A 27-year-old who allegedly told a friend he would kill his ex-partner with a machete and had aspirations of filming a massacre has applied for bail.
Ararat man Lee Wadham appeared in the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Monday, charged with making threats to kill, using a carriage service to harass and possessing a controlled weapon. His application for bail was opposed by police.
Police informant Detective Senior Constable Caroline Blackley told the court that on 6.04pm on March 15, he called his ex-partner while "very angry, and was talking about the New Zealand massacre in Christchurch".
"The accused further said that he was angry because someone had stolen his idea about wearing a Go-Pro camera whilst shooting people", Senior Constable Blackley said. The conversation ended as the female victim told Wadham he was scaring her.
Between March 15 and 18, police allege Wadham sent the complainant around 200 text messages and rang her 140 times. Texts stated he was "threatening to take his own life, the victim's life and anyone else who tried to get in his way", according to the police informant.
The accused's mother, Leanne Wadham, said she would let her son stay with him if he received bail and would support him to attend psychiatric appointments and take his medication.
Ms Wadham cried as she told the court that her son's behaviour was "very concerning, but all due to his mental health", and he would have limited access to the internet at her home. She also stated when Wadham previously lived with her, he had swastika symbols and a Nazi flag up on his walls.
Magistrate Frank Jones said it was clear Wadham would be supported by his family and have mental health supports if released on bail. But he told the court "it's the actual risk itself of him being at large" because his alleged obsessions are "a bit more than just the current news items of the day".
"The risk is mental health, and in situations like this I want a report from a psychiatrist," Magistrate Jones said.
Defence lawyer Scott Belcher said when it came to the text messages, any threats to kill were "words alone" and there had been no concrete threats to the complainant or detailed plans.
"He is clearly fascinated with current news items of the day," he said. "But there hasn't been a lot of evidence of advancing beyond words said."
"He is someone that needs to be properly treated and medicated, and if he's in custody this may not happen ... (his mother) is a very solid person who can provide accommodation and support, if she had any concerns she said would be contacting Victoria Police immediately."
On March 18, Wadham was interviewed by Ararat police, where the accused stated he did not make a threat but was "just using a saying, which she misinterpreted".
The informant told the court that the accused was known to Victoria Police's counter-terrorism unit.
On March 21 at 4.30pm, the accused was intercepted by police on George Road, Ararat driving an unregistered dark-coloured Chrysler, where police allege a newly-purchased machete was lying on the front seat of the car.
Senior Constable Blackley said when Wadham was questioned by police, he told them the machete was to cut tie-down straps from his roof racks when he goes travelling. He was arrested under the Mental Health Act, with psychiatric nurses at Ararat Hospital determining the accused was not psychotic, but suffers from anti-social behaviour disorder. He was then released from police custody.
On March 22 at 12.40pm, the police prosecutor said the complainant called Ararat Police Station having received a call from another witness, who said he'd been contacted by Wadham who was "on his way to Ballarat with a machete to kill" the woman.
At 1.40pm on March 22, Wadham was arrested by police. Police executed a search warrant at the accused man's house at 4.13pm the same day, and seized a laptop, two mobile phones, a hard drive and one ziplock bag of cannabis. In an interview with police, Wadham made full admissions to possessing cannabis.
Senior Constable Blackley said during the search, police observed news from the Christchurch massacre playing on repeat on the television.
Wadham will return to the Ballarat Magistrates Court on April 4, to provide time for a thorough mental health assessment and to allow police to forensically investigate the accused's phones and laptop.
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