A former Australian army captain was jailed for 10 years today for stealing rocket launchers from the military and selling them to a man with alleged terror links.
Shane Della-Vedova, 46, pleaded guilty to stealing 10 M-72 shoulder-fired weapons during his time as an army ammunition technician officer between 2001 and 2003.
He also admitted selling the launchers for £23,000 (€28,800) to a man who allegedly negotiated to sell them on to a terrorist group.
Judge Jonathan Williams said Della-Vedova’s actions “strike at the very heart of state and federal security”.
“I also find it extraordinarily difficult to believe that Mr Della-Vedova wouldn’t have had well in mind that these weapons ... were more likely to be used for some criminal, terrorist-type activity,” Judge Williams told the Sydney court.
“He was either prepared to turn a blind eye to these probabilities or acted in reckless disregard of them.”
Only one of the weapons has been recovered and the judge said the missing nine posed a serious terrorist threat against Australians.
The small weapons had a firing range of up to 200 yards against a stationary target and were considered an effective low-cost weapon against unprotected buildings and vehicles, the court heard.
Della-Vedova had faced a life sentence if he had been convicted of conspiring to carry out a terrorist attack in Australia.