The mother of an alleged Xbox hacker who was convicted of helping him flee Australia to escape criminal charges has collapsed as she was led to the cells after being jailed for more than two years.
Anna Wheeler, 52, was found guilty in December of attempting to pervert the course of justice by bankrolling the plane tickets used by her son Dylan Wheeler to flee WA for Czechoslovakia, hours after promising a court he would surrender his passport.
She also supplied funds to her son while he was on the run overseas, sending thousands of dollars via wire transfer, then claiming it was money intended for her sister to buy a car and a washing machine.
Yesterday, District Court judge Felicity Davis jailed Wheeler for two years and four months, saying her actions were not that of a loving mother, but instead someone striking at the heart of the justice system.
Having sobbed, wept and hyperventilated through the two-hour sentencing hearing, Wheeler then slumped to the floor at the feet of security guards as they led her into custody. She was eventually led away, and the placed on a high-priority watch.
Last year’s trial heard evidence of several electronic transfers, and was shown security vision of the mother and son’s 12-second exchange at Perth Airport on the night he left, which followed several phone calls.
Mr Wheeler had been accused of using his prodigious computing skills to help steal more than US$100 million of intellectual property while sitting in his Perth bedroom. That property included specifications for the then unreleased Xbox One games system and software used to train US soldiers to fly Apache helicopters.
He was also charged with possession of child pornography, an offensive weapon and drugs. He remains overseas.