8 March 2023

Mother of shooting victim Glenn Walewicz tells of 'never-ending grief' at murderer's sentencing

| Albert McKnight
man holding a gun outside screen door

Closed-circuit television footage captured the intruders outside Glenn Walewicz’s door on 10 June 2021. Image: Screenshot.

The mother of a man shot to death in his home nearly two years ago has told of the heartbreak she endures over his loss before one of his murderers was sentenced to more than 10 years’ jail.

Gary Taylor was one of three people who knocked on Glenn Walewicz’s door in Phillip late at night on 10 June 2021, seen in closed-circuit television footage screened to the ACT Supreme Court.

“Who is it?” Mr Walewicz could be heard calling from inside his Mansfield Place home before an intruder said, “Open up”, and one of them, who was just 17 at the time, fired a gun when Mr Walewicz opened the door.

The three, who all wore face coverings and included a 12-year-old boy, milled around outside the door for a short time before fleeing from the cries that could be heard coming from inside the unit.

Mr Walewicz, 48, had been shot in the neck and died shortly afterwards.

People sitting in the court’s gallery started to cry when the harrowing footage was shown during Taylor’s sentencing on Wednesday (8 March) after the 24-year-old pleaded guilty to murder by joint commission.

“The loss of Glenn, my son, has created a massive hole in my life. A hole that cannot be filled by another person,” his mother, Jenny Walewicz, wrote in a statement read out by his sister.

“I was his Mum, but I was also his best friend.”

She said he was her “buddy” and they hung out most weekends, going shopping, to a café, or just staying home. Now, she sometimes wanders around Canberra, visiting the places they used to spend time together.

“Glenn was such a loud and in-your-face kind of person. He brightened a room and he was very kind,” Ms Walewicz said.

“I never imagined that he would die before me.”

Glenn Walewicz was shot and killed in a case of mistaken identity. Photo: ACT Policing.

She also addressed Taylor, who sat in the dock dressed in prison greens, staring straight ahead.

“My never-ending grief is all consuming and you have created this, all of this,” she told him.

“My son Glenn did not ask for this, he did not provoke this, yet he paid the ultimate price for your senseless act.”

Crown prosecutor Anthony Williamson SC said Taylor and the others had been told, allegedly by Holt woman Nicole Williams, to go to a home on Mansfield Place to conduct a home invasion on two drug dealers that lived there and steal their drugs and cash.

But the group went to the wrong home, that of Mr Walewicz, someone not involved in the drug trade at all.

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Mr Williamson, who called the murder a “cowardly” attack on an “unsuspecting and unarmed” man, said for reasons that are still unknown, the 17-year-old shot Mr Walewicz with a .22 pump action rifle when he answered the door.

He said Taylor, who had been armed with a small axe that night, was liable for his charge as he agreed to go with the others to conduct a home invasion and foresaw the possibility that the 17-year-old might commit murder.

Mr Williamson did accept Taylor was remorseful and had provided significant assistance to police, including giving them an account of what happened as soon as he was arrested in his hometown of Baradine, NSW.

Gary Taylor, 24, pleaded guilty to murder last year. Photo: Facebook.

Taylor’s lawyer, Taden Kelliher of Tim Sharman Solicitors, said his client had been under the effect of methamphetamine at the time of the shooting and an expert said his mental health issues had impaired his ability to make reasoned judgements.

Justice David Mossop said the death of Mr Walewicz was particularly tragic because he was shot as a result of mistaken identity.

“He did not know his killers and was entirely innocent, that makes his loss particularly hard for his friends and family,” he said.

He said Taylor had a dysfunctional upbringing, had become a daily meth user and had been described by a school friend as “a follower rather than a leader”.

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Justice Mossop also said Taylor, who has been in custody since his arrest in June 2021, had faced threats while he was in the Alexander Maconochie Centre, so he had been moved to a NSW jail.

He was given a 40 per cent discount on his sentence. He was convicted and sentenced to 10 years and three months’ jail with a non-parole period of five-and-a-half years.

Taylor could be seen wiping tears from his eyes during his sentencing. When it was finished, he did not look at his supporters who sat in the court’s gallery as he was led back to jail.

He is eligible to be released in December 2027.

Nicole Williams (left) and Reatile Ncube were also charged over the shooting. Photos: Facebook/Albert McKnight.

Six people were arrested over the death of Mr Walewicz.

The shooter, aged 17 at the time, pleaded guilty to murder along with Taylor and will be sentenced in June.

Getaway driver Reatile Ncube was the first of the group to be sentenced but has avoided being returned to jail.

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Nicole Williams, the 38-year-old alleged architect behind the home invasion that led to the murder, was refused bail again last month and is awaiting trial as she pleaded not guilty to her alleged role.

Her son Jayden Douglas Williams, from Glen Innes in NSW, pleaded not guilty like his mother and has also been committed for trial.

A murder charge against a then-13-year-old boy was dropped last year.

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