News National Bali Nine’s Renae Lawrence returns home

Bali Nine’s Renae Lawrence returns home

bali nine smuggler renae lawrence
In November, Renae Lawrence became the only Bali Nine drug smuggler to be freed from jail. Photo: Getty
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Bali Nine dug smuggler Renae Lawrence has landed in Australia for the first time in more than 13 years after being released from an Indonesian prison.

Lawrence touched down in Brisbane early Thursday morning and joined her fellow-passengers as she made her way through customs and faced a media pack outside the airport.

The 41-year-old remained silent as she made her way to the Brisbane domestic terminal and upon arrival in her home town of Newcastle ran to a waiting car.

She sat for some time with a towel over her head while her family collected bags before driving off wihtout comment.

Asked earlier if she wanted to take a moment to talk about her homecoming Lawrence, looked teary-eyed, declined, but her mother Bev Waterman told AAP: “It’s very overwhelming.”

Earlier at the international terminal, Mrs Waterman begged journalists to leave her daughter alone.

“We don’t want to comment. We’ve got nothing to say. Please, just leave us,” she told reporters soon after she and her daughter disembarked their plane and tried to make their way to the customs area.

Later, when Lawrence was again asked if she had anything to say she spoke in Indonesian, which translated as: “Thanks to the government of Indonesia, that’s it.”

Lawrence tearfully told Bali’s justice chief, Maryoto Sumadi, shortly before her release Wednesday she was apprehensive about taking her freedom.

“I’m rather scared, but I’m fine,” the ABC quoted Lawrence as saying.

She said she had been checked and found to be healthy both “physically and mentally”.

When Lawrence arrives in Newcastle, the former panel beater is facing two arrest warrants from NSW police that have been outstanding since 2005.

One warrant alleges she was involved in a high-speed chase in a stolen car.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has indicated a deal with her lawyers was more likely than handcuffs on the tarmac when she flies in.

Lawrence earlier was silent and kept her head down as she later jostled her way through a media pack into a waiting car after walking out the front door of Bali’s Bangli Prison.

Wearing sun glasses and a dark shirt, Lawrence was surrounded by heavily armed mobile brigade police and did not respond to questions shouted at her by journalists.

The black SUV with tinted windows took her to Denpasar airport where she was escorted through a VIP entrance before her flight back to Australia with her mother and stepbrother Allan Waterman.

Watch as Lawrence leaves Bangli Prison:

Lawrence was arrested at Denpasar airport in April 2005 with 2.7 kilograms of heroin strapped to her body as part of a bid to smuggle a total of eight kilograms of heroin into Australia.

The two ringleaders, and Myuran Sukumaran were executed in 2015, while Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen died from cancer in May this year while serving a life sentence. 

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
Chan and Sukumaran were executed in 2015. Photo: ABC

The other members – Scott Rush, Michael Czugaj, Martin Stephens, Matthew Norman and Si Yi Chen – are all serving life sentences.

Lawrence’s original life sentence was reduced to 20 years on appeal and has been reduced for good behaviour and other remissions.

She completed a successful smuggling trip in 2004 for Chan, who she said had threatened to kill her family if she told anyone.

Lawrence told her trial that Chan made the same threats before their fateful plot the following year.

-with AAP

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