Upon his arrest, a black book of names was found in his Mercedes, rumoured to include senior politicians, film stars, lawyers, Olympians, and high-profile media identities.
Throughout the trial, Ita told the Sydney District Court she was “absolutely shocked” to learn about her nephew’s involvement in drug dealing, deeming him the “last person in the world” she thought would be caught up in such a scandal.
Richard served nine years of a 12-year sentence, where Ita is said to have visited him regularly, and he spent his time studying and helping his fellow inmates.
“I decided early on that I was going to make the time work for me,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “I knew I was going to be there for a long time and didn’t want to come out the other side without having achieved something. I saw plenty of other guys doing long sentences who didn’t do a thing and I always thought ‘what a waste of time’.”
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Richard went on to explain that there were men in the prison that, due to their rough upbringing, were illiterate, and he wanted to offer his assistance.
“It all started there, I suppose. I started by helping guys read and understand legal correspondence. That led to writing letters in response and in the end I was writing submissions for people’s criminal trials. Some of these guys had done some pretty horrific stuff, but you come desensitised to all of that.”
When Richard was released in 2017, it was with a Bachelor in Business from RMIT and an MBA in Finance from Charles Sturt University. He now runs a legal advisory business which advocates for those who can’t afford lawyers, and is also studying to be a lawyer himself.
Aside from his professional life, the SAS recruit is also loved up with his wife Tiffany Farrington, a Sydney publicist whom he met two months after leaving prison.
In October 2021, the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that Richard and Tiffany quietly got hitched at Parsley Bay reserve before heading to the Buttrose family home in Vaucluse to sign the official papers.
Tiffany confirmed the news to Emerald City around the same time, saying “We’re very happy and very much in love”.
Due to COVID restrictions, only five close friends and family attended the ceremony. While Ita didn’t make an appearance, the aunt and nephew hold a strong bond to this day.
In 2021, Ita told Confidential how “proud” she is of Richard, emphasising how he has “turned his life around”.
“Richard has a terrific mind and I think he will make a great lawyer,” she said. “He has a very sharp mind. A very sharp, legal mind.”
As for the rest of his family, Richard’s relationship with his sisters, Lizzie and Katherine “Evie”, is murky, with the former telling Emerald City she didn’t “care” about her brother’s nuptials.
The siblings had an alleged falling out after Richard reportedly placed a caveat on the Buttrose family estate after their mother, Elizabeth, experienced a stroke.