Violent plan to steal cash from frail Wodonga man and buy drugs

CRIME SCENE: Police at on the corner of Lawrence and William streets in Wodonga, where construction provided the alleged offender with a wooden plank for an assault.
CRIME SCENE: Police at on the corner of Lawrence and William streets in Wodonga, where construction provided the alleged offender with a wooden plank for an assault.

A woman who allegedly belted a frail old man in the head so she could steal money for drugs has been deemed too dangerous to release from custody.

Louise Bryson, 39, has been accused of using a 2x4-centimetre thick, 80cm long wooden plank to knock out a 75-year-old Wodonga man in his own home on Saturday.

She applied for bail in Wodonga Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, but was refused.

Bryson and her boyfriend Paul Branson, 46, have both been charged with offences including armed robbery and aggravated burglary.

Wodonga Detective Leading Senior Consable Andrew Leonard said the woman claimed Branson orchestrated the attack because he “woke up in the morning and was desperate to use drugs”. He had been sitting with the victim, his neighbour, at the time watching football with a plan to get into the man’s wallet.

“According to Louise, they were waiting for an opportunity and it got to the point where Mr Branson said ‘we just have to knock him out’,” Detective Leonard said.

Bryant allegedly snuck into the unit and hit the victim numerous times to the head and arms when he tried to defend himself.

Cuts to his head reached as deep as his skull and he needed more than 50 stitches for the wounds before being released from Wodonga Hospital the next day.

Police found $140 cash had been stolen from him.

“She did admit she had used ice at one point during that day,” Detective Leonard said.

“Our main concern at this time is obviously the seriousness of the offending … she is likely to commit further offences.”

Solicitor Mario Vaccaro said Bryson felt she had to follow Branson’s instructions to commit the assault because she had “similar to what one would call battered wife syndrome”.

“That relationship has been one where she felt compelled to comply,” he said.

Magistrate David Faran refused bail, saying Bryson was a risk of either not appearing in court or attacking the victim again.

Dressed in a pink hoodie, Bryson cried throughout the bail application and denied harassing the victim in the past.