She may have spent 13 years in prison in Indonesia, but Bali Nine drug smuggler Renae Lawrence’s ordeal is far from over.
She may have spent 13 years in prison in Indonesia, but Bali Nine drug smuggler Renae Lawrence’s ordeal is far from over.

Renae Lawrence’s tough homecoming

CONVICTED Bali Nine drug mule Renae Lawrence has been spotted reporting to a police station in her hometown of Newcastle after spending 13 years in jail in Indonesia.

The 41-year-old Bali Nine smuggler handed herself in to police a day after she was mobbed by the press as she landed in Australia late last month.

However, she had been excused from appearing in a NSW court to face charges over an alleged high-speed stolen car chase with police in 2005.

She was allegedly driving the car with fellow Bali Nine member Matthew Norman. She is facing charges of car theft, driving unlicensed, exceeding the speed limit by 40km/h and failing to stop for police.

Police claim she stole a hatchback at Enfield about 4am on March 26, 2005, and was driving at 130km/h in a 90 zone at Mooney Mooney before her arrest.

One month after the alleged incident, the former panelbeater was caught at Bali Airport in 2005 with 2.7kg of heroin strapped to her body.

She was jailed for 20 years and served 13 years after being granted sentence reductions.

The operation's two ringleaders, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, were executed in 2015.

Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen died from cancer in May this year while serving a life sentence.

The other five - Scott Rush, Michael Czugaj, Martin Stephens, Matthew Norman and Si Yi Chen - remain in Indonesian jails serving life sentences.

Questioned by authorities the day after their arrest, the ringleaders denied any wrongdoing on the advice of their lawyers. They were the only two not caught with any heroin.

But Lawrence immediately co-operated with Indonesian officials.

On the advice of her legal team, she named those involved in the drug plot, offering up critical information explaining how the plan unfolded.

She could be seen grinning and holding paperwork as she left Newcastle Police Station yesterday.

Court documents reveal when Senior Constable Luke Williams listed his reasons for releasing Lawrence on bail last month, he argued she was unlikely to receive a custodial sentence over the outstanding charges "given the accused was just released from custody overseas for a 13-year sentence".

Andrew Chan (L) and Myuran Sukumaran (R) were killed by firing squad after attempting to smuggle heroin out of Bali. Picture: AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati
Andrew Chan (L) and Myuran Sukumaran (R) were killed by firing squad after attempting to smuggle heroin out of Bali. Picture: AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati

As she landed back on Australian soil last month, Lawrence had to dodge a large media pack waiting to ask her questions.

NSW court documents seen by AAP reportedly reveal she is suffering from anxiety and depression.

She appeared anxious and teary as she and her family quickly boarded an airport bus and travelled from Brisbane's international terminal to the domestic terminal to catch their flight to Newcastle.

Her mother, Beverley Waterman, described her daughter's return to a barrage of media and cameras as "overwhelming".

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

Beverley Waterman, described her daughter’s return to a barrage of media and cameras as ‘overwhelming’. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images
Beverley Waterman, described her daughter’s return to a barrage of media and cameras as ‘overwhelming’. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

"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 and tried to make their way to the customs area.

But 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."

Seven News reporter Chris Reason told 2GB Lawrence had been flanked by about 50 Indonesian police members as she was escorted from prison to Bali International Airport - for her own protection.

Lawrence was the first of the Bali Nine to confess under questioning. Picture: Lukman S Bintoro
Lawrence was the first of the Bali Nine to confess under questioning. Picture: Lukman S Bintoro

"I think she will be looking over her shoulder for the rest of her life," he said. "She's felt that threat and fear for some time. Some of these guys are now out of prison - the ones who were imprisoned in Australia as a result of the Bali Nine operation.

"It's something that will always be at the back of her mind."

Lawrence has been granted conditional bail by NSW Police and will appear in court on January 17.

- with AAP

She has been granted bail. Picture: Diimex
She has been granted bail. Picture: Diimex