Former neo-Nazi Robert Wayne Edhouse sentenced after using ‘codes’ to communicate bungled armed jail break

A convicted murderer has been handed a further jail term for conspiring with another member of a Perth neo-Nazi group to break him out of jail, in a plan that included extortion, coded messages and the purchase of firearms.

Robert Wayne Edhouse hatched the plan while serving a life jail term in Casuarina maximum security prison for the murder of his lover’s partner in 2016.

His alleged co-conspirator, another member of white supremacist group Aryan Nation, had also been involved in the murder trial, but was found guilty of being an accessory to the crime and had completed his jail term.

He has pleaded not guilty to the two charges relating to the jail break and is due to stand trial next year.

The District Court was told the breakout plan started in October 2020, when Edhouse was recorded in prison phone calls discussing with the man the need for money for the Aryan Nation’s clubhouse.

Further phone calls recorded Edhouse talking about a plan to extort the money from a man who he claimed owed him money.

In one of the calls, Edhouse was heard telling his alleged co-conspirator to demand $5,000 from the man “in return for a lifetime of happiness”.

Coded letter revealed jail break plot

Edhouse also revealed in the phone conversations that he had sent a letter to his co-accused that was coded using ‘cheat codes’ from a video game called Red Dead Redemption.

“If you are my bros, I need you to buy guns and break me out when I go to hospital for my operation,” it read when decoded.

That was a reference to knee surgery that the court heard Edhouse needed but was yet to be scheduled.

Edhouse later said they needed at least $15,000 to “get the job done” while the co-accused responded by referring to “the Werewolf Battalion” — a group of Nazi loyalists established near the end of World War II.

State prosecutor Hannah Flynn said the mention was a veiled reference to “guerilla warfare tactics” being used to break Edhouse out.

When the plan was uncovered, a search of Edhouse’s cell found notes containing the name, address and phone number of the intended extortion victim, as well as the code that he used in the letter to his co-accused.

Edhouse renounces Aryan group, lawyer claims

Edhouse’s lawyer, Felicity Cain, said at the time the plan was hatched, her client was in “a pretty dark place” and “struggling mentally”.

She said he had been told he was unable to do any further study or any work outside his unit, which she said had “contributed to his mental health going downhill”.

“This was really a plan out of desperation from Edhouse’s perspective,” she said.

A composite of Robert Edhouse and Melony Attwood with a headshot of victim Alan Taylor
Murderers Robert Edhouse and Melony Attwood, and victim Alan Taylor (right).(ABC News)

After he was charged, Edhouse spent six months in the special handling unit of Casuarina prison, where Ms Cain said he was “essentially in isolation”.

She said since his release from that unit back into the mainstream population, Edhouse had matured and now worked with other prisoners who needed support.

The court was told he was no longer a member of the Ayran Nation group, and he had still not had the surgery on his injured knee.

Judge Timothy Sharp said Edhouse’s crime was aggravated by a number of factors, including that it involved the procurement of firearms and a plan to forcibly break out of custody when he was in hospital.

He also said Edhouse was “the driving force” of the conspiracy.

But he took into account that Edhouse, who appeared in court via video link from prison, had entered a guilty plea at an early opportunity, meaning a lengthy trial was not required.

Judge Sharp imposed a sentence of three years and nine months’ jail — the term will be served at the same time as Edhouse’s life sentence.

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