War on drugs

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This weekend’s news.

Gary Tweddle, pictured above, of Cremorne, was at a work conference in Leura.

After drinking one to two bottles of wine at Silks Brasserie in Leura with Oracle colleagues he appeared to be in “good spirits”. He had to be helped into a taxi to go back to Fairmont resort just after 11 pm.

After he got back to Fairmont resort he contacted this man, Christopher Pambos, of Earlwood.

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“Hey man. I’m in Leura. Keen to pay whatever. Any chance for a delivery? Will pay BIG,” said a text message sent at 11.15pm.

The story says: “Phone records showed Mr Tweddle and Pambos exchanged 25 text messages between 11.02pm on July 15 and 12.50am on July 16 to organise the sale of five bags of cocaine for $1550.”

That is a misleading use of the term “exchanged.” Mr Tweddle sent his last text to Pambos at 11.50. It was agreed the pair would meet at Penrith train station to make the exchange.

Possibly Tweddle intended to take a taxi from Leura to Penrith. He was hardly in a condition to drive. It was too late to take a train.

At 11.53 Tweddle was captured on CCTV footage running out of Fairmont.

An Oracle work colleague was seen running after him but he returned seconds later.

Concerned friends called his phone at 12.02am and Mr Tweddle picked up and told them he was lost.

“Tweddle appeared to still be in good sprits during this call. This was the last known contact with Tweddle. [He] was not seen or heard from after this call.”

When Pambos arrived he parked in the station car park and sent Mr Tweddle three texts. (The last of these must the one which takes the “exchange” of SMSs up to 12.50 am.)

He waited 15 minutes but drove back to Sydney after failing to get a response.

When Tweddle went missing there was a great hue and cry. The press report suggests that only Pambos knew where Tweddle was heading (really? No-one else in on the plan?) and that he did not come forward because he did not wish to be exposed as a drug dealer. That’s understandable, though as things turned out it’s hard to see how anything would have changed for Mr Tweddle or finding him if Pambos had come forward.

Pambos threw the phone away and kept dealing drugs “not deterred” (the paper says) by the disappearance of Tweddle. He was at work (with gear and phone and paraphernalia) in his mother’s green Ford fiesta when police pulled him over in Illawarra Road at Marrickville about 3 weeks later.

Presumably Pambos was relying on his phone being anonymous, but its call history likely as not gave something away with a little detective work.

It was only later that the body of Tweddle was found down a cliff between Leura and Katoomba. He was found wearing the same clothes he went missing in with a wallet containing his ID and $1300 cash. An iPhone found 70 metres further down the cliff had no battery but showed Mr Tweddle had been using a compass and flashlight app at the time he fell.

Pambos got two years with a non-parole period expiring next November for possession and attempted supply to Tweddle.

That’s bad luck for him. The drug with the leading claim to a contribution to Mr Tweddle’s death must surely be alcohol. Pambos wasn’t dealing that.

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