondly from forming a plan and asking for it to be put into effect,” Mr Stanhope said.

Defence barrister Sheridan Goodwin submitted that because of her client’s plea, co-operation with police and giving evidence in the trial of Michael Jacobs, a sentence discount of 25 per cent was warranted.

“It was not part of planned or organised criminal activity,” she told the court, adding that her client has “somewhat decent prospects of rehabilitation”.

But Judge Charteris said Strudwick’s rehabilitation depended on her giving up her illicit drug use.

Ms Goodwin admitted Strudwick’s role was more serious than that of her two co-offenders’.

“The offender does indeed accept responsibility for her action,” she said.

“On the evidence, she is the whole instigator of the enterprise,” Judge Charteris said.

At the end of the hearing, after the crown asked for bail to be revoked, Ms Goodwin argued Strudwick could post surety and there was not “increased motivation of fleeing, in the face of what’s looming”. The sentence will be handed down on May 9.

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