‘Wicked’ killer to get farm funds for appeal
A WOMAN gaoled for murdering her estranged husband has won the right to a share of money from the sale of their farm to fund an appeal against her conviction.
Helen Ryan, 52, was gaoled for at least 27 years in October last year for the contract killing of Jeffrey Ryan, 48, who was shot in the back at the couple’s $1 million property at Duri, south of Tamworth, in October 2009
Ryan was found to have recruited her mother and sister to help arrange the $30,000 contract killing, a plot described by the sentencing judge as “wicked and gravely reprehensible”.
Her lawyers applied to the New South Wales Supreme Court for the release of $311,000 from the $1.032 million held by the court, money which is the proceeds of the sale of the farm, Sydney media report.
Ryan wants the $311,000 to prosecute her appeal, as well as to defend civil proceedings brought against her by Ben Ryan, the son of the victim from another marriage and executor of his estate.
Justice Julie Ward said yesterday (Friday) Ryan should at first receive funds to meet the costs of obtaining advice as the prospects of her appeal and then, if appropriate, for counsel’s representation at the appeal.
She said applications for such costs should be made in stages and she would need to approve detailed estimates of them.
No more than $242,004 should be paid out, the judge said.
The civil action against Ryan is brought on two grounds, one being a claim that she is not entitled to any of the farm proceeds under NSW forfeiture laws where killers cannot benefit from their crime.
The judge said it seemed likely that the estate will be found entitled to at least a 50 per cent share of the sale proceeds and potentially at least 76.55 per cent.
There was a “recognised public interest” in a person in Ryan’s position being able to obtain legal advice about an appeal and to prosecute it if advised, she said.
The hitman, 47-year-old Ken Brooks of Cessnock, was last month gaoled for 38 years for the $30,000 killing of Mr Ryan, a man he’d never met.