Sophie Collombet murder: Benjamin Milward charged with rape and murder


UPDATED tonight 7.30pm 08/04/14

Benjamin James Milward arrives at the police Watch House in Brisbane, Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Benjamin James Milward arrives at the police Watch House in Brisbane, Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A 25-year-old man has been charged with the rape and murder of French student Sophie Collombet in Brisbane.

The naked and battered body of the 21-year-old business student was found in a rotunda at Kurilpa Park, near Brisbane’s William Jolly Bridge and CBD, on March 28.

Benjamin James Milward arrived in Brisbane tonight after an extradition order was approved in the Coffs Harbour Local Court on the NSW mid-north coast.

Shortly after arriving at the watch house, he was formally charged with murder, deprivation of liberty, rape and robbery.

  Milward was arrested in the NSW town yesterday afternoon and spent the morning being questioned by Queensland detectives.

He was named as a person of interest last week after police released security camera vision showing him in the area where Ms Collombet’s body was found around the time she was killed.

Milward will appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court tomorrow.

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart says he has been updating the Collombet family on the progress of the case.

Commissioner Stewart says he spoke to Ms Collombet’s father.

“I spent some time on the phone with him. He was very dignified and very grateful for the information, and obviously we’re keeping him up to date,” he said.

“We have a family liaison officer in the investigation team, and their job is to keep the family and friends aware of any progress in the investigation.”

Milward’s mother visits place where student’s body was found

The park where Ms Collombet’s body was found has become the focus of mourning in Brisbane.

Milward’s mother, Diane, today visited the park, and says she is standing by her son.

“Every day, however long it takes, whatever the outcome we’re going to be there,” she said.

Diane Milward (left), mother of Benjamin James Milward, visits a memorial to murdered Sophie Collombet in south Brisbane on April 8, 2014.

Diane Milward (left), mother of Benjamin James Milward, visits a memorial to murdered Sophie Collombet in south Brisbane on April 8, 2014.

 

“You just don’t think this could ever happen. It’s just, I’m still in denial I think; hoping for some glimmer of hope that it’s just a big mistake.”

Ms Milward also expressed sadness for the Collombet family.

“We’re all so sorry and sad and it shouldn’t happen to anybody. A beautiful girl like Sophie, she’s just gorgeous – it’s just wrong,” she said.

A makeshift vigil has sprung up at the park, with dozens of flowers and notes left in her memory.

“I did not know you Sophie,” reads one note. “But I had to be here just to show you how much I care.”

“Angel, I never knew you but I will never forget”, another note reads, while a bouquet of flowers was left with the message: “RIP beautiful girl. #SafestreetsforSophie.”

One note left at the rotunda, signed “from a Brisbane mother”, urges authorities to increase the amount of police on the streets.

On Thursday night a vigil is due to be held where Ms Collombet’s body was found.


Benjamin Milward arrested in Coffs Harbour

Benjamin Milward arrested in Coffs Harbour

A man wanted for questioning over the Brisbane murder of French student Sophie Collombet has been arrested in the New South Wales town of Coffs Harbour.

Police last week named Benjamin Milward as a person of interest in the 21-year-old’s murder.

Ms Collombet’s naked body was found in a rotunda at the Kurilpa Park, near the William Jolly Bridge and CBD, on March 28.

Mr Milward, 25, was spotted on security vision near Kurilpa Park about the time of the killing.

He was later caught on CCTV footage at the Bowen Hills train station a short time after the business student’s murder.

Police said he looked “a little bit disoriented, like he wasn’t real sure of the exits and his movements”.

Meanwhile, the park where Ms Collombet’s body was found has become the focus of mourning in Brisbane with floral tributes and messages laid at the scene.

French business student Sophie Collombet.

Ms Collombet’s naked body was found in a rotunda at the Kurilpa Park, near the William Jolly Bridge and CBD, on March 28.

Today, the place where her body was found is a makeshift vigil with dozens of flowers and notes left in her memory.

“I did not know you Sophie,” reads one note. “But I had to be here just to show you how much I care.”

“Angel, I never knew you but I will never forget”, another note reads, while a bouquet of flowers was left with the message: “RIP beautiful girl. #SafestreetsforSophie”.

One note left at the rotunda, signed “from a Brisbane mother”, urges authorities to increase the amount of police on the streets.

Sophie Collombet murder: Police issue nationwide alert in search for ‘person of interest’

Benjamin Milward

Brisbane police investigating the murder of Sophie Collombet have issued an Australia-wide alert as they search for person of interest Benjamin Milward.

The naked body of the French student was found in a rotunda at Kurilpa Park, near the William Jolly Bridge and CBD, on March 28.

The 21-year-old, who was studying business at Griffith University, was found with extensive head injuries believed to have been inflicted by a weapon.

Police have named Mr Milward as a person of interest after he was spotted on security vision near the riverside park about the time of Ms Collombet’s murder.

Other CCTV footage showed him getting off a train in the inner-city suburb of Bowen Hills later that evening.

“The last sighting of this person for our point of view or that we can establish is… about 11:35pm last Thursday,” Detective Inspector Rod Kemp said.

Benjamin Milward

Benjamin Milward has been captured on CCTV at Bowen Hills train station.

“It’s been a week since we’ve had any formal identification or contact with this person.”

The Ipswich family of Mr Milward say they have not heard from him and have joined police in urging the 25-year-old to make contact with authorities.

“We’re on the same page as police … we’re waiting for Ben to turn up,” relative Tere Douglas said.

The net has been cast further afield with police conceding that Mr Milward could be anywhere.

“Whether he’s taken flight or not, we don’t know,” Inspector Kemp said.

Police spent yesterday doorknocking businesses in Bowen Hills, hoping to gather more security vision which may capture Mr Milward’s movements after he left the train station.

“By his actions here, he does look a little bit disoriented, like he wasn’t real sure of the exits and his movements,” Inspector Kemp said.

Mr Milward is described as 180 centimetres tall with blond hair and a dragon tattoo on the left side of his chest.

 

Police say he should not be approached but are asking anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers.

Ms Collombet was the fourth international student killed in Brisbane since November.

Last month, 27-year-old Singaporean student Meenatchi Narayanan was found stabbed to death in a hotel room at the Travelodge at Upper Mount Gravatt.

Two South Korean students were killed in separate incidents late last year.

In November, the body of 22-year-old South Korean student Eunji Ban was discovered in parklands in Brisbane’s CBD.

Less than a month later, police found the body of Min Tae Kim, also from South Korea, in a shallow grave on a property at Algester in Brisbane’s south-west.

Sophie Collombet murder: Griffith University community ‘incredibly saddened’ by French student’s death

Updated Thu 3 Apr 2014, 7:36am AEDT

Griffith University says students and staff are deeply saddened by the murder of French business student Sophie Collombet in Brisbane.

The naked body of the 21-year-old was found by a passer-by in a rotunda at Kurilpa Park near the William Jolly Bridge last Friday morning.

Her body was formally identified yesterday, and police said she suffered extensive head injuries in what they described as a “brutal” attack.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart says officers are following a number of leads, but still need more information.

“This is a tragic occurrence – a young lady is dead, and our job is to solve it to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.

“We can’t do that without the help of the public so we’re still asking if you were in that area, or if you knew that young lady, please – any small piece of information might be a key to the investigation.”

Mr Stewart says Brisbane is generally a safe place, but students must always be on alert and stay away from dark parks and unlit areas.

Police Minister Jack Dempsey says officers are making the case a priority.

“We are urgently making sure this matter is resolved – that all the police resources are going into that investigation,” he said.

“But I’d also like to stress Brisbane is a safe city, and Queensland is a safe state.”

Campus community ‘shocked’

Griffith University pro-vice chancellor Sarah Todd says the campus community is shocked at the loss of one of its own.

“Obviously we’re incredibly saddened – we only found out yesterday that it was one of our students,” she said.

“The loss of Sophie has affected staff, it’s affected students, it’s affected people who knew her closely, but also other students who identify just very strongly about a young woman, their age, doing the same thing as them.”

The loss of Sophie has affected staff, it’s affected students, it’s affected people who knew her closely, but also other students who identify just very strongly about a young woman, their age, doing the same thing as them.

Griffith University pro-vice chancellor Sarah Todd

Professor Todd says she addressed students this morning and the university will be offering counselling support.

“Any death is a tragedy – a student and a young person who’s got so much to give – it’s an incredible tragedy,” she said.

She says Ms Collombet was a Masters student, so her class was a “close-knit group” of about 30 students.

“We will be sending counselling staff and international student advisers to Sophie’s class that’s due to take place tomorrow evening,” she said.

Ms Collombet is the fourth foreign student killed in Brisbane since late last year.

Sophie Collombet is the fourth international student found killed in Brisbane since November. Read more about Min Tae Kim, Meenatchi Narayanan and Eunji Ban.

But Professor Todd says international students should still feel safe in Brisbane.

“Obviously this is of huge concern to all of us,” she said.

“The only positive thing is none of the deaths are related in any way at all, so they’re not students of particular race – there’s nothing to say that any of the deaths occurred because they were students.

“There’s no more reason for them to be concerned now than there would’ve been.

“All young people should always be careful of where they’re walking and what they’re doing and I think that’s a message we need to get out.

“They seem to be very much random deaths and we don’t have all of the details of Sophie’s death yet, but there’s nothing at this stage to suggest she was targeted … for not being Australian.”

Last month, Singaporean student Meenatchi Narayanan, 27, was found stabbed to death in a hotel room at the Travelodge at Upper Mount Gravatt on Brisbane’s south side.

Police have charged a 31-year-old man with her murder.

In November, the body of 22-year-old South Korean student Eunji Ban was discovered in parklands in Brisbane’s CBD.

Ms Ban had been in Australia on a youth exchange for just six weeks before her death.

She was walking to work as a hotel cleaner in the Brisbane CBD when she was attacked early on a Sunday morning.

19-year-old man was charged over her murder.

Less than a month later, police found the body of another South Korean student in a shallow grave on a property at Algester, in Brisbane’s south-west.

Min Tae Kim, 28, was in Australia on a working holiday, and was last seen in December last year at his home at Cannon Hill in Brisbane’s south-east.

His flatmate told police Mr Kim had arranged to exchange $15,000 for Korean currency with someone he met online on the afternoon he disappeared.

Brisbane city is safe, says Newman

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says he is “troubled” by the killing but insists the city is safe.

“I believe it’s safe not only for students but safe for Brisbane residents,” he said.

“I’m obviously very sad and troubled by this latest case and I hope the police can catch someone as soon as possible.”

I’m obviously very sad and troubled by this latest case and I hope the police can catch someone as soon as possible.

Premier Campbell Newman

 

Queensland Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey says she does not expect the murder will affect international visitor numbers to the state, despite the murders of the four foreign students.

Ms Stuckey says her heart goes out to the woman’s family.

“But I have to say that Brisbane and Queensland and my beloved Gold Coast are still some of the safest places to work and holiday,” she said.

“That is further enhanced by our strong focus on tough law and order measures that have been brought in by the Government.”

Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) spokesman Daniel Gschwind also says the murder is unlikely to deter overseas visitors from visiting Brisbane.

Mr Gschwind says Queensland is still considered a safe destination.

“I think there’s a difference between random acts of mindless violence like apparently this has been, and the other cases we’ve had,” he said.

“When we’re talking about random acts of violence, it’s not necessary to go out with messaging – we have to give our customers around the world a bit more credit.

“We all witness and hear of these incidences around the world and we put it in context and we understand whether there’s something systemic going on or not. There’s really nothing systemic going on here.

“But there is a human tragedy and we have to show compassion and react as a concerned community should.”

 

 

 

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Daniel Morcombe murder trial jury -guilty all charges


GUILTY ALL CHARGES-WHAT A RELIEF AND WHAT A BASTARD-CAN NOW BE REVEALED HE IS WAS A SERIAL SEX OFFENDER

Brett Peter Cowan found GUILTY murdering schoolboy Daniel Morcombe in 2003

Brett Peter Cowan found GUILTY murdering schoolboy Daniel Morcombe in 2003

At a 2011 coronial inquest into Daniel’s disappearance, Cowan admitted he had been abusing children since he was a child of nine or 10 years old himself.

By the time he was 18, he had preyed on up to 30 children.

Many of them were targeted at a local swimming pool in fleeting encounters in order to avoid detection.

His first conviction for child sexual offences was for an attack on a seven-year-old boy in Queensland in 1987.

While performing community service at a playground, he took the boy into the public toilets and molested him.

After two years on the run, he was arrested and sentenced in 1989 to two years in jail for indecent dealing.

Four years later, while living at a caravan park in Darwin, Cowan attacked again.

A six-year-old boy was looking for his sister, but when he approached Cowan, Cowan took him into bushland and molested him so violently the victim suffered a punctured lung from choking.

Cowan left the boy to die in an old car, before the child staggered into a service station naked, dazed and bleeding.

Cowan initially denied any involvement, at one stage telling detectives: “I hope you catch the bastard.”

He confessed only after police told him they had found DNA evidence.

In late September 1993, Cowan pleaded guilty to gross indecency, grievous bodily harm and deprivation of liberty, and was sentenced to seven years in jail.

When he was released on parole in 1998, Cowan moved to the Sunshine Coast to live with relatives and became involved in the Christian Outreach Church, through which he met his former wife.

The pair married in 1999, and by December 2003 they were living in Beerwah with their baby son, but Cowan had cut ties with the church and the marriage was strained.

On December 7, 2003, Cowan spotted his next victim on the side of the Nambour Connection Road waiting for a bus.

He was a fresh faced boy called Daniel and he was wearing a red shirt.

Cowan once looked into the eyes of Daniel’s parents, Bruce and Denise, and said: “I had nothing to do with Daniel’s disappearance, nothing at all.”

He told the brazen lie while giving evidence at a coronial inquest into the teenager’s disappearance in March 2011.

The guilty verdicts bring to an end the biggest police investigation in Queensland’s history and Australia’s biggest missing person’s case.

The jury in the murder trial of the man accused of killing Queensland teenager Daniel Morcombe has retired to consider its verdicts.

Daniel Morcombe Discussion Page here

Daniel Morcombe in the T shirt he was wearing when went missing.

Daniel Morcombe in the T shirt he was wearing when went missing.

Daniel was abducted and murdered on the Sunshine Coast in 2003 and his remains were found in nearby bushland in 2011. previous posts and daily coverage of trial here

Brett Peter Cowan, also known as Shaddo N-Unyah Hunter, has pleaded not guilty to murder, indecent treatment of a child, and interfering with a corpse.

Brett Peter Cowan is accused of murdering schoolboy Daniel Morcombe in 2003.

Brett Peter Cowan is accused of murdering schoolboy Daniel Morcombe in 2003.

Update 13/03/14

JURORS deciding the fate of Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe’s accused killer are deliberating for a second day.

The six men and six women on the Supreme Court jury retired at lunchtime on Wednesday to consider their verdict in the trial of Brett Peter Cowan.

They left the Brisbane courtroom after Justice Roslyn Atkinson told them they may consider a manslaughter verdict.

They deliberated for three and a quarter hours on Wednesday before the court was adjourned for the day.

Justice Roslyn Atkinson began proceedings this morning delving into the undercover police operation.

She told jurors they cannot use against Cowan his right to remain silent when he was arrested.

Justice Atkinson told the jury it had been a long trial with a lot of evidence.

She said jurors could check any facts of the case while considering their verdicts.

Justice Atkinson has provided jurors with a question trail to help them reach verdicts.

Earlier this week, prosecution and defence lawyers gave their final submissions.

In the past four weeks, more than 100 witnesses have given evidence at the trial.

The court heard police found the schoolboy’s remains at an old macadamia farm at Beerwah in 2011.

Seventeen bone fragments were found after one of the largest searches undertaken by police and State Emergency Service volunteers.

Defence lawyer Angus Edwards said there was no proof Cowan killed Daniel and the alleged confessions recorded by undercover police were made up.

Mr Edwards said it was more likely convicted child rapist Douglas Jackway killed the schoolboy.

“For a fellow like him to be driving down that stretch of road past Daniel Morcombe would have been like a snake going past a wounded mouse,” Mr Edwards said.

“He stalked, abducted and killed Daniel Morcombe, and if you accept that, all the other evidence in this trial will fall into place.”

He said Jackway’s sexual assault of a boy in 1995 had striking similarities to Daniel’s case.

He owned a blue car, and a blue car was seen by witnesses circling and stalking the teenager as he waited for a bus, Mr Edwards said.

The car “wasn’t always in the same position. It was stalking Daniel Morcombe”, he said.

The inevitable conclusion, Mr Edwards said, was that Jackway was involved in Daniel’s abduction.

He said although there was no direct evidence of the convicted paedophile’s involvement, the jury should draw inferences.

But prosecutors said that scenario was a red herring and Cowan’s confessions were truthful because of their detailed nature and gravity.

Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne said Cowan alone led police to Daniel’s remains and his confessions were not forced.

Mr Byrne said despite Jackway’s horrendous crimes, he was a “cheap target” and there was no evidence he was on the Sunshine Coast that day.

Justice Atkinson told the jury yesterday to put out of their minds anything they have seen, heard or read about the trial outside of the courtroom.

“The evidence is what you’ve heard in this court and not recollections of what you might have read in the newspaper or seen on television or heard on the radio at some time during the past or even during the trial,” she said.

“You should dismiss all feelings of sympathy or prejudice against the defendant or anyone else.

“Nor should you allow public opinion to sway you, you must approach your duty dispassionately.”

A Look back at the key developments in the murder case of Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe.

December 7, 2003:

Daniel Morcombe, 13, vanishes while waiting for a bus under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass on Nambour Connection Road at Woombye on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. He was on his way to go Christmas shopping when he disappeared.

December 7, 2004:

About 1,000 people attend a memorial service to mark the first anniversary of Daniel Morcombe’s disappearance. A special plaque is also unveiled at the site.

October 4, 2004:

A $250,000 reward is posted by the Queensland Government for information leading to an arrest or conviction.

February, 2005:

Parents Bruce and Denise Morcombe launch the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to continue their message on child safety.

December 1, 2008:

A record $1 million private reward is offered for new information about the disappearance.

April, 2010:

The State Coroner receives an extensive investigation report, containing thousands of pages, from police regarding the suspected death.

October 13, 2010:

A coronial inquest led by State Coroner Michael Barnes begins. The inquest is held in Maroochydore and Brisbane. It adjourns on April 6, 2011.

August 13, 2011:

Brett Peter Cowan, 41, is arrested and charged. Police and State Emergency Service volunteers search bushland in the Sunshine Coast hinterland as part of the investigation. Over the next two months, a pair of shoes and human bones are discovered. DNA results confirm they belong to Daniel Morcombe.

November 26, 2012:

Cowan’s committal hearing begins in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

December 7, 2012:

A funeral is held for Daniel Morcombe at St Catherine of Siena Church at Sippy Downs on the Sunshine Coast, nine years to the day since he disappeared. He was laid to rest at Woombye Cemetery.

February 7, 2013:

Cowan ordered to stand trial in the Supreme Court of Queensland. He is charged with murder, indecent treatment of a child and interfering with a corpse.

February 10, 2014:

Cowan’s trial begins. It is expected to take six weeks. A pool of about 100 potential witnesses may be called to give evidence.

Brett Cowan, portrait of a monster

March 13, 2014 – 2:31PM

The little boy was looking for his sister. He was six and dressed only in a pair of underpants as he wandered alone through the BP Palms Caravan Park on the Stuart Highway on the outskirts of Darwin.

The little boy lived in the caravan park with his family. Brett Peter Cowan lived in a neighbouring van.

Around dusk on a Thursday night in September 1993, Brett Cowan, then aged 24, approached the boy and asked him if he wanted to go for a walk to see an old car wreck abandoned in the bush not so far away.

The pair left the trailer park, climbed through a hole in a wire fence and walked along a scrubby bush track. When the little boy asked Cowan how far it was to the wreck, the young man swung him up on to his shoulders for the final 200 metres.

Cowan then lay the boy on the upturned rust bucket, pulled the boy’s underpants down and dropped his own shorts.

About an hour later, the boy, naked and filthy now, stumbled through the dark back into the BP Palms service area. Northern Territory Supreme Court documents reveal he was dazed and distressed.

In intensive care at Royal Darwin Hospital the extent of his injuries became apparent. A collapsed and punctured left lung, haemorrhaged eyes, a bloodied nose, abrasions across his face, a deep cut in his scrotum area.

A doctor said the boy’s “combination of injuries was consistent with his having sustained a complex series of injuries involving an asphyxial element, blunt force injury, sharp force injury and anal penetration”. The boy’s wounds were heavily contaminated with carbon-containing material, “consistent with contact with a heavily ashed bushfire area”.

After initially denying any involvement, Brett Peter Cowan made a full confession. He told police that he needed help.

But just how much help did he get? It’s a question that many will be asking about the 44-year-old, who on Thursday was found guilty in Brisbane’s Supreme Court of murdering 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe on the Sunshine Coast on December 7, 2003.

In Queensland’s highest-profile criminal case ever, Cowan, the father of three young boys, now awaits Justice Roslyn Atkinson’s sentencing decision.

It might be little consolation to Daniel’s heartbroken and weary parents, Bruce and Denise Morcombe, that Cowan denies molesting their son. “I never got to molest him or anything like that; he panicked and I panicked and grabbed him around the throat and just before I knew it, he was dead,” Cowan confessed to an undercover police officer in Perth in August 2011.

“I was starting to pull his pants down … and he said, ‘oh no’, and he started to struggle..” Cowan told the officer. In a later conversation, he said, “… if I didn’t panic I could’ve been there for an hour doing stuff.”

Whatever jail term Justice Atkinson settles on, it will be Cowan’s third for crimes against boys. He was sentenced to two years’ jail in 1989 after indecently dealing with a seven-year-old boy. Cowan was 18 when he took the boy into a public toilet in Brisbane and molested him.

In June 1994, he was sentenced to seven years’ jail for his crimes against the little boy in Darwin. But by 1998, only four years later, Cowan was out of jail and living in the Sunshine Coast community of Bli Bli with his aunt and uncle who were pastors at the Suncoast Christian Church (formerly the Christian Outreach Centre).

It was to be a new start for the convicted paedophile and small-time drug dealer, a 190cm-tall man with a goatee, two silver earrings, a tattoo of a clown on his shoulder and two upper-arm tattoos –  one of a skull holding a smoking gun with skeletal fingers, the other of a skull in a top hat.

At one point Cowan was going to church three times a weekend. He met a girl through church and, in September 1999, after a church wedding ceremony, they celebrated at a reception at the Big Pineapple, a remnant of gaudy 1970s tourism on the Nambour Connection Road.

The couple started their life together in Beerwah, an old sugarcane town spliced by Steve Irwin Way and with a view of the jagged Glasshouse Mountains. Cowan smoked pot and did a bit of this, a bit of that — odd jobs, tow-truck driving, industrial spray-painting — until someone hooked him up with local businessman Trevor Davis. “I thought quite a lot of Brett,” says Mr Davis, who owns a sandblasting business.

By all accounts, Cowan had a disciplined upbringing. “He was an army brat,” says Mr Davis of his former employee, who was born in Bunbury, Western Australia, in September 1969. He and his three brothers spent much of their childhood in Brisbane’s Everton Park. Cowan’s father, Peter, retired from the Army having achieved the rank of major.

Mr Davis says Brett Cowan was intelligent and hard-working, “an open and friendly chap” who got on with customers and “never forgot anything I taught him”.

Mr Davis was so impressed by his employee that he bought a second sandblasting business with the intention that Cowan could run it independently. “I figured that I could front him into it,” says Mr Davis.

Tracey Lee Moncrieff gave birth to the couple’s first child, a little boy, in mid 2003, about six months before Bruce and Denise Morcombe’s little boy vanished from a bus stop under an overpass at Woombye on the Nambour Connection Road.

Police quickly identified Cowan as a person of interest in their investigation. Cowan was interviewed and, just before Christmas, his white Pajero was carted off to Nambour police station where it was scoured it for evidence. Nothing was found.

Cowan denied having anything to do with the case. He would later officially change his name in a vain attempt to avoid further scrutiny. His new name was “Shaddo N-unyah Hunter” — “Shaddo” because it was his dog’s name and his dog followed him around like a shadow. When undercover police asked what “N-unyah” was all about, he replied “Nunyah business”.

In 2004, Moncrieff gave birth to his second son but the marriage was soon over. At some point Cowan’s spiritual observance had come to an end too.  “Something was preached over the pulpit that I didn’t agree with and (I) went and spoke with the pastor about it and he wouldn’t change his mind so…” he would later tell police.

“He just didn’t appear at a job site one day and that was the last I saw of him,” says Trevor Davis. “He just did a bunk.”

The Darwin judge who sentenced Cowan after his sex attack on the six-year-old boy described Cowan as a “pathological liar and a person who is prepared to steal even from his own parents”. He had lived a “parasitic existence, relying on social security and his parents”, the judge said, listing offences including stealing, break and enter and unlawful use of motor vehicles.

After he left Moncrieff, Cowan seems to have resumed that behaviour, drifting through a drug-hazed underclass, from what he described as “Nam-boring”, to Moranbah in north Queensland and then, by the time of the Nerang interview in 2005, to Uki in the Tweed Valley.

In 2008 he was living with 18-year-old Leticha Anne Harvey in Durack, Ipswich. By December 2009 she’d given birth to their son and they were living in a caravan park on Bribie Island in Moreton Bay off Brisbane. Cowan would later tell undercover police that he’d lost access to his two oldest children and that his brother and his wife had custody of his youngest son.

By March 2011 when Cowan was called to give evidence at the inquest into Daniel Morcombe’s disappearance, he was living in yet another caravan park — this time in Perth with another woman, also called “Tracey”, a woman he described as “a friend with benefits”, and his pet “birdie”, a “twenty-eight” or Australian ring-neck parrot.

At the inquest in the Brisbane Coroners Court, Cowan was Dubbed “P7”, “Person of Interest 7”. He had been bullied at school, Cowan told the court, and came to struggle with his bisexuality.

He admitted to smoking “cones” of marijuana in his hotel room each morning he was required to give evidence.

He admitted something else as he tried to convince the inquest he wasn’t involved in Daniel’s disappearance. “I wasn’t interested in teenage boys. I was interested in six, seven and eight-year-old boys.”

On April 1, excused from the inquest, Cowan caught a flight back to Perth. On the plane, he sat next to a bloke who introduced himself as Joe Emery. They got chatting and swapped numbers. “Joe Emery” was the false name of an undercover police officer. One of the most extraordinary undercover police investigations in Australia’s history had begun.

Liam Humbles who shot dead Lewis McPherson jailed for at least 24 years


This is the gutless little punk who has finally been sentenced for the cold-blooded murder of Lewis McPherson. AS in most South Australian crimes, the system protects the perp not the victim. Watch his arrest video, but DO NOT feel any sympathy for this drug and booze infested gutter rat. He has shown NO remorse or in fact anything towards his victim since it happened. he bragged he was going to kill the other 2 mates Lewis was with, James and Liam walking along a street to a party the night of the murder. I commend those buddies for fronting up to the trial and eyeing this little mongrel in the eye.

Video of his arrest

THE drunk, drugged and gun-wielding teen who took the life of Lewis McPherson on New Year’s Eve 2012 will spend at least 24 years behind bars and can today be named for the first time.

The SA Supreme Court has released police footage of the youth who shot dead Lewis McPherson on New Years Eve in 2012.

The SA Supreme Court has released police footage of the youth who shot dead Lewis McPherson on New Years Eve in 2012.

A Supreme Court gallery packed with Mr McPherson’s friends and family today gasped with relief and embraced as Liam Patrick Humbles was sentenced for his crime.

Humbles’ mother, meanwhile, erupted into howls of grief and had to be comforted by her husband as her son was led into the cell to begin his penalty.

In sentencing, Justice Michael David said there was nothing that could validly explain Humbles’ decision to carry a loaded .22 calibre handgun on his person the night he killed Mr McPherson and shot at his two friends.

“It was put to me … that your reason for possessing a firearm was that you had it for protection against bullying — such a reason does not bear close scrutiny,” Justice David said.

“The concept that a young person might think they have to carry a weapon with them for self-protection is appalling, frightening, and has no place in our society.”

He said a psychological report showed Humbles had demonstrated little remorse and only slight insight into the impact of his offending on his family, Mr McPherson’s family and the community.

He jailed Humbles for life with a non-parole period of 24 years and two months, including the 14 months he has already spent in custody.

Justice David said Humbles had shown no contrition for the senseless murder and was still struggling to fully accept responsibility or recognise the catastrophic consequences of the shooting.

Humbles was grossly affected by alcohol and drugs and told his lawyers he had no memory of the shooting.

Justice David said that after shooting at Mr McPherson and his friends, Humbles also fired a shot at a passing car.

“This was an appalling, wanton crime. Disastrous as it was, it could have been even worse and three, perhaps four people could have been killed that evening,” he said.

“I found in my reasons for judgement that you intended to kill them all.”

Justice David ordered that Humbles, now aged 19, be transferred at his own request to an adult prison as soon as possible to complete his hefty sentence.

He further ordered the long-standing, statutory suppression order on Humbles’ identity be lifted, allowing MEDIA to name the killer and show the police video of his arrest.

Humbles will be eligible for parole in March, 2037, when he will be 42 years old.

He was found guilty of murdering Mr McPherson and attempting to murder his best friends, James Lamont and Liam Trewartha .

He shot at the trio with a .22 calibre pistol on New Year’s Eve, 2012, in the suburb of Warradale as they were walking to a party.

Humbles — a drug-using, binge-drinking, cannabis-selling couch-surfer — had himself attended a different party that night, and was upset about an argument that had occurred there .

In harrowing testimony during the trial, Mr Lamont and Mr Trewatha recalled trying to keep their “best friend until the end” alive after the shooting .

They had to flee when the teen returned and stood over Mr McPherson, saying “if you don’t stop being dead, I’ll make you really dead”.

Mr Lamont later gave a passionate victim impact statement, telling the killer Mr McPherson had “never judged” him and believed he would “some day be good to this earth” .

Last week, The Advertiser exclusively revealed the man who allegedly provided Humbles with the murder weapon is facing firearms and drugs charges .

Outside court, Mr McPherson’s father Mark repeated his calls for mandatory jail terms for firearms offences.

“There is no place for guns in our society, and those who have them aren’t going to do any good with them,” he said.

“There should be mandatory sentencing — if you have a gun, you’re going to jail.”

He said he felt justice “had been done” even though no sentence “is ever enough” to compensate for the loss of a son.

“It’s certainly more than we expected,” he said.

“I feel for her (the killer’s mother) but not for him … I will never forgive him.

“His lack of contrition is disturbing and hurtful … I just don’t know what goes on in his head.”

Mark McPherson said he was concerned that Humbles would emerge from the adult prison system as a more dangerous person.

“But what else do you do with him?” he asked.

“I hope that he does get the sort of programs and education he needs to come out as a productive member of society.”

He acknowledged Mr McPherson would likely wish the killer the best for his rehabilitation, but said he could not share that feeling.

“Lewis only hoped for good for everybody, that’s just the sort of person he was,” he said.

“He would probably be the first to say ‘I hope it works out for him (the killer)’.”

Mr McPherson’s mother, Kim, declined to comment outside court.

Murderer Liam Humbles in a photo from his Facebook page.

Murderer Liam Humbles in a photo from his Facebook page.

SA murder victim Lewis McPherson, centre, with best friends James Lamong (left) and Liam Trewartha (right).

SA murder victim Lewis McPherson, centre, with best friends James Lamong (left) and Liam Trewartha (right).

The .22 calibre handgun used to murder Lewis McPherson

The .22 calibre handgun used to murder Lewis McPherson

The SA Supreme Court has released police footage of the youth who shot dead Lewis McPherson on New Years Eve in 2012.

The SA Supreme Court has released police footage of the youth who shot dead Lewis McPherson on New Years Eve in 2012.

Brett Cowan-VIDEO and TRANSCRIPT OF THE CONFESSION VIDEO


All previous  posts, including round up of  every day of trial press here

TRANSCRIPT and VIDEO OF THE CONFESSION VIDEO

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BODY-in-the-boot killer Tania Herman released on Valentines day


Remember this shocking case, Joe Korp and his lover plotted to kill Joe’s wife Maria? Tania hid in waiting in the family garage and pounced on Maria strangled her, thinking she was dead .

Then popped her in the boot and dumped the car. It was found days later, poor Maria still barely alive. They turned life support OFF after about 6 months.She served 9 measly years, in  min security the later part. Although early on was quite the enforcer, I hear once putting big fat Judy Moran back in her place.

The coward Joe Korp, hanged himself in the family garage the day of her funeral. The gutless man wanted us to think it was from a heavy heart. Bullshit.

Herman takes a walk on the outside

HAND-in-hand with her girlfriend, body-in-the-boot attacker Tania Herman enjoyed her first full day of freedom.

Looking fit — and sporting a makeover — the woman who choked Maria Korp went largely unrecognised as she strolled the streets of Yarraville, in Melbourne’s inner west on Saturday.

Herman was released from Tarrengower Women’s Prison early on Valentine’s Day, just months after her lover Nicole Muscat walked free from the same jail.

The pair met as inmates in the low-security jail, in Maldon, in Victoria’s Goldfields region.

And although they failed in their bid to marry behind bars last May — Corrections Victoria refused their application for a civil ceremony — they have maintained their relationship.

Herman served nine years of a 12-year sentence for the attempted murder of Mrs Korp, a Melbourne mother of two, in 2005.

LOVE BLIND FOR BODY-IN-BOOT STRANGLER

Mrs Korp was found in a car boot near the Shrine of Remembrance, four days after being strangled by her husband Joe Korp’s mistress, Herman.

Mrs Korp never recovered, dying in The Alfred hospital almost six months later after being taken off life support.

And Mr Korp — also charged with the attempted murder of his wife — killed himself on the day of her funeral, while awaiting his trial.

Herman’s new partner, convicted fraudster Muscat, was jailed for two years for stealing $118,000 from a ­pokies venue she managed.

The couple was driven to a house in Yarraville by another woman on Friday, after Herman’s 8.20am release.

A blonde when she first gained national notoriety a decade ago, Herman emerged from prison as a long-haired brunette.

Wearing sunglasses and a casual long-sleeve red and white T-shirt and jeans, she blended into inner-suburban life.

It is not known whether they plan to go ahead with their marriage.

Nicole Muscat stole almost $120,000 from Torquay Golf Club

 A WOMAN who systematically stole almost $120,000 from the Victorian golf club she worked for has been jailed for at least two years.

Nicole Muscat worked as the operations manager of the Torquay Golf Club in 2007 when she stole $118,000 from the gaming machine venue.

Muscat, 31, created false accounting records to conceal her crimes.

She stole most of the cash in $5000 increments from the gaming machines, the Victorian County Court heard today, although she once stole $15,000 in one hit.

Judge Geoffrey Chettle said Muscat continued to steal funds even when auditors were called in.

“Your offending was sophisticated, planned and repetitive,” Judge Chettle said.

“You abused your position, doctored the books and regularly stole Torquay Golf Club funds.”

Judge Chettle sentenced Muscat to three years and nine months’ jail and ordered she serve two years before being eligible for parole. Did she have to pay the money back? 2 years is stuff all?

Muscat, of Anglesea, was found guilty at trial of 23 counts of theft and 17 false-accounting charges

Tania Herman released from prison, picked up by lesbian lover Nicky Muscat on Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2014

BODY-in-the-boot killer Tania Herman has arrived at her lesbian lover’s home after being released from prison on Valentine’s Day.

Herman, wearing jeans and a red shirt, declined to talk to media outside the Yarraville property.

This morning she was released from jail and drove away in a silver Toyota 4WD with her lover Nicky Muscat.

Herman spent most of her time in the Dame Phyllis Frost maximum-security prison but was released from Tarrengower — a minimum-security jail.

Herman emerged from the women’s minimum-security prison near Bendigo at 8.20am today, nine years and four days after she was jailed for the attempted murder of Maria Korp.

Mrs Korp was found in the boot of her car in Melbourne barely alive four days after she was throttled in her Mickleham home in February, 2005.

She died in hospital five months later.

Mrs Korp’s husband, Joe Korp, was also charged with attempted murder for colluding with Herman, his mistress, to kill his wife.

Joe Korp with Tania Herman.

Joe Korp with Tania Herman.

Mr Korp killed himself on the day of his wife’s funeral.

Herman confessed to the crime, stating she had been motivated by her love for Mr Korp, who had requested she “get rid” of his wife so they could be together.

Wearing a cap and red shirt, Herman shielded her face from waiting media with her arm as she was driven out of the prison.

She sat in the front passenger seat of a 4WD, believed to be driven by her lesbian lover Nicky Muscat, also wearing a cap and sunglasses.

About 20 minutes earlier, the boom gates of Tarrengower Prison had gone up.

Two minutes later, the light grey 4WD sped into the prison driveway almost on two wheels, heeding none of the entrance warnings asking drivers to slow down.

Muscat, a convicted fraudster, was released from jail last year.

Herman was sentenced to 12 years jail in 2005 with a non-parole period of nine years.

Tania Herman, the woman found guilty of attempting to murder Maria Korp by strangling her and stuffing her into a car boot in 2005, has walked free from prison.

Herman, who became eligible for parole on Friday, received a minimum nine-year jail term for attempting to kill Ms Korp.

The 50-year-old mother of two died after Herman strangled her with a strap and left her in the boot of her car on February 9, 2005.

Ms Korp was discovered in the car boot four days later, near the Shrine of Remembrance.

She lay in a vegetative state for six months before dying from her brain injuries.

The case became known as the “mum-in-the-boot” case.

Maria’s husband, Joe Korp, was charged with attempted murder over his wife’s death, but committed suicide on the day of her funeral.

Herman and Mr Korp were lovers.

With Herman widely expected to make parole, media camped outside Tarrengower minimum-security jail in Maldon, south-west of Bendigo, from early on Friday morning.

Fairfax Media photographer Daryl Pinder said that at about 8.15am, Herman was collected by a woman, believed to be her girlfriend, and the pair left the jail in a four-wheel-drive.

Herman’s application for parole went before the Adult Parole Board on January 23.

“After considering the relevant material, it was decided to release her on parole on 14 February 2014,” a spokesman for the board said.

If Herman breaches her parole conditions, such as breaking any law or leaving Victoria without permission, she can be returned to prison.

Tarrengower is the only minimum-security female prison in Victoria, with capacity for 72 prisoners.

The story of Ms Korp’s death was told in a TV movie in 2010.

 Tania Herman shares cell with Herman Rockefeller’s killer Bernadette Denny

February 22, 2012

MUM in the boot murder accomplice Tania Herman has revealed she is sharing a cell with millionaire businessman Herman Rockefeller’s killer, Bernadette Denny.

And, in her first interview since her sentence over the death of Maria Korp, Herman has defended Denny as a good woman.

The notorious duo are serving their respective sentences at Victoria’s Dame Phyllis Frost Centre.

Ms Herman is serving at least nine years for the attempted murder of Mrs Korp, the wife of Herman’s lover Joe, in 2005.

She has spoken of her regret over her “brainwashing” by Mr Korp.

“I am still amazed myself and think how the hell could I ever have gotten in so deep?” Ms Herman says in an interview to be published in the Australian Women’s Weekly today.

“My biggest regret is taking a mother away from her children because I would hate that to happen to me.”

Herman said she knew what she was doing was wrong when she waited in the Korps’ garage for Mrs Korp.

She choked and dumped the mother of two, barely alive, in a car boot. Mrs Korp died almost six months later, after life support was removed.

“As soon as I saw the blood, something snapped. I panicked. I put her in the boot of her car and just drove,” Herman said.

“As I was driving, I couldn’t stop crying. I kept thinking, ‘This is wrong, this is wrong’.”

In the interview, which appears in full in the book Partners and Crime, Herman gives an insight into life behind bars, revealing she is studying for a degree in fine arts.

She also speaks of her interest in cooking, dressing up as Santa Claus at Christmas and her friendship with Denny.

Herman claimed she was seduced by Joe Korp after meeting him through a dating website. They attended swingers’ parties and Mr Korp, facing allegations he hatched the murder plot, hanged himself on the night of his wife’s funeral.

Herman said she had had sporadic contact with her daughters while in jail.

 

 Tania Herman, the mistress of Joe Korp, who killed his wife Maria and her girlfriend go for a walk in Yarraville.

Tania Herman, the mistress of Joe Korp, who killed his wife Maria and her girlfriend go for a walk in Yarraville.

 

Luke Batty, 11, dies in horrific attack by his father, Greg Anderson at Tyabb cricket oval


UPDATE 14/02/14

Victoria’s Chief Police Commissioner Ken Lay says police had been dealing with complaints against Anderson for at least a decade and there were five outstanding warrants for his arrest relating to domestic violence.

“We owe it to the community, we owe it to Luke, we owe it to Rosie to understand exactly what happened not only with police, but other services so the community can understand exactly what happened but I just hope that this may well be the next step to get so much better in the family violence space,”

 says police had been dealing with complaints against Anderson for at least a decade

says police had been dealing with complaints against Anderson for at least a decade

Killer dad Greg Anderson tormented family for years, faced arrest warrants and threatened to kill Luke’s mother

We can reveal that Greg Anderson should have been behind bars when he murdered his son.

Police failed to execute ­arrest warrants in the weeks leading up to Wednesday night’s horrific incident.

Anderson was a violent drifter who had tormented his ­estranged family for years.

The warrants were issued after he repeatedly failed to turn up at court on charges of assaulting Luke’s mum and threatening to kill her.

It is understood four separate warrants for his arrest were issued throughout January but police failed to apprehend him.

Victoria Police said that its investigations would look into “not only the events on the night, but also all relevant circumstances which preceded them”.

The force said it would not be commenting further.

On May 16, 2012, Anderson assaulted Rosie Batty by grabbing her by the hair, pushing her to the ground and kicking her before threatening her with a glass vase.

Ms Batty told police she feared her former partner suffered from some form of mental disorder.

Anderson was also arrested and charged after making threats to kill her on January 3 last year.

During the incident Anderson allegedly said to Ms Batty: “Right now I really want to kill you. I want to cut off your foot. I hope you have made a will.”

Anderson was arrested again by police on May 27 last year after attending his son’s football training.

Sources say Anderson, who was living in his unregistered car, had little to do with his son for years before re-entering his life and taking his mother through a long court battle.

Although known to Hastings and Frankston police, who felt sorry for Ms Batty, Anderson’s legal matters were ongoing so he didn’t have prior convictions at the time of his death.

Despite the incidents of domestic violence in the past two years, Anderson and Ms Batty had tried to work out ­access visits for Luke. In addition to the threats to kill and assault charges, Anderson was also facing a charge relating to accessing child porn.

He was arrested after viewing the porn at Emerald Hill Library on November 17, 2012.

Library staff noticed what he was looking at and raised the alarm. When Anderson was arrested he was found with a USB stick containing the child porn images.

Sources say Anderson had psychological issues but refused to be assessed or treated.

It is believed family had wanted Anderson to get counselling but he had refused.

Considering there were warrants out for Anderson’s arrest, questions have been raised as to whether he should have been allowed to have an access visit.

A man who shared a house with Anderson said he had to ask him to leave after being threatened with death.

The man, who did not want to be named, had lived with Anderson in Chelsea Heights since late last year but decided three weeks ago he had to go.

“We knew he had psychological problems but we found out recently how crazy he was,” the man said yesterday.

“He threatened to kill me. I had to take out an intervention order against him. I was meant to go

LUKE Batty was seen with his father after 6pm, when training finished, doing extra batting practice.

It is understood about 20 minutes later, the father was spotted bending over the motionless boy.

Police believe the child had been struck to the head with a cricket bat and attacked with a knife as he lay prone on the field. It was initially thought Luke may have suffered a sporting injury so ambulance officers were called. They were confronted by a bloodied, knife-wielding Mr Anderson.

Four police arrived soon after and were menaced by Mr Anderson, who reportedly asked to be shot as he advanced on them. Capsicum spray had no impact and, as he then closed on one policeman, that officer fired one shot to the chest, felling Mr Anderson.

Police then moved in and cleared the weapon away but Mr Anderson continued to struggle as paramedics tried to get him into an ambulance and off to hospital.

No car connected to the armed dad was found at the scene, leading police to believe he may have caught the train from Chelsea Heights to Tyabb. A premeditated suicide-by-cop scenario is one element of the probe into the tragedy.

The father made no attempt to leave the scene after the attack on his son and continued to advance on police as the risk of being shot escalated.

Police Association Secretary Greg Davies said there was then no option but to fire.

“There’s every likelihood this is suicide-by-cop. You’ve got a knife and they’ve all got firearms,” Sen-Sgt Davies said.

“It’s a police officer’s worst nightmare to see a young tacker apparently murdered by a man who turns out to be his father, who then advances on you with a knife. They (police) appear to have done everything possible to avoid this outcome.”

Veteran police were shocked at the brutality, one comparing it with the actions of child-killers Robert Farquharson and Arthur Freeman. “This is horrific and it’s in front of other kids,” one officer said.

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
May 2012: Anderson unlawfully assaults Rosemary Batty at her home in Tyabb by grabbing her hair, pushing her to the ground and kicking her before threatening her with a glass vase. Later charged.

November 2012: Caught by staff at Emerald Hill library viewing child porn on a public computer. Charged by police with viewing child porn and two months later possessing child porn when officers find him with a USB stick containing the images.

January 2013: Anderson again attends Ms Batty’s home and allegedly threatens to kill her. Arrested later that day and charged.

April 2013: Fails to appear in accordance with his bail conditions at Frankston Magistrates’ Court.

January 2014: Warrants are issued for Anderson’s arrest after repeated failures to attend his court dates.

What a tragic awful crime, committed in front of kids and families who just finished cricket training. It must have been so hard for paramedics trying to save this cowards life after he had just murdered his own son in cold blood. My heart goes out to the mum who was also there and witnessed it…

WHY does this happen?

UPDATE 5.30 pm 13/02/14

Rosie Batty in ‘disbelief’ after son Luke killed on cricket oval by father Greg, who had history of mental illness

By Monique Ross

The mother of an 11-year-old boy killed by his father at a cricket ground in Victoria has spoken of her shock, and revealed her estranged partner had a history of mental illness and was the subject of an apprehended violence order (AVO).

Luke Batty with his mother Rosie

Luke Batty with his mother Rosie

Luke Batty was killed in front of horrified onlookers after a cricket training session at the oval in the small town of Tyabb, south-east of Melbourne, on Wednesday evening.

His 54-year-old father Greg was shot by police at the scene and died in hospital early this morning.

Luke’s mother Rosie Batty was at the cricket ground when the tragedy unfolded, after her son asked for “a few more minutes” with his father.

This afternoon she described her “shock” and “disbelief” and told reporters her estranged partner Greg was a man who loved his son but had suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness for two decades.

“Luke was nearly as tall as me. He was sensitive. He enjoyed his footy, he enjoyed his cricket,” she said.

Luke was nearly as tall as me. He was effervescent, he was funny. He wasn’t the best scholar but he was intelligent.

“He was effervescent, he was funny. He wasn’t the best scholar but he was intelligent. He enjoyed his school.”

She says Luke loved his father and “felt pain” because he knew he was struggling.

“He was a little boy in a growing body that felt pain and sadness and fear for his mum, and he always believed he would be safe with his dad,” she said.

“[I told him] ‘you’ll always love your dad. You won’t always like what they do or say, but you’ll always love your dad, and he’ll always love you’.”

Father had long history of mental illness

Ms Batty says she had known Greg for 20 years, and over that time his mental health deteriorated.

“[He went] from someone who brushed off losing a job to someone that was unemployable,” she said.

“He was in a homelessness situation for many years. His life was failing. Everything was becoming worse in his life and Luke was the only bright light in his life.”

She says Greg had been offered help, but he failed to accept it, instead choosing to “believe he was OK”.

She had an AVO against Greg, but says he loved Luke and there were no signs he would ever hurt their son.

No-one loved Luke more than Greg, his father. No-one loved Luke more than me. We both loved him.

“You’re dealing with someone who’s always had problems, and they start out small and over the years they get bigger, but he’s still the father,” she said.

“He loved his son. Everyone that’s involved with children would know that whatever action they take is not because they don’t love them.

“No-one loved Luke more than Greg, his father. No-one loved Luke more than me. We both loved him.”

She says people thought she was the one at risk, and some had urged her to return to her home country.

“Doctors, psychologists, everyone said to me, why don’t you go back to England and live there? But Luke wanted to be here,” she said.

“His school was here, his friends were here. And I had decided that was the right choice.”

‘Family violence happens to everybody’

Ms Batty says if there is a silver lining to be found in the tragedy, it will be increased awareness about the issue of family violence.

“I want to tell people that family violence happens to [anybody], no matter how nice your house is, no matter how intelligent you are,” she said.

“When you’re involved with family violence, friends, family judge you, the woman. The decisions you should make, the decisions you don’t make.

I want to tell people that family violence happens to [anybody], no matter how nice your house is, no matter how intelligent you are.

“You’re the victim, but you become the person that people condemn.

“The people here reading this will say ‘why didn’t she protect him, why didn’t she make certain decisions’.

“But when you actually finally decide enough is enough, and decide to go through a court process, you do not know what the outcome will be.

‘What I want people to take from this is that it isn’t simple. People judge you, people tell you what you should do. You do the best you can.”

She says she does not regret allowing Greg to have a relationship with his son despite the problems, as her “guiding star” was ensuring Luke knew he was loved by both of his parents.

Mother first thought it was an accident

Ms Batty says her son died after what was “just a normal cricket practice”.

“Most of the kids and parents had gone. Luke came to me and said, ‘could I have a few more minutes with my dad’ because he doesn’t see him very often and I said, ‘sure, OK’,” she said.

“There was no reason to be concerned. I thought it was in an open environment.”

She says when she realised something was wrong, she thought an accident had happened and tried to call an ambulance.

“I tried to ring but couldn’t ring because I was too stressed. I looked for help and I ran towards help, screaming ‘get an ambulance, this is really bad’,” she said.

“I thought Greg had accidentally hurt him from a bowling accident … and that Greg’s anguish was because he had hurt Luke accidentally.

“I was screaming, I was inconsolable.”

Paramedics called to the sports ground on Frankston-Flinders Road treated the boy but were unable to revive him.

Police are refusing to give more details of the incident, but some witnesses say a cricket bat was used.

Ms Batty says it was only later that she realised that what happened to Luke was not an accident.

“What I saw that I thought was Greg comforting Luke and helping him with what I thought was an accident, wasn’t necessarily what I saw,” she said.

“The full extent of what happened I don’t want anyone, other than the [coroner], to know.

“Luke was killed by his father. No-one else including myself needs to know the details of what he actually did.”

‘Police acted the way they needed to act’

Homicide detectives have spoken to several children who saw Luke die and then watched as police then shot his father.

Officers say they shot the man in the chest after he threatened them with a knife. Police say they tried to subdue him with capsicum spray but that did not work.

Greg, from Chelsea Heights, was flown to Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital, where he died about 1:30am.

Ms Batty says police did not do anything wrong.

“The police acted the way they needed to act. In the past Greg has been confrontational and difficult,” she said.

“The police had no other option.”

She says Greg had not violated terms of the AVO by attending the event.

“It was allowed from the intervention order. It was a public place, I believed he was safe,” she said.

“It was just a little cricket practice. There was people there, I believed he was safe.”

Ms Batty says she is grateful for the support of loved ones, and will soon be joined by family who are travelling to Australia from England.

February 13, 2014 12:02PM

EMOTIONAL friends have paid tribute online to an 11-year-old boy who was stabbed to death on the Mornington Peninsula last night.

Luke Batty was horrifically killed by his father during cricket training at Tyabb Cricket Ground about 6.30pm yesterday.

Paramedics frantically tried to revive the Grade 6 student, but he died at the scene from head injuries.

Tributes to the slain boy began pouring in on social media last night, with one Facebook page attracting nearly 6,000 members by 9am.

Carol Bennett said she was “so sorry that you were taken so early in your life and in such a horrific way.”

Tahila Williams wrote: “It’s sad to see such a young boy have his life taken away from him when he had done nothing wrong.”

Yvette Wagg said: “Very sad and shocked to hear this devastating news… Condolences to all”.

After the attack four police officers tried to subdue his knife-wielding father with capsicum spray before shooting him in the chest, witnesses said.

The Chelsea Heights man, 54, was taken to The Alfred hospital where he died about 1.30am, Victoria Police spokeswoman Natalie Webster said.

“I can confirm that the male that the police shot was the father of the deceased boy,” Commander Doug Fryer said last night.

The boy’s mother was at the ground.

“We’ve had an absolute tragedy here tonight,” Commander Fryer said from the scene.

“It’s a horrific scene.”

Speaking this morning, Commander Fryer said it had been a “shocking time” for the boy’s family, the witnesses at the scene and the officers involved.

“Our members were confronted by an incident that thankfully, it’s very rare when it happens, but when it does, they put their training into practice,” Commander Fryer told 3AW.

“They used an option that they thought appropriate and unfortunately we’ve now got two people dead.”

Commander Fryer said the boy’s mother, who was estranged from his father, was “in close proximity to where this happened”.

“I don’t know how a mother gets past losing her son in these sorts of ways,” he said.

Children were at the ground for cricket training and Commander Fryer said police wanted to speak to anyone who witnessed the incident.

“We spoke to a lot of people last night,” he said.

“Because cricket practice had just finished, we think there were probably kids down there and parents down there that may have seen something who we haven’t yet spoken to.

Luke’s classmates were told of his tragic death this morning when they arrived at Flinders Christian Community College in Tyabb.

The flag was flying at half-mast as parents, students and teachers rallied around each other.

Luke was remembered as a popular, happy child who loved life and enjoyed his sport at an emotional school meeting this morning.

Executive principal Jill Healey said the death of the popular Year 6 student was “an absolute shock and a tragedy”.

“There were lots of tears this morning,” she said.

She said the school community was coping as well as could be expected, and that counselling had been arranged for all those affected by Luke’s death.

Luke’s friends plan to hold a vigil for the 11-year-old at the cricket oval where he was killed.

The small community is reeling from the horrible crime and friends have already begun to bring flowers.

Taylor Cuthbertson, 15, said a friend of hers was a witness to the horrible scenes.

“He was just crying when he was telling me what happened.

“It’s so horrible.”

Emergency services were called to the oval on Frankston-Flinders Rd in Tyabb about 6.30pm yesterday following the vicious attack.

Witnesses said when officers from Mornington police station arrived, the father turned on them with a knife, forcing them to shoot him.

The man was flown to The Alfred hospital, where he later died.

The incident shocked the local community, with one resident describing it as “bloody horrific”.

Tyabb Cricket Club officials would not comment about the incident last night, saying it was “too raw”.

But the club’s junior cricket co-ordinator, Ron Dyall, said the boy — in grade 6 at Flinders Christian Community College — had played for the club for two or three years and was also an avid footballer.

Mr Dyall said he was devastated by what had happened.

“As his coach, I knew him pretty well,” he said.

“My own son plays in his team. I’m trying to figure out how to break it to him, and how we’re gonna deal with the kids.”

Local Wayne Murray, 64, said he heard what he thought was fireworks about the time of the shooting.

He said “a shiver (ran) down my spine” when he learned the sounds were gunshots.

“I heard a couple of pop pops,” he said.

“It didn’t sound unusually loud. I’ve never seen anything like this. It doesn’t happen here.”

Melissa, 37, who did not wish to give her surname, said her father had also heard gunshots.

“We heard helicopters going over the oval,” she said. “I have an 11-year-old. I was nearly in tears when I heard.”

Commander Fryer said four local officers were confronted by the knife-wielding man when they arrived about 6.40pm.

“They’ve attempted to use less than lethal force (OC foam). They’ve attempted to talk him down. That has been unsuccessful,” he said.

“They have then discharged a firearm, hitting that male once in the chest.”

Commander Fryer said police were still working to ­determine what caused the local boy’s death.

He could not confirm reports the boy was being beaten by his father with a cricket bat when police ­arrived, but said he suffered “significant injuries”.

 

 

 

Family of Bevan Meninga murder victim Cheree Richardson dreading imminent parole


This case is one of disgusting sick depraved torture and murder in my view, the case is so sad to read and this mongrel is getting out on parole. No one the family are scared. Bevan is the brother of famous Rugby league legend and coach Mal Meninga (an ex cop) some say he has had some influence on the case, who knows…

But big generous Mal, has offered for the crim to stay with him, can you imagine the freedom he would have with Mal away constantly coaching football etc? What a bloody joke that is, and reflects poorly on Mal being an ex cop, to think he is able to properly supervise and guide (grrrrrrrrr) his animal of a brother on parole.

FLASHBACK The Daily, August 7, 1992

FLASHBACK The Daily, August 7, 1992

Kay Dibben
The Courier-Mail
February 12, 2014

THE parents of Sunshine Coast murder victim Cheree Richardson are dreading the imminent release from jail of her killer, Mal Meninga’s brother Bevan Meninga.

Family of Bevan Meninga murder victim Cheree Richardson dreading imminent parole  Kay Dibben  The Courier-Mail  February 12, 2014  THE parents of Sunshine Coast murder victim Cheree Richardson are dreading the imminent release from jail of her killer, Mal Meninga’s brother Bevan Meninga.  Bevan Meninga, 42, who has served 21 years behind bars, could be out of jail within weeks on conditional parole. Meninga brother set to walk free  Famous brother made prison life hell  Meninga’s parole bid for brother It is understood a condition of his parole will be that he not live on the Sunshine Coast, where Cheree was killed, which means he cannot live with his mother as he had planned. Mal Meninga, who also offered his brother a home with his family in Brisbane, said yesterday his brother would be living with a sponsor outside his household. “But we’ll be there providing support for him, and we’ll visit him on a regular basis to ensure that he’s happy, he’s being looked after, he’s cared for,’’ he said. Meninga said the family would help his brother reintegrate into the community. “It’s really important the Meninga family get behind him,’’ Meninga said. Bevan Meninga murdered Richardson in 1991 by hitting her with a tree branch, later claiming he had been intoxicated at the time. Mal Meninga said yesterday his brother was extremely remorseful for what he had done and had “a lot of empathy for the victim and her family’’. Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group general manager Ross Thompson said Cheree’s parents Helen and John Richardson were dreading Bevan Meninga’s release. He said they did not want him back on the Sunshine Coast. “It’s where it all happened,’’ Mr Thompson said. “Now he is about to be out on parole it brings it all back to the family, it makes them feel very insecure, regardless of where he will live. “This takes them back to the very first days it happened.’’ Bevan Meninga took the Queensland Parole Board to the Supreme Court last month to force it to make a decision on his parole application, after waiting more than a year. The board has not yet approved his parole because conditions, including where he will live, are still being finalised. Conditions against his use of alcohol and illicit drugs also are expected, as psychiatrists and the board have expressed concern about the risk of him returning to substance abuse. Both Mal Meninga’s home and that of their mother were assessed for suitability for Bevan Meninga by probation and parole officers. On January 29 the board wrote to Meninga saying he might pose “an unacceptably high level of risk if released from custody at this stage’’, but invited him to make submissions.

Family of Bevan Meninga murder victim Cheree Richardson dreading imminent parole 

Bevan Meninga, 42, who has served 21 years behind bars, could be out of jail within weeks on conditional parole.

Meninga brother set to walk free

Famous brother made prison life hell

Meninga’s parole bid for brother

It is understood a condition of his parole will be that he not live on the Sunshine Coast, where Cheree was killed, which means he cannot live with his mother as he had planned.

Mal Meninga, who also offered his brother a home with his family in Brisbane, said yesterday his brother would be living with a sponsor outside his household

Queensland Origin coach Mal Meninga has offered to have his brother live with him if paroled.

Queensland Origin coach Mal Meninga has offered to have his brother live with him if paroled.

“But we’ll be there providing support for him, and we’ll visit him on a regular basis to ensure that he’s happy, he’s being looked after, he’s cared for,’’ he said.

Meninga said the family would help his brother reintegrate into the community.

“It’s really important the Meninga family get behind him,’’ Meninga said.

Bevan Meninga murdered Richardson in 1991 by hitting her with a tree branch, later claiming he had been intoxicated at the time.

He not only hit her with the tree branch, the sick bastard, use you imagination folks…sick

Mal Meninga said yesterday his brother was extremely remorseful for what he had done and had “a lot of empathy for the victim and her family’’.

Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group general manager Ross Thompson said Cheree’s parents Helen and John Richardson were dreading Bevan Meninga’s release. He said they did not want him back on the Sunshine Coast.

“It’s where it all happened,’’ Mr Thompson said.

“Now he is about to be out on parole it brings it all back to the family, it makes them feel very insecure, regardless of where he will live.

“This takes them back to the very first days it happened.’’

Bevan Meninga took the Queensland Parole Board to the Supreme Court last month to force it to make a decision on his parole application, after waiting more than a year.

The board has not yet approved his parole because conditions, including where he will live, are still being finalised.

Conditions against his use of alcohol and illicit drugs also are expected, as psychiatrists and the board have expressed concern about the risk of him returning to substance abuse.

Both Mal Meninga’s home and that of their mother were assessed for suitability for Bevan Meninga by probation and parole officers.

On January 29 the board wrote to Meninga saying he might pose “an unacceptably high level of risk if released from custody at this stage’’, but invited him to make submissions.

Mal Meninga in parole bid for brother Bevan, serving time for murder

LEAGUE legend Mal Meninga offered to have his brother Bevan, a convicted murderer, live in his Brisbane family home if he was released on parole.

Mal Meninga's letter in support of his brother.

Mal Meninga’s letter in support of his brother.

Bevan, who has served 21 years for the “horrific killing” of 19-year-old Cheree Richardson, has gone to court to force the Queensland Parole Board to make a decision.

Early last year, a probation and parole officer assessed Mal’s home’s suitability for Bevan, saying Mal had agreed to have him live there.

However, late last year Bevan applied to live with their mother on the Sunshine Coast, where Cheree was murdered, Supreme Court documents show.

In his latest release plan, filed in court, Bevan said his brother had offered to move him and his mother to Brisbane after his initial community reintegration on the Sunshine Coast.

“If the move to Brisbane is approved, my brother has full-time employment,” the document says.

Mal wrote in a letter to the board in 2012 that he “supported Bevan by phone, letters and visits over the term of his incarceration and have kept a keen interest in his welfare”.

“I believe family support is so invaluable, regardless of his wrongdoing … the family love, respect and support is paramount to his reintegration,” the letter states.

“Whilst as a family we don’t condone his actions of the past, I will make certain that Bevan will have the necessary family support during his reintegration.”

Last week, the Queensland Parole Board said Bevan might pose “an unacceptably high level of risk if released from custody at this stage” and gave him two weeks to prove otherwise.

Bevan murdered Cheree in 1991 by hitting her with a tree branch.

She had massive head and internal injuries.

The board says it is concerned Bevan, who claimed he was intoxicated at the time, could reoffend if he returned to alcohol or drug abuse.

Bevan has been eligible for parole since 2005 but has been kept in jail and has been waiting since January last year for a decision on his ­latest application.

He is at a low-security ­prison farm in Rathdowney.

A MAN who partied with teenager Cheree Richardson just an hour before her murder says he is still haunted by that night, 23 years after she was murdered.

Gavin Seib told the Daily yesterday that he believed the man convicted of Cheree’s rape and killing, Bevan Meninga, should never be released from prison.

Mr Seib spoke for the first time about his deep feeling of regret after going home early that night rather than staying around to make sure his new friend was safe.

He said he has battled to suppress his deep guilt for more than two decades.

His emotional problems erupted in stress and mental difficulties last year.

He decided to finally speak publicly about that horrific time in his life after reading reports that Meninga, who was jailed for life over the murder, may be released on parole – possibly as soon as today.

“I was talking to a girl who was brutally murdered an hour later,” Mr Seib said about that night in Mooloolaba.

“It has affected me my entire life.

“She was a lovely person, me and her got on like a house on fire, and over the years this has mentally stuffed me up.”

Mr Seib was 22 and out on the town when he met Cheree.

They chatted, laughed, he bought her drinks, they had a great time.

They even talked about his girlfriend, who Cheree had wanted to meet.

“We made plans to catch up after that night, but we never had the chance.

“I just want to say what a wonderful person she was.

“She’ll always be in my heart to the day I die.”

Cheree’s mutilated body was found two days later in dense parkland at Alexandra Headland.

Mr Seib, now 46, said he regrets leaving early that fateful night.

He believes he should have ensured his new friend’s safety before he left.

“I blamed myself,” he said of the death.

“When I left, I turned around to see her and I saw she was with him and he would look after her.

“I put my trust in him.”

“(I should have asked), ‘Are you right? Do you need a lift home?’

“She was a nice, lovely, happy-go-lucky woman and for someone to do that to her was horrific.”

Mr Seib, a prawn fisherman, is adamant that Meninga should remain behind bars for the murder.

“He got a life sentence, doesn’t that mean life?”

“It’s about time they stopped all this.

“People who murder people should get what they were sentenced.”

He also advised anyone who was struggling with deep guilt or anxiety to seek help soon from a doctor.

“It’ll do (them) a world of good to speak to someone about it.”

 

Simon Gittany gets 26 years’ jail (min 18) for murdering Lisa Harnum


The previous post can be found here
Gets 26 years, min of 18 years before parole. Inadequate in my view. new girlfriend Rachelle Louise was not in court, ching ching,
If you have a spare 30 minutes watch the first part of the $150,000 interview and story right here folks, a real eye opener
17/02/14 update new interview with the 2 detectives who saw his violent side nearly 20 years ago, when Gittany bit part of one detectives ear OFF while being arrested…yeah the guy Rachelle said would make a fantastic dad.Until the little kid piddled his pants or something….

16/02/14 UPDATED WITH 2ND PART AFTER THE FIRST BELOW

GUILTY SIGN

Hopefully she will collect a big fat cheque today from TV today, pocket it, and never utter his name again, gotcha Gittany

Official Sentence summary  from today can be found below, full transcript to follow once released folks. (click for bigger view)

Gittany Sentence Summary 11-02-14

Simon Gittany sentenced to at least 18 years for fiancée Lisa Harnum’s murder

Murderer Simon Gittany’s violent past revealed

Simon Gittany has been sentenced to 26 years’ jail, with a non-parole period of 18 years, for the murder of his fiancée Lisa Harnum.

Simon Gittany and Lisa Harnum. Sentenced to 26 years for tossing her off a highrise balcony

Simon Gittany and Lisa Harnum. Sentenced to 26 years for tossing her off a highrise balcony

Gittany threw Ms Harnum to her death from the balcony of their 15th floor apartment in inner Sydney on a Saturday morning in July 2011.

NSW Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum, who presided over Gittany’s judge-only trial last year, today also handed down his punishment.

Justice McCallum said that jailing Gittany for life would be excessive, but his family in the court’s public gallery still erupted when she delivered the sentence.

“In the name of Jesus, that will never happen,” one family member yelled.

The judge ordered the family members to be removed from the court.

Earlier Justice McCallum had described the cruelty of the crime.

“Ms Harnum must have been in a state of complete terror in the moments before her death,” she said.

Justice McCallum described Gittany as “arrogant” and said he had punished Ms Harnum during their relationship for “small acts of defiance” such as wearing her hair down.

The court heard about Gittany’s previous potential for violence, including an incident in which he bit off part of a policeman’s ear in 1994.

“It has a troubling resonance with the present offence,” Justice McCallum said.

The judge told the court that she had excluded evidence from a surprise prosecution witness last week – a former colleague of Ms Harnum who said Gittany had previously threatened to kill Ms Harnum and make it look like suicide.

The businessman’s current girlfriend, Rachelle Louise, who has fiercely defended Gittany and has been by his side for much of his trial, was not in court for the sentencing.

Gittany himself was led up from the cells beneath the courtroom, but showed no emotion as he listened to the judge’s comments.

AMY DALE
The Daily Telegraph
February 07, 2014

BALCONY killer Simon Gittany could spend 20 years in jail for the “cold and calculating” murder of his fiancee – a killing he almost successfully portrayed as suicide, his sentencing was told yesterday.

Justice Lucy McCallum also indicated the decision of Gittany’s family to “embark on a campaign” that doggedly protests his innocence over the killing of Lisa Harnum could be viewed as “an impediment to rehabilitation”.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Mark Tedeschi QC told the court it could be “very much guided” by the standard non-parole period for murder in NSW, which is 20 years.

In his closing sentencing submissions, Mr Tedeschi said Gittany had used “the height and gravity” of the 15th storey balcony as a weapon in throwing Ms Harnum to her death seconds after she had been “screaming for her life”.

Rachelle Louise arrives for the second day of sentencing submissions in boyfriend Simon Gittany’s case.

Rachelle Louise has been a very vocal supporter of Simon Gittany.

Rachelle Louise seemed to be in a good mood when she arrived at court today.

“Were it not for the observations of (witness) Joshua Rathmell and were it not for the pinhole camera which captured the offender dragging the deceased back inside … it was a cold and calculating way of killing her in a manner which would have enabled him to pass it off as suicide,” Mr Tedeschi said.

Justice McCallum said Gittany had “a defiant denial of guilt” and, along with his family and girlfriend Rachelle Louise, appeared determined to “maintain the rage until (in his mind) justice is done”.

Prosecutors say Gittany has shown no contrition or remorse, which makes it hard to assess his rehabilitation prospects, but his barrister has asked the court to hand down a sentence “significantly lower” than the 20-year minimum.

Barrister Philip Strickland SC said Gittany’s criminal record, which includes a conviction for biting part of a policeman’s ear off in 1994, shouldn’t be given much weight upon sentence.

The court heard the relationship he has with Ms Louise has “no features at all of an abusive relationship”.

More than 40 character references were tendered to the court on Gittany’s behalf, with Justice McCallum saying some appear “to be asking for mercy on the basis I might be wrong (in the guilty verdict).”

Mr Strickland said references spoke of a gentle Gittany with dreams of being a priest.

Mr Tedeschi said the references suggest “the offender is two completely different people. One person to his family and a completely different person presenting in the relationship (with Lisa Harnum).

GERARD BADEN-CLAY Hearing 3rd Feb 2014-UPDATED


04/02/14 UPDATE FOR DAY 2

ALLISON Baden-Clay went to see a family counsellor about her husband’s three-year affair with a staff member, a court has been told today.

Gerard Baden-Clay, charged with the Murder of his wife Allison Baden-Clay

Gerard Baden-Clay, charged with the Murder of his wife Allison Baden-Clay

The Brookfield mum also detailed her history of depression to the counsellor, the court was told at a pre-trial hearing.

The routine hearing is to resolve legal issues ahead of the Gerard Baden-Clay’s upcoming murder trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

Allison told the counsellor her husband Gerard’s attitude to the depression was that he was “over it” and that it had contributed to the affair, the court was told.

The court heard the counsellor later had a separate session with Gerard where he said he wanted to leave the affair in the past but reluctantly agreed to 15-minute discussions with his wife every second night.

Baden-Clay reported his wife missing on April 20, 2012. He has been charged with her murder and is due to face trial in June.

Relationships Australia counsellor Carmel Ritchie told the court the first session with Allison was at Spring Hill on March 27, 2012, and lasted about an hour.

Allison described herself as a mother of three who worked with her husband’s real estate agency four days a week, Ms Ritchie told the court.

She told the counsellor that after taking malaria medication on her honeymoon she had a “very severe reaction” and suffered chronic depression and “psychotic episodes”.

She had seen a psychologist during her second pregnancy and had been on and off medication ever since.

Allison said her husband had an affair for three years and at least partly blamed her depression, Ms Richie said.

Asked to describe her problems in a few words she told the counsellor: “Inadequate. Not good enough. Believe I let it happen. Gerard’s way is the right way. Gerard had an affair for the last three years. Parenting, Gerard criticises me. Fear that one day he will leave me”.

Allison told the counsellor she wanted to “work on me” and sort out issues with parenting, the court was told.

Allison found out about Gerard’s affair on September 14, 2011, Ms Ritchie said.

The affair started on August 27, 2008, four days after Gerard and Allison’s own anniversary, the counsellor said.

Ms Ritchie said Allison told her: “I confronted him. He is now honest and takes responsibility. He blames me for some of it, the depression.”

Allison said that two years ago on their anniversary she surprised Gerard by asking: “What’s wrong with us?”

She told the counsellor Gerard replied: “I’ve had enough. I want to leave.”

Allison said she put it down to a midlife crisis.

Allison said Gerard’s personality was “ambitious and leader like” and he had high expectations of her and the children, Ms Richie told the court.

She told the counsellor her father felt as though “he was controlling her”, the court was told.

In her case notes, the counsellor wrote her opinion that Allison was a “conflict avoider who has said yes too many times in the relationship”.

To Gerard, Allison was not the girl he married, while Gerard had changed to a “look after myself” attitude, the court was told.

Ms Ritchie said she told Allison at the end of the session she could bring Gerard to the next session if she wanted.

Allison said she did not believe Gerard would want to come.

However at the next appointment on April 16, 2012, both Allison and Gerard were in the waiting room.

Ms Ritchie told the court she took Gerard into her room on his own at first. She said she had planned to spend half the hour-long session with him and then see them both together, but the session with Gerard went for most of the hour.

“I was surprised to see Gerard there as well. That was because Allison thought he would not come,” Ms Ritchie told the court.

The session, at Kenmore, was four days before Baden-Clay reported his wife missing.

Ms Ritchie said she took a standard 60-second snapshot with Gerard, but he didn’t say much about himself personally, talking instead about his work and achievements.

The court heard that after further questions Gerard told the counsellor: “Allison does not trust me. She questions me. She says yes when she means no.”

He told the counsellor of Allison’s disappointment with her life and that he used to blame his wife for disappointments in his own life, the court was told.

He said he attended the session because Allison wanted him to.

He wanted to “build a future” with his wife and to leave the affair behind him and thought discussing the affair with Allison was a regression, Ms Ritchie told the court.

“He wants to get on with life. Wipe it clean,” the counsellor said she wrote in her notes from the session.

“He needs to accept seven or eight months is very early days yet and to ‘steel’ himself for the long haul.”

Ms Ritchie told the court she advised Baden-Clay he could not ignore his wife’s feelings about the affair.

“I spoke about the fact he did have to sit and listen to Allison’s feelings about the affair.

“I told him that he can’t put this in the past because for Allison that past is very much in the present.”

Gerard did not want to take the advice.

“Isn’t that regression? Isn’t that living in the past?” he asked.

They went back and forth until “eventually he agreed”.

Ms Ritchie said she told Gerard to listen to Allison for 10 to 15 minutes every second night. She said she “always” limited such talks because they were “highly emotional”.

Gerard’s role was to “simply listen … absolutely not be defensive” and at the end to express remorse if that was how he felt.

Ms Ritchie told the court she went outside to get Allison from the waiting room and apologised for taking so long with her husband.

“Her face broke into a smile and she said ‘I’m over the moon you have spent this time with him’.”

Ms Ritchie said when she was back in the room with both Baden-Clay and his wife she went over the plan for the 10 to 15-minute talks, which were to continue until the next session in a week or two.

“I saw her say to Gerard ‘I am over the moon that you have spent this time’. But it was a defensive, hurt way that she was saying it.”

Asked in court about Allison’s mood, she said: “I think she was very pleased to introduce me to Gerard. She was smiling.”

Ms Ritchie added that Gerard discussed his roles in the school P&C and the local chamber of commerce.

“For Gerard, his image in the community is very important…He believes he is a valuable member of society,” the counsellor said she wrote in her notes.

The next session was never booked, with Baden-Clay reporting his wife missing on the Friday of that week.

Barrister Michael Byrne QC, for Baden-Clay, put to the witness that Allison’s depression and early panic attacks went back to taking the malaria medication during her honeymoon and to her pregnancy with the couple’s first child, who was born in 2001.

Mr Byrne said between Allison’s discovery of the affair and the first session with the counsellor Baden-Clay had “reached the point where he was honest and was taking responsibility”.

“His attitude to the affair is to wipe it clean and get on with life. What she’s saying to you there was put the past behind them put the affair out of life and move on as a couple,” Mr Byrne said.

Ms Ritchie agreed Allison wanted to move on as a couple.

03/02/14 Not much to report from today’s hearing, day 1 of 2

ACCUSED wife murderer Gerard Baden-Clay returned to court in Brisbane on Monday for legal argument ahead of his upcoming trial.

Scratches on the accused, Gerard Baden-Clay.

Scratches on the accused, Gerard Baden-Clay.

The routine hearing to determine which evidence can be put before a jury is scheduled to run for two days in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

Dressed in a dark suit and wearing a tie, the 43-year-old former real estate agent watched proceedings from the dock.

The court heard from the pathologist who carried out Allison Baden-Clay’s post-mortem examination.

Legal argument centred on the admissibility of parts of his evidence, and that of medical experts who assessed scratches and other marks found on Baden-Clay following his wife’s disappearance.

The couple’s former family counsellor is expected to give evidence in court for the first time when the hearing resumes on Tuesday.

Mrs Baden-Clay, 43, was reported missing by her husband on April 20, 2012.

Her body was found 10 days later on the banks of a creek in Brisbane’s west.

The last court related update is as follows from back in December 2013.

The many GBC posts can be found here or here http://aussiecriminals.com.au/tag/gerard-baden-clay/

A family counsellor can be called to give evidence at the murder trial of Brisbane man Gerard Baden-Clay, a judge has ruled.

The Relationships Australia counsellor had argued her conversations with Baden-Clay, 43, and his slain wife Allison, were confidential.

However, Supreme Court judge James Douglas on Thursday ruled counsellor Carmel Ritchie will be required to give evidence at a pre-trial hearing next year.

The ruling means the crown can call Ms Ritchie as a witness during the trial, which has been set down for June next year.

The counsellor spoke with Mrs Baden-Clay on March 27, 2012, and with Baden-Clay and his wife separately on April 16, 2012.

Baden-Clay sat in the dock during Thursday’s brief hearing.

Mrs Baden-Clay was reported missing on April 20 last year, and her body was found on the banks of a creek in Brisbane’s west 10 days later.

Baden-Clay was arrested in June 2012 and charged with murder.

He maintains he is innocent.

In an earlier court hearing, Relationships Australia’s barrister George Kalimnios had argued the Family Law Act prohibited Ms Ritchie giving evidence, and could claim privilege on the grounds of public interest.

But in his written judgement on Thursday, Justice Douglas said both arguments were misconceived, and there were no grounds to claim privilege.

“Even if such a privilege existed separate from the Act, the balance is decisively in favour of permitting access to the evidence for the purposes of Mr Baden-Clay’s trial on the charge of murder.”

Matters before the Court 3rd Feb 2014

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