Prisoner’s getaway driver jailed for violent escape

Johnathan Sedman.
Johnathan Sedman.

A 27-year-old woman who was the getaway driver in a prisoner’s violent escape in Perth has been jailed for two years.

Jessica Louise Withers waited with accomplice Stephen Clarke for four hours in the car park of Fremantle Hospital on November 14, 2017 before armed robber Johnathan Sedman emerged from a medical appointment handcuffed to a wheelchair.

Sedman, who was serving time at Casuarina Prison, was at the hospital for a pre-scheduled appointment.

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Clarke jumped out of the car with a sawn-off shotgun and pointed it at a prison guard, demanding Sedman be released.

When the guard refused, Clarke struck him with the barrel of the gun to his left ear, partially severing it.

Clarke then pointed the weapon at the other guard and demanded she hand over the handcuff keys, which she complied with.

The mother-of-one drove the pair to Woodman Point where they met up with Sedman’s partner and his baby daughter.

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Withers then drove to a house in Medina, where they hid her car, then got into another vehicle and were stopped by police on the way to a pub.

Police checked Withers’ driver’s licence and called the tactical response group because her number plate had been spotted as she drove away from the hospital.

“Your actions in this offending were essential to the success of this crime,” District Court of WA Judge Linda Petrusa said on Tuesday.

Judge Petrusa accepted Withers wasn’t a party to the plan but was “wilfully blind” to many warning signs pointing to what was about to unfold.

Withers, a friend of Sedman’s partner, will be eligible for parole after serving one year.

In August, Sedman had eight years added to his six-and-a-half year jail term.

Clarke was also sentenced to eight years.