Brittney Dwyer wept “fake tears” as the family mourned, her uncle said. Picture: Supplied
Brittney Dwyer wept “fake tears” as the family mourned, her uncle said. Picture: Supplied

Teen plotted grandad’s murder

MORE than a year on, her father dead, her daughter awaiting sentencing for his murder, Tonya Dwyer struggles to make any sense of the nightmare.

So many questions about the little girl she raised, who claimed in court some of her motivation to murder came from a TV show.

That little girl became the granddaughter Robert Whitwell adored, who plotted his demise with her friends.

The granddaughter who became the teenager who killed him in cold blood, then did the washing up.

The daughter who, as her family reeled over the brutal death of a harmless old man, grieved alongside them, cunningly guarding the dreadful, deadly truth.

"It was my dad. My daughter killed him," Tonya tells Melissa Doyle in an interview to air on Sunday Night this weekend.

"What are the signs that I missed? That anger that's inside ... never did I think that she was dark."

Tonya tells Sunday Night she did not see “that anger that’s inside” her killer daughter. Picture: Channel 7
Tonya tells Sunday Night she did not see “that anger that’s inside” her killer daughter. Picture: Channel 7

Brittney Jade Dwyer, 19, has pleaded guilty to the murder of her 81-year-old grandfather in August 2016.

At her pre-sentencing hearing, Dwyer's lawyer claimed she was motivated by the TV series American Horror Story, which examines people's capacity for evil and "general obsession with crime and murder".

In the ultimate betrayal of love and trust, Robert let the granddaughter he adored into his home after she travelled from the Gold Coast to Adelaide to kill him for money, documents released by the Supreme Court revealed.

On that fateful day, as he showed her family photos of her as a child, she texted a friend saying she couldn't go through with the evil plan, The Advertiser reports.

Then convinced they'd "come all this way", and should "harden up and do it", ten minutes later she pulled a knife on him and stabbed him in the back.

Robert Whitwell was 81 when his granddaughter Brittney Dwyer murdered him. Picture: Facebook
Robert Whitwell was 81 when his granddaughter Brittney Dwyer murdered him. Picture: Facebook

As he turned and put his hands on her shoulders, she plunged the knife into his chest and neck.

Chillingly, she then helped him put a band-aid on one of the stab wounds.

She washed dishes as he died, and sent a text message, saying "it's done".

His body was discovered three days later. Dwyer and her friend, Bernadette Burns - who both pleaded guilty to murder - were arrested on August 26, 2016.

A third friend, Shelby Lee Angie Holmes, was charged with aggravated criminal trespass. Holmes also appears in Sunday Night with promotional material from Seven asking "will (Brittney's) accomplice and childhood friend finally come clean?"

Tonya will speak more about her devastation on the program with other family members, but her despair was more than evident in victim impact statements which were read out to the Supreme Court during Dwyer's case.

"I feel like I am drowning in life," Tonya said in her statement to the court.

Mr Whitwell's brother, Geoffrey, recounted embracing Dwyer as she wept "fake tears" for her "Poppa".

"I now know that I had been embracing and comforting my brother's killer. You are a master of deception, I will give you that," his statement read by prosecutors to the court said.

"I will never forgive you. You're a cruel, deceitful person with no regard for human life - I believe you are dangerous and evil."

Sunday Night airs on Channel 7 at 8pm on Sunday.

“I feel like I am drowning in life,” devastated Tonya Dwyer told court. Picture: Greg Higgs
“I feel like I am drowning in life,” devastated Tonya Dwyer told court. Picture: Greg Higgs


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