Pepita Ridgeway leaves court, where her husband Robert is on trial for attempted murder.
Pepita Ridgeway leaves court, where her husband Robert is on trial for attempted murder. Liam Kidston

'Crazy American' gun claims exaggerated, gas trial told

A SCIENTIST accused of trying to kill his wife was unfairly labelled a "crazy American" gun nut, his barrister says.

Robert Wayne Ridgeway has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of his wife Pepita, and not guilty to an alternative charge of administering a noxious gas with intent.

On Wednesday, his barrister, Catherine Cuthbert, suggested Mrs Ridgeway exaggerated risks posed when telling police Mr Ridgeway had a gun.

Prosecutors say Mrs Ridgeway called 000 after waking up and hearing hissing gas in a caravan at Doonan on the Sunshine Coast in 2016.

They claim Mr Ridgeway tried killing his wife by causing nitrogen to permeate the caravan through a hose linked to a gas canister.

And in the 000 call, Mrs Ridgeway said: "I'm freaking out because I'm scared he's got a gun, he's American."

"You've completely overblown a situation," Ms Cuthbert said.

The barrister told Brisbane Supreme Court Mrs Ridgeway tried portraying her husband as a "crazy American".

Ms Cuthbert told Mrs Ridgeway she frequently threatened divorce "when you didn't get your own way."

Mrs Ridgeway rejected that.

Ms Cuthbert said Mrs Ridgeway would "ridicule and belittle" her physicist husband for being unemployed, yet "thwarted" his attempts to find work at employers like the CSIRO.

Mrs Ridgeway said she had to look after her terminally ill mother, and did not wish to move to other cities, or interstate.

Later on Wednesday, jurors heard an interview police conducted with one of the couple's children about events leading up to the alleged gassing on July 5, 2016.

"I had this bad feeling, something bad is going to happen," the child said.

The child said they put a chair against their bedroom door, and someone tried opening the door.

Later, the child said Mrs Ridgeway said "someone had gassed her or put gas in her caravan".

The child said Mrs Ridgeway slept in the caravan because the parents had "a big fight two or three weeks ago and she hit dad, and he pushed her."

The trial continues. -NewsRegional