THE elderly man who sent a bullet and a death threat to deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said it was the “biggest mistake of his life”.
Neville Newman, 74, fronted Armidale Local Court for the first time on Monday since he was charged by detectives in December.
Police tracked Newman down after he was captured on CCTV footage using a payphone in Armidale to call Mr Joyce’s parents on December 22.
He found the number in the telephone directory.
The call went unanswered, and Newman left a voice message that said, “Hello, could you give your son a message. Tell him he is going to end up very dead that bastard, him and that Turnbull if he lets that mine go through in North Queensland.
“He is just a traitor [sic] that bastard the way he sold us out to everybody else, he is a dog.”
Mr Joyce’s parents returned home at 8:30pm and listened to the message.
The number was traced to the payphone in Armidale and Newman was identified.
Newman also sent a bullet to Mr Joyce’s electorate office in Tamworth in the midst of the New England byelection between August 1 and November 6.
The letter was written using a typewriter and read, “bbbarnaby [sic] joyce andmalcolm turnbull ? if you think you are going to give a billion dollars toest to establish that mega coal mine in north queensland sixty minutes showed how big amess they left every where everywhere they also theliverpool plains that is part of our food bowl why wont you stop the water being stolen northern n nsw youare so bloody corrupt keep going and you will bestopped you are disgrace t o our countryyou red faced piece of shit”.
Newman then accessed his firearms safe and removed a .22 calibre round of ammunition.
Using sticky tape, Newman attached the bullet to the typed letter inside a community survey posted to all households in the New England electorate and posted it back to the reply paid address.
On November 6, an electorate office employee opened the letter and contacted police.
The letter was then forensically tested for fingerprints.
Armidale police went to Newman’s home on December 24 and seized the .22 calibre rifle and ammunition from his gun safe.
Each round was imprinted with a Super X logo, identical to the bullet found in the letter.
Newman, who declined legal representation, made a full confession to detectives after he attended Armidale Police Station on the morning of December 28.
Newman told police he had acted out of frustration with the “destruction of Australia by politicians”, but never intended to physically harm Mr Joyce or anyone else.
The phone call and letter were the “biggest mistake of his life”, Newman told officers.
Watson McNamara and Watt defence solicitor Rod Watt asked that the matter be adjourned to gather medical reports.
Magistrate Michael Holmes ordered a presentence report but said it was a straightforward matter.
“It’s a serious set of facts,” he said.
Newman has no previous criminal history, the court heard, and Mr Holmes adjourned the case until April 23 when the matter returns to court for sentencing.
Newman remains on conditional bail.