Pepita and Robert Ridgeway on the Sunshine Coast in 2001.
Pepita and Robert Ridgeway on the Sunshine Coast in 2001.

Ridgeway: ‘If I had planned it, I would have more gas’

A MAN accused of attempting to murder his wife by gassing her in her caravan has denied concocting a story about using a hose to drain water from the van.

Crown prosecutor David Finch put to Robert Ridgeway that he constructed a device to introduce nitrogen gas into the caravan where his wife was sleeping on July 5, 2016.

"No, I knew I didn't have enough to do anything," Ridgeway said, referring to the single cylinder of nitrogen gas he bought the day before the alleged gassing attempt.

"If I had planned it, I would have more gas. The fact that I had one tank is evidence that I didn't plan such a thing."

When Mr Finch put to Ridgeway that he had researched nitrogen gas and intended to asphyxiate and kill his wife he said: "No", saying he had researched safety of its use.

"I suggest to you that you failed in that attempt because the calculation of the volume of nitrogen was wrong," Mr Finch put to Ridgeway, in Brisbane's Supreme Court.

He replied: "The fact I got the minimum amount is proof otherwise."

Ridgeway is on trial, charged with for the attempted murder of his wife of 18 years, Pepita Ridgeway, on or about July 5, 2016, at Doonan on the Sunshine Coast.

Robert Ridgeway. Picture: Supplied
Robert Ridgeway. Picture: Supplied


Pepita Ridgeway. Picture: Liam Kidston
Pepita Ridgeway. Picture: Liam Kidston

On July 1, 2016, Mrs Ridgeway had sent her husband an email saying she was going to see a lawyer about a divorce and she did so on July 4.

Mrs Ridgeway said she woke at 2am to a hissing or gurgling sound and lifted her mattress to find a taped down hose.

She said when she looked under the van she saw a green hose sticking through the bottom of the caravan and traced it to a nitrogen gas cylinder in the carport.

Mrs Ridgeway told how in 2011 her husband of 18 years had threatened to kill her and the children if she ever divorced him. He has denied it.

The American-born electronics engineer told the court he had fixed a garden hose into the caravan as a drain to fix a water leaking under a bed, from a top hatch.

Ridgeway said he had redone the drain hose into the caravan with new duct tape two days before his wife Pepita Ridgeway woke up in the van to a hissing sound.

The court heard earlier that Ridgeway did not tell police about building the drain when they asked about the hose and duct tape found under the bed board in the van.

Mr Finch put to Ridgeway that he deliberately chose not to tell police because it would have implicated him in the introduction of nitrogen gas.

"I say that's nonsense," Ridgeway replied, saying he had tried to straighten things out with police.

The trial is continuing.