Pepita and Robert Ridgeway
Pepita and Robert Ridgeway

Bombshell in scientist husband’s attempted murder trial

AN INVENTOR with "15 patents" accused of trying to kill his wife has been found not guilty of one charge - but still faces trial on another.

Robert Wayne Ridgeway is no longer charged with intentionally administering poison to harm his wife Pepita.

But he's still accused of trying to kill Mrs Ridgeway at Doonan on the Sunshine Coast in July 2016.

He has pleaded not guilty.

On Wednesday, Brisbane Supreme Court jurors were ordered to deliver a not guilty verdict on the poison charge.

Justice Glenn Martin said no evidence existed for jurors to find beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Ridgeway committed that crime.

On the attempted murder charge, the American scientist began giving evidence in his own defence.

Mr Ridgeway said he needed nitrogen for a project involving 3D printing on copper sulphate.

He said needed a safe way to dispense gas, using a cylinder "as small as possible".

Mr Ridgeway said he'd worked with nitrogen for "probably more than forty years" and in his experience "nobody's ever been hurt with it."

Prosecutors alleged the scientist tried to kill Mrs Ridgeway by infiltrating the caravan where she slept with nitrogen connected by hose to a gas canister.

Pepita Ridgeway leaving the Brisbane Supreme Courts after giving evidence. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Pepita Ridgeway leaving the Brisbane Supreme Courts after giving evidence. Photographer: Liam Kidston. Liam Kidston

The court has heard Mrs Ridgeway slept in the caravan, while her husband stayed in a house on the Doonan property.

Defence counsel Catherine Cuthbert said Mr Ridgeway was a scientist, engineer and entrepreneur, with 15 patents.

She said the hose apparatus was no "gas dispersal system" but a drain designed to dry out the area under the single bed.

"He did not tell his wife…he did not tell her about many things he did," Ms Cuthbert said.

"He found a way for him to make his marriage work, which was just to go about things and not advise his wife. He didn't like to be micromanaged."

Jurors have heard Mrs Ridgeway called police after waking up to the sound of "hissing" gas.

The trial continues.

- NewsRegional