WA Police seize biggest-ever meth haul – ‘hundreds of kilos’


It’s the biggest drug bust in Western Australian history, 321 kilograms of methamphetamine allegedly destined for sale on WA streets.

WA Police’s biggest-ever drug bust has seized 321 kilograms of the drug, mostly concealed in Chinese tea packaging, along with more than $1.4 million in cash.

Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan confirmed that the drugs, which would have yielded about 3.2 million ‘hits’ and fetched hundreds of millions on the street, were seized as the result of a continuing operation between state and federal police and the Australian Crime Commission.

The haul is the largest seizure of methamphetamine in WA history.The haul is the largest seizure of methamphetamine in WA history. Photo: WA Police

He called the haul a “hammer blow” to the organised criminal syndicate “peddling this misery” in WA.

Mr Keenan joined WA Police acting commissioner Gary Dreibergs and other officials in Perth on Thursday to reveal the bust and congratulate the officers involved.

Police have charged four Hong Kong nationals, three of whom are in the country illegally and one on a visitors’ visa, ACC chief executive Chris Dawson confirmed.

Police claims the methamphetamine haul has a street value of $320 million.Police claims the methamphetamine haul has a street value of $320 million. Photo: WA Police

On Tuesday after stopping a car in Willetton and arresting the 18-year-old driver, they searched a Canning Vale home and seized 316 kilograms of meth concealed in Chinese tea packaging inside 10 suitcases, WA Police acting deputy commissioner Michelle Fyfe said.

Following an arrest of the 19-year-old occupant, they were led to search an Adelaide Terrace apartment in Perth’s CBD and a Hay Street hotel room, where they seized another 43 grams and 4.9 kilograms of ice respectively and arrested another two men, aged 21 and 26, she said.

She said it was “frightening” to imagine that this quantity of ice was destined to be used by members of the community.

More than a million dollars cash was seized along with the record-breaking meth bust.More than a million dollars cash was seized along with the record-breaking meth bust.

The men have each been charged with possession of illicit drugs with intent to sell or supply and possession of stolen or unlawfully obtained property. They all appeared on Wednesday at Perth Magistrates Court and were remanded in custody.

Mr Dawson said intelligence informing the local investigation came through the ACC-led Eligo National Task Force, which had been tracking organised criminals cash flows for about two years.

The task force, comprising the ACC, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, other federal agencies, federal police and state and territory police forces, was part of a “global attack” on organised crime syndicates in South East Asia.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Gary Dreibergs, WA Police Minister Liza Harvey and Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan (from left) revealed the details of the bust.Acting Deputy Commissioner Gary Dreibergs, WA Police Minister Liza Harvey and Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan (from left) revealed the details of the bust.

The investigation was continuing and the team would work with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Acting commissioner Dreibergs said the Australian Institute of Criminology’s Drug Use Monitoring in Australia project, plus waste-water analysis, were showing increasing methamphetamine use in the community.

“It affects the behaviour of offenders which makes it even more concerning for our officers. You see the community damage and the risk of violent behaviour that comes with it,” he said.

The huge haul illustrates the extent of the methamphetamine problem.The huge haul illustrates the extent of the methamphetamine problem.

“[This] puts our officers at risk more than ever … when I was an officer in my young days you didn’t have people impacted by methamphetamine, and more violent and unpredictable than they would normally be.

“People are making a massive amount of money … people who are very organised in this space.

“This is the old supply and demand story. You’ve got demand, people are going to fill that with supply like any other business.”

Acting WA Police commissioner Gary Dreibergs will make an announcement on the massive drug haul alongside other agencies involved.Acting WA Police commissioner Gary Dreibergs will make an announcement on the massive drug haul alongside other agencies involved.

Minister Keenan agreed there would always be ice entering Australia and so prevention and education were critical.

He said the National Ice Taskforce, led by former Victoria Police chief commissioner Ken Lay, was advising the government on how to improve education in the community, reduce demand and improve the health response at a national level.

The taskforce represents an increasing political focus on ice use in Australia and an evolution from looking at it as purely a police matter.

In March, the ACC published The Australian Methylamphetamine Market: The National Picture, the first comprehensive national snapshot of ice and the role organised crime plays in its distribution, to inform the national response.

In April, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the establishment of the National Ice Taskforce, entrusted with developing a National Ice Action Strategy including education and health responses as well as law enforcement.

Mr Lay and fellow taskforce members Sally McCarthy and Richard Murray spent eight weeks travelling Australia to hear first-hand from people dealing with the impacts of ice in communities, with a particular focus on regional Australia.

They received more than 1300 submissions, held seven community consultations and spoke to experts in drug treatment, health care, education, research and law enforcement.

Federal MPs also held community consultations to contribute to this body of information.

On July 23, Mr Abbott presented the National Ice Taskforce interim report to the Council of Australian Governments outlining the six priority areas for the national strategy.

The strategy is due to be finalised by the end of the year.

A Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement is simultaneously at work, focusing purely on the law enforcement response to the ice problem in Australia.


 

‘Largest ever WA ice bust’ nets $320 million worth of meth, more than $1 million cash

Police in Perth have confiscated 320 kilograms of methamphetamine worth $320 million, as well as $1.2 million in cash, in what has been described as WA’s largest ever ice seizure.

The drugs were seized in a joint operation yesterday between WA Police and the Australian Crime Commission.

This seizure is a hammer blow for the organised criminals who peddle in ice.

Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan

Arrest warrants were executed at three residences, in Canning Vale and the Perth CBD.

Most of the drugs, about 316 kilograms, were found hidden in packages of Chinese tea at a house in Canning Vale.

An apartment on Adelaide Terrace and a hotel on Hay Street in the city were also raided.

Four Hong Kong nationals, ranging in age from 19 to 26, have been charged over the seizure.

Three of those men are believed to have been in Australia illegally, the fourth was on a visa.

The four men have already appeared in court and were remanded in custody.

Haul a ‘hammer blow’ to criminals, Keenan says

Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan said it was a significant haul.

“This latest seizure, this largest seizure in Western Australian history, is an example of the dividends that are being paid by the unprecedented cooperation between Commonwealth and state law enforcement,” he said.

“They have taken at least 320 kilograms of this terrible drug off the streets. That would have equated to 3.2 million individual hits of ice, with a street value of upwards of $320 million.

“This seizure is a hammer blow for the organised criminals who peddle in ice.”

Police said they feared what could have happened if the drugs had not been confiscated.

“[It] can only be described as frightening that this was going to hit our streets, this was going to be taken by members of our community,” WA Police acting deputy commissioner Michelle Fyfe said.

WA Police Minister Liza Harvey said the operation would put a significant dent in the ice market.

“I cannot tell you the impact that will have on the families, and the relatives and the friends of the meth addicts who wreak havoc on our community,” she said.

String of drug busts

This is the third major methamphetamine bust in the state in the past couple of months.

In August, police arrested three men and impounded a yacht off Western Australia’s north-west coast after seizing more than 20 kilograms of methamphetamine from a unit in Perth.

Officers from the Australian Federal Police and Organised Crime Squad seized the drug — also known as ice — and almost $1 million from the Perth unit as part of a National Anti-Gang Squad operation.

They also found 11 guns, including a sawn-off shotgun and a homemade machine gun.

In July, methamphetamine with a street value of $21 million was seized along with $100,000 cash.

Five people from WA, Queensland and New South Wales were charged over the seizure in the northern Perth suburb of Karrinyup.


 

Former state director of the Victorian Liberal Party, Damien Mantach, busted embezzling $1.5 million in the election campaign funds.



money hungry 2

abc.net.au

Embezzlement allegation: The Liberal Party will have to rebuild trust

The Drum

Opinion

Fri 21 Aug 2015, 9:58am

It’s the thousands of ordinary Liberal Party members who should feel most outraged at the alleged embezzlement of $1.5 million of campaign funds. And the party hierarchy will have to work hard to earn their trust back, writes Terry Barnes.

The Victorian Liberal Party is in a state of deep shock after revelations its former state director, Damien Mantach, is accused of embezzling $1.5 million of party funds over a number of years.

While investigations are continuing, Victorian Liberal president, Michael Kroger, has emailed party members saying that Mantach is the only person in the frame, and all will be done to recover as much of the missing funds as possible.

It appears a breathtaking $1.5 million of party funds was diverted for personal benefit. Victorian Liberal parliamentary leader, Matthew Guy, said that what was taken was “a very significant portion of the money raised by the party in fundraising … People did a lot of work to get that. We all feel completely gutted and furious”.

There certainly will be former Victorian Liberal MPs closely defeated in last November’s state election whose anger will be, like Guy’s, white-hot, sharing his view that the missing funds could have saved their campaigns. Current marginal seat federal MPs will feel likewise. But having escaped with their parliamentary pensions or severance packages, they personally got off lightly.

What really angers and disappoints about Mantach’s alleged actions is that they were not really stealing from a mere corporate entity, the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party of Australia. Nor did they ruin the large corporate donors and high net worth individuals who donate to political parties, because that is part of what they do to build political networks, relationships and influence.

No, the grand embezzlement and the governance failures that allowed it to happen are above all an utter betrayal of, and insult to, thousands of ordinary Liberal Party members and supporters across Victoria who are not wealthy or personally powerful but are the soul of the party.

They’re the ones who turn out in all weather at election times to support MPs and candidates, door-knock, stuff letterboxes and talk up the Liberal cause to anyone who will listen.

They’re the ones who greet you at the polling booth on election days with a smile and a how-to-vote card, and look forward to bantering with voters and their counterparts from other parties.

They’re the ones who faithfully attend branch meetings, local party events, run the trivia and soup nights, and buy the tickets in the raffle that inevitably is a part of any political gathering – and donate back the prizes.

They’re the ones who drive up to hundreds of kilometres to attend party councils and pre-selection conventions.

They’re the ones who organise local electorate fundraising functions, work tirelessly to make them well-attended and successful, and cheerfully endure the proverbial rubber chicken and drinks at bar prices, because they buy their own tickets as well as sell them.

They’re the ones who pay membership subscriptions or respond to bigwigs’ circular appeals for donations. Many may not be able to afford to give much, but their trickles join to become a funding river for the party: a river, it seems, that can easily be dipped into by the unscrupulous.

And they’re the ones who are most entitled to feel gutted and angry at what has happened.

As a group, most ordinary members of the Liberal Party are older and more conservative than their MPs. They are often retired, and volunteer for party work because it gives them the satisfaction of furthering a cause, or an MP or candidate, they believe in passionately.

Others are young activists with stars in their eyes and idealism in their hearts.

Unlike the likes of Malcolm Turnbull, most Liberal rank-and-file members don’t have palatial mansions to go home to, nor much spare cash. Contrary to the Liberal silvertail image, many members and local Liberal supporters are students, pensioners or self-funded retirees on very modest incomes, and donate what they often can ill afford.

Yet they do so willingly and turn out for the party because they believe, as the Victorian Division’s website is bannered, that “The Liberal Party exists to provide high quality governments that empower people to solve the major challenges they face in their lives”.

This grassroots faith is what’s been shaken to its core by what has happened.

The Liberal organisation will recover and be reformed. As incoming Victorian president earlier this year, taking office just as Mantach left, Kroger was refreshingly open and honest with his members and the public as soon as the appalling situation was confirmed. That welcome candour is a good start to rebuilding trust in a crisis.

But just as with former Health Services Union leaders Craig Thomson, Michael Williamson and Kathy Jackson, this is yet another case of an elected or appointed official feeling somehow entitled to take advantage of the so-called “little people” who are their rank-and-file members, even though ultimately they owed everything to those they betrayed.

This week’s revelations, be they Mantach’s alleged activities or Jackson’s humiliation in court, should remind elected and appointed office holders in political parties and politically-active organisations alike that respecting the trust of their members and the public is fundamental to public life and a healthy democracy. Their position and status is a conferred privilege, not a personal fiefdom.

Fortunately, most of these office holders, across the political spectrum, work very hard to earn and retain that trust.

The Victorian Liberal Party will likely find, as the HSU has found, and indeed as federal MPs are finding with ongoing public anger over abused parliamentary “entitlements”, when the bond of trust with their ordinary members and supporters is broken, it is very, very hard to restore. But if it looks to its grass roots members, and respects and honours their values, aspirations and commitment in reforming its governance and accountability, the party will recover better and stronger for this scarifying experience.

Terry Barnes is a policy consultant, former senior Howard government adviser and member of the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party. Twitter: @TerryBarnes5.


abc.net.au

Tasmanian Liberals assure members former state director repaid all money

Thu 20 Aug 2015, 7:23pm

The Tasmanian Liberals have assured members the party is not affected by allegations former state director Damien Mantach stole $1.5 million from the election fund of the Victorian Liberal Party.

The police fraud squad is investigating the allegations against Mr Mantach, who served as state director in both Tasmania and Victoria.

The money is alleged to have vanished over four years to fund Mr Mantach’s lifestyle in Victoria.

Tasmanian Liberal Party president Geoff Page used Facebook to confirmed that Mr Mantach did owe the Tasmanian branch money in 2008.

“I have today been advised that Mr Mantach had in 2008 a liability for personal expenses to the Tasmanian division totalling $47,981.78, which was fully repaid by Mr Mantach to the division upon his departure in March of that year,” he said.

Mr Page went on to assure members he was confident no other funds had gone missing.

“As the debt was settled in full the Division considered the matter closed,” he said.

“The Tasmanian division has robust internal financial processes which, in keeping with our obligations to our membership have been periodically reviewed and continually improved since 2008 and are annually audited.”


abc.net.au

Police to investigate Liberal Party $1.5m embezzlement claims

By Jean Edwards

Thu 20 Aug 2015, 7:27pm

The police fraud squad is investigating allegations former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach embezzled around $1.5 million of election campaign funds.

The money is alleged to have vanished over four years to fund Mr Mantach’s lifestyle.

An audit of the party’s finances after last year’s state election loss uncovered unauthorised financial transactions linked to Mr Mantach, with money missing from both state and federal campaign funds.

The Victoria Police fraud and extortion squad has been called in to investigate.

Liberal Party president Michael Kroger said Mr Mantach had admitted to wrongdoing.

“We feel profoundly betrayed and terribly disappointed with what’s happened,” Mr Kroger said.

Key points:

  • Liberal Party accuses former state director of embezzling $1.5m
  • Alleged theft happened over four years
  • Victoria Police fraud and extortion squad called in to investigate
  • Party believes Mantach took the money to fund his lifestyle

He said the party believed Mr Mantach had acted alone.

“We’re not aware that anyone at the party head office or any officials had any involvement at all,” he said.

It also emerged that Mr Mantach repaid tens of thousands of dollars during his time as state director of the Tasmanian branch.

In a letter to members posted on Facebook, Tasmanian Liberal president Geoff Page said in March 2008 that when he left the role, Mr Mantach fully repaid a liability of nearly $48,000 for personal expenses.

Mr Page said the division considered the matter closed and had robust internal financial processes.

Mr Kroger said he did not believe the missing money influenced the 2014 election result, or that it would affect the next federal election.

Liberal leader Matthew Guy said the party was furious at what he called a “pretty basic effort at embezzlement”.

“We want our money back,” he said.

“We want this matter sent to the police and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that justice is done.

“I saw someone making a comment that we’re white hot with anger, that’s just the start of it.”

Mr Kroger said the missing money was confined to the party’s Victorian division and he was confident some of it could be recovered through assets bought with the funds.

Mr Kroger conceded the Liberal Party had failed to properly monitor spending.

“Obviously it should have been picked up years ago — it wasn’t,” he said.

Former premier Denis Napthine, who led the party during last year’s campaign, said he was surprised and bitterly disappointed by the allegations.

The party’s administrative committee met this morning to discuss how to deal with the missing money.

Mr Mantach has been contacted for comment.


Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 20/08/2015

Reporter: Madeleine Morris

Victoria’s Liberal Party has been blind-sided by claims a former Director stole $1.5 million of funds with the fraud squad investigating allegations and branch members asking if other financial dealings are suspect.

Transcript

SABRA LANE, PRESENTER: Victoria’s Liberal Party has been blindsided by allegations its former director stole $1.5 million of party funds.

The party believes Damian Mantach siphoned off the money using fake invoices and Victoria police is now investigating.

Liberal politicians are furious and say the loss is a slap in the face to party members.

Late today, the Tasmanian Liberal Party confirmed Mr Mantach had to repay tens of thousands of dollars in personal expenses he racked up while director of that state’s party.

Madeleine Morris reports.

LIBERAL PARTY MEMBER: We’re white hot with anger. That’s just the start of it.

DENIS NAPTHINE, FORMER VICTORIAN PREMIER: I’m surprised, I’m shocked, I’m bitterly disappointed.

MADELEINE MORRIS, REPORTER: Sombre-faced and genuinely shocked, Victorian Liberal MPs arrived this morning to be briefed on the alleged theft of $1.5 million by one of their own.

LIBERAL PARTY MEMBER II: We just want to get to the truth and the bottom of the matter.

MICHAEL KROGER, LIBERAL PARTY VIC. BRANCH: Good morning, everybody. Well as you know, the Liberal Party is today referring some matters to the Victoria Police relating to the unauthorised removal of some party funds from the party head office, solely the work of one person. It should’ve been detected a long time ago. It wasn’t, which is regrettable. And the party’s obviously gonna make sure that this never happens again.

MADELEINE MORRIS: That person is Damien Mantach, the Victorian Liberal Party’s state director until March this year. The party believes that over a period of four years, Damien Mantach siphoned off money from Victorian Liberal headquarters via fake invoices for fake work.

The irregularities were uncovered when new state Liberal president Michael Kroger ordered a forensic audit of the accounts when he took over after last year’s disastrous state election.

NICK ECONOMOU, POLITICAL ANALYST: The state Liberal Party is in a bit of trouble and it’s been subject to a great deal of internal tension. There’d been problems within the parliamentary wing of the party. That contributed of course to the Liberals’ defeat at the last state election. And we also know that there were all sorts of tensions in the party organisation, the party membership.

DENIS NAPTHINE: I’m absolutely devastated, but particularly for the candidates across the state of Victoria who worked extremely hard, for the Liberal Party members and volunteers who worked extremely hard. This is a real shock to all of us.

MADELEINE MORRIS: That includes Angelo Kakouros, chair of the party’s South Barwon branch. He’s been fielding calls from party members all day.

ANGELO KAKOUROS, CHAIR, LIBERAL PARTY SOUTH BARWON BRANCH: It is a lack of trust and great, great disappointment.

MADELEINE MORRIS: But Mr Kakouros says his branch has been worried about the former state director for some time.

ANGELO KAKOUROS: I’ve had concerns with Damien Mantach for the last three to four years as a state director and personal experience and just the way things have operated and the communication between Damien, the administrative committee and some of the people within the organisation with their communication here locally in our area.

NICK ECONOMOU: It’s a very, very big task to try and keep track of what’s going on and to keep paid full-time officials answerable and accountable in what is essentially a voluntary organisation. The state treasurer of the Liberal Party would be a volunteer after all. Now, on top of this we’re getting increasing regulation to try and regulate the flow of donations. … But I suspect that that may be encouraging clever people to be a bit tricky here and try and find ways to squirrel resources away.

MADELEINE MORRIS: Today, Michael Kroger admitted there was a systemic problem with the Liberal Party accounting and changes were being made.

MICHAEL KROGER: More people in the accounting section and different oversights in relation to levels of authorised expenditure and a greater role for the party finance committee and more attention on these matters by the party executive.

MADELEINE MORRIS: It’s not the first time Damien Mantach has been in the headlines. Two years ago, he was investigated and ultimately cleared over payments he authorised to a former Liberal staffer who quit after being implicated in a scandal that snared the Police Minister.

And late today, the Tasmanian branch of the Liberal Party confirmed Mr Mantach had to repay nearly $48,000 in personal expenses when he was Tasmanian branch state director.

The fallout today extended all the way from Spring Street to Canberra.

BRENDAN O’CONNOR, FEDERAL LABOR MP: In 2013 the Prime Minister said, and I quote, “I know Damien Mantach well. He’s a person of integrity. So let’s see where this investigation goes. He has my confidence.” Does the Prime Minister agree that this ringing endorsement is yet another failure of judgment on his part?

TONY ABBOTT, PRIME MINISTER: But I can inform the House that matters concerning the individual in question have this morning been referred to the Victorian Police.

MADELEINE MORRIS: Today, no answer at the Mantach family home and Damien Mantach couldn’t be reached on the phone.

There is palpable shock here in Victoria that this could’ve happened to the party which prides itself on good financial management, particularly amongst Liberal rank and file. One branch chair told me it was like finding out the priest had been stealing from the collection plate. But there’s also relief it’s been uncovered by the party’s new state leadership.

ANGELO KAKOUROS: Michael Kroger, the state president, he’s doing a fantastic job in order to bring honesty and transparency back into the party.

MADELEINE MORRIS: The impact for the party may yet be felt in the place it will hurt most: the coffers.

NICK ECONOMOU: The Liberal Party really does rely heavily on membership fees and donations, so I think something that might damage the reputation of the party’s fundraising ability could be really seriously damaging to the Liberal Party.

LIBERAL PARTY MEMBER III: I think this is simply a matter of we’ve been robbed. We want our money back and we want justice done. Police will investigate and i think that’s all I should say at this point in time.

SABRA LANE: Madeleine Morris reporting.


Rachael Brown reported this story on Thursday, August 20, 2015 12:20:47

 abc.net.au

 Fmr Vic Liberal state director accused of stealing $1.5m from party over four years
 TRANSCIPT

ELEANOR HALL: Let’s go now to Victoria where that state’s branch of the Liberal Party is having some trouble of its own.

The Liberal leader Matthew Guy has accused the former state director of the Victorian Liberal Party, Damien Mantach, of embezzling $1.5 million in the election campaign funds.

Mr Guy says his party is “white hot” with anger, and that the funds could’ve made a difference in last year’s election.

In Melbourne, Rachael Brown reports.

RACHAEL BROWN: The Liberal Party says discrepancies were uncovered during a forensic audit of the party’s funds after last year’s state election loss.

The party’s former state director Damien Mantach is being accused of stealing $1.5 million over four years, but the audit continues.

Mr Mantach has not responded to the ABC’s calls.

Liberal party members were called into a crisis meeting this morning, and heading in, the party leader Matthew Guy made no attempt to mask his feelings.

MATTHEW GUY: We are furious; we want our money back.

RACHAEL BROWN: The matter has been referred to the Victoria Police Fraud and Extortion Squad, which says it’s investigating the disappearance of funds, but can’t comment further.

Mr Guy says, if the allegations prove true, it’s a massive betrayal of trust.

MATTHEW GUY: An enormous part of our election war chest, enormous. People did a lot of work to get that. I mean, we have a fundraising team who’ve done a huge amount of work; they’re always under a lot of scrutiny as you can imagine, and a lot of pressure.

But they’ve done a huge amount of work. We’ve got a lot of supporters, a lot of branch people who have worked their guts out for this party. And for what it appears to be one individual to do this to us leaves us bitterly cold.

RACHAEL BROWN: The Liberal party leader says the funds could’ve changed last year’s election result, which saw Labor’s Daniel Andrews dismissing the Napthine Coalition government.

Denis Napthine, who led the Victoria’s first one-term government in 60 years, says the fraud allegation is shocking and bitterly disappointing.

The party’s new president, Michael Kroger, has released a statement saying, when the audit turned up suspicious transactions amounting to $1.5 million between 2010 and 2014, Damien Mantach was asked to explain himself.

It was after this discussion that the party’s administrative committee voted to refer the matter to police.

Mr Kroger admits there’s a weakness with the Liberal Party’s checks and balances.

MICHAEL KROGER: Yeah, well on this occasion they clearly failed. So yep, quite up front about that. I’ve only been in the job four months, as you know. This has been going on for four years, so you know, it should have been picked up before and wasn’t, unfortunately.

RACHAEL BROWN: But he says there won’t be a clean out of branch holders, that the alleged fraud didn’t extend to other employees, officials or office bearers, and was limited to the party’s Melbourne headquarters.

He says civil action hasn’t been decided on.

MICHAEL KROGER: We’re sensitive to a number of issues, including the fact the person involved has a wife and family, and there are other matters which we want to take into account. But yes, we’ll be recovering a good deal of the funds in a cooperative relationship with the person involved.

RACHAEL BROWN: Mr Kroger says he doesn’t know where the money’s gone.

And he’s hit back at a suggestion that this is in a similar vein to the trade union boss Kathy Jackson being forced to repay $1.4 million of misappropriated members’ funds.

MICHAEL KROGER: When the Liberal party becomes aware of a serious matter like this, what do we do?

We investigate it quickly, we report it to the appropriate authorities, who in this case will be the Victoria Police. We don’t hide it; we don’t ignore it; we deal with it.

On the other hand, it’s taken a royal commission at massive public expense bringing these union and Labor leaders kicking and screaming before the public to get any type of information from them at all, at massive public expense. And even now they want to sack the umpire.

RACHAEL BROWN: One commentator has told The World Today that there might be more to this than meets the eye.

Damian Mantach stepped down from the director’s job in March. A couple of years ago he was one of the senior Liberals secretly recorded during the police command crisis that led to Ted Baillieu resigning as premier.

The commentator says this audit and slur on a former power player in the executive committee might have more to do with the ongoing power struggle and factional rifts at the upper levels of the Victorian Liberal party.

ELEANOR HALL: Rachael Brown with that report.


Damien Mantach embezzlement -Finger pointing begins over Liberals’ stolen cash


The police fraud squad is investigating allegations former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach embezzled around $1.5 million of election campaign funds.

The police fraud squad is investigating allegations former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach embezzled around $1.5 million of election campaign funds.

Embezzlement allegation: The Liberal Party will have to rebuild trust

The Drum

Opinion

Fri 21 Aug 2015, 9:58am

It’s the thousands of ordinary Liberal Party members who should feel most outraged at the alleged embezzlement of $1.5 million of campaign funds. And the party hierarchy will have to work hard to earn their trust back, writes Terry Barnes.

The Victorian Liberal Party is in a state of deep shock after revelations its former state director, Damien Mantach, is accused of embezzling $1.5 million of party funds over a number of years.

While investigations are continuing, Victorian Liberal president, Michael Kroger, has emailed party members saying that Mantach is the only person in the frame, and all will be done to recover as much of the missing funds as possible.

It appears a breathtaking $1.5 million of party funds was diverted for personal benefit. Victorian Liberal parliamentary leader, Matthew Guy, said that what was taken was “a very significant portion of the money raised by the party in fundraising … People did a lot of work to get that. We all feel completely gutted and furious”.

There certainly will be former Victorian Liberal MPs closely defeated in last November’s state election whose anger will be, like Guy’s, white-hot, sharing his view that the missing funds could have saved their campaigns. Current marginal seat federal MPs will feel likewise. But having escaped with their parliamentary pensions or severance packages, they personally got off lightly.

What really angers and disappoints about Mantach’s alleged actions is that they were not really stealing from a mere corporate entity, the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party of Australia. Nor did they ruin the large corporate donors and high net worth individuals who donate to political parties, because that is part of what they do to build political networks, relationships and influence.

No, the grand embezzlement and the governance failures that allowed it to happen are above all an utter betrayal of, and insult to, thousands of ordinary Liberal Party members and supporters across Victoria who are not wealthy or personally powerful but are the soul of the party.

They’re the ones who turn out in all weather at election times to support MPs and candidates, door-knock, stuff letterboxes and talk up the Liberal cause to anyone who will listen.

They’re the ones who greet you at the polling booth on election days with a smile and a how-to-vote card, and look forward to bantering with voters and their counterparts from other parties.

They’re the ones who faithfully attend branch meetings, local party events, run the trivia and soup nights, and buy the tickets in the raffle that inevitably is a part of any political gathering – and donate back the prizes.

They’re the ones who drive up to hundreds of kilometres to attend party councils and pre-selection conventions.

They’re the ones who organise local electorate fundraising functions, work tirelessly to make them well-attended and successful, and cheerfully endure the proverbial rubber chicken and drinks at bar prices, because they buy their own tickets as well as sell them.

They’re the ones who pay membership subscriptions or respond to bigwigs’ circular appeals for donations. Many may not be able to afford to give much, but their trickles join to become a funding river for the party: a river, it seems, that can easily be dipped into by the unscrupulous.

And they’re the ones who are most entitled to feel gutted and angry at what has happened.

As a group, most ordinary members of the Liberal Party are older and more conservative than their MPs. They are often retired, and volunteer for party work because it gives them the satisfaction of furthering a cause, or an MP or candidate, they believe in passionately.

Others are young activists with stars in their eyes and idealism in their hearts.

Unlike the likes of Malcolm Turnbull, most Liberal rank-and-file members don’t have palatial mansions to go home to, nor much spare cash. Contrary to the Liberal silvertail image, many members and local Liberal supporters are students, pensioners or self-funded retirees on very modest incomes, and donate what they often can ill afford.

Yet they do so willingly and turn out for the party because they believe, as the Victorian Division’s website is bannered, that “The Liberal Party exists to provide high quality governments that empower people to solve the major challenges they face in their lives”.

This grassroots faith is what’s been shaken to its core by what has happened.

The Liberal organisation will recover and be reformed. As incoming Victorian president earlier this year, taking office just as Mantach left, Kroger was refreshingly open and honest with his members and the public as soon as the appalling situation was confirmed. That welcome candour is a good start to rebuilding trust in a crisis.

But just as with former Health Services Union leaders Craig Thomson, Michael Williamson and Kathy Jackson, this is yet another case of an elected or appointed official feeling somehow entitled to take advantage of the so-called “little people” who are their rank-and-file members, even though ultimately they owed everything to those they betrayed.

This week’s revelations, be they Mantach’s alleged activities or Jackson’s humiliation in court, should remind elected and appointed office holders in political parties and politically-active organisations alike that respecting the trust of their members and the public is fundamental to public life and a healthy democracy. Their position and status is a conferred privilege, not a personal fiefdom.

Fortunately, most of these office holders, across the political spectrum, work very hard to earn and retain that trust.

The Victorian Liberal Party will likely find, as the HSU has found, and indeed as federal MPs are finding with ongoing public anger over abused parliamentary “entitlements”, when the bond of trust with their ordinary members and supporters is broken, it is very, very hard to restore. But if it looks to its grass roots members, and respects and honours their values, aspirations and commitment in reforming its governance and accountability, the party will recover better and stronger for this scarifying experience.

Terry Barnes is a policy consultant, former senior Howard government adviser and member of the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party. Twitter: @TerryBarnes5.

Click image below to enlarge

The police fraud squad is investigating allegations former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach embezzled around $1.5 million of election campaign funds.

The police fraud squad is investigating allegations former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach embezzled around $1.5 million of election campaign funds.


abc.net.au

Tasmanian Liberals assure members former state director repaid all money

Thu 20 Aug 2015, 7:23pm

The Tasmanian Liberals have assured members the party is not affected by allegations former state director Damien Mantach stole $1.5 million from the election fund of the Victorian Liberal Party.

The police fraud squad is investigating the allegations against Mr Mantach, who served as state director in both Tasmania and Victoria.

The money is alleged to have vanished over four years to fund Mr Mantach’s lifestyle in Victoria.

Tasmanian Liberal Party president Geoff Page used Facebook to confirmed that Mr Mantach did owe the Tasmanian branch money in 2008.

“I have today been advised that Mr Mantach had in 2008 a liability for personal expenses to the Tasmanian division totalling $47,981.78, which was fully repaid by Mr Mantach to the division upon his departure in March of that year,” he said.

Mr Page went on to assure members he was confident no other funds had gone missing.

“As the debt was settled in full the Division considered the matter closed,” he said.

“The Tasmanian division has robust internal financial processes which, in keeping with our obligations to our membership have been periodically reviewed and continually improved since 2008 and are annually audited.”


abc.net.au

Police to investigate Liberal Party $1.5m embezzlement claims

By Jean Edwards

Thu 20 Aug 2015, 7:27pm

The police fraud squad is investigating allegations former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach embezzled around $1.5 million of election campaign funds.

The money is alleged to have vanished over four years to fund Mr Mantach’s lifestyle.

An audit of the party’s finances after last year’s state election loss uncovered unauthorised financial transactions linked to Mr Mantach, with money missing from both state and federal campaign funds.

The Victoria Police fraud and extortion squad has been called in to investigate.

Liberal Party president Michael Kroger said Mr Mantach had admitted to wrongdoing.

“We feel profoundly betrayed and terribly disappointed with what’s happened,” Mr Kroger said.

Key points:

  • Liberal Party accuses former state director of embezzling $1.5m
  • Alleged theft happened over four years
  • Victoria Police fraud and extortion squad called in to investigate
  • Party believes Mantach took the money to fund his lifestyle

He said the party believed Mr Mantach had acted alone.

“We’re not aware that anyone at the party head office or any officials had any involvement at all,” he said.

It also emerged that Mr Mantach repaid tens of thousands of dollars during his time as state director of the Tasmanian branch.

In a letter to members posted on Facebook, Tasmanian Liberal president Geoff Page said in March 2008 that when he left the role, Mr Mantach fully repaid a liability of nearly $48,000 for personal expenses.

Mr Page said the division considered the matter closed and had robust internal financial processes.

Mr Kroger said he did not believe the missing money influenced the 2014 election result, or that it would affect the next federal election.

Liberal leader Matthew Guy said the party was furious at what he called a “pretty basic effort at embezzlement”.

“We want our money back,” he said.

“We want this matter sent to the police and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that justice is done.

“I saw someone making a comment that we’re white hot with anger, that’s just the start of it.”

Mr Kroger said the missing money was confined to the party’s Victorian division and he was confident some of it could be recovered through assets bought with the funds.

Mr Kroger conceded the Liberal Party had failed to properly monitor spending.

“Obviously it should have been picked up years ago — it wasn’t,” he said.

Former premier Denis Napthine, who led the party during last year’s campaign, said he was surprised and bitterly disappointed by the allegations.

The party’s administrative committee met this morning to discuss how to deal with the missing money.

Mr Mantach has been contacted for comment.


Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 20/08/2015

Reporter: Madeleine Morris

Victoria’s Liberal Party has been blind-sided by claims a former Director stole $1.5 million of funds with the fraud squad investigating allegations and branch members asking if other financial dealings are suspect.

Transcript

SABRA LANE, PRESENTER: Victoria’s Liberal Party has been blindsided by allegations its former director stole $1.5 million of party funds.

The party believes Damian Mantach siphoned off the money using fake invoices and Victoria police is now investigating.

Liberal politicians are furious and say the loss is a slap in the face to party members.

Late today, the Tasmanian Liberal Party confirmed Mr Mantach had to repay tens of thousands of dollars in personal expenses he racked up while director of that state’s party.

Madeleine Morris reports.

LIBERAL PARTY MEMBER: We’re white hot with anger. That’s just the start of it.

DENIS NAPTHINE, FORMER VICTORIAN PREMIER: I’m surprised, I’m shocked, I’m bitterly disappointed.

MADELEINE MORRIS, REPORTER: Sombre-faced and genuinely shocked, Victorian Liberal MPs arrived this morning to be briefed on the alleged theft of $1.5 million by one of their own.

LIBERAL PARTY MEMBER II: We just want to get to the truth and the bottom of the matter.

MICHAEL KROGER, LIBERAL PARTY VIC. BRANCH: Good morning, everybody. Well as you know, the Liberal Party is today referring some matters to the Victoria Police relating to the unauthorised removal of some party funds from the party head office, solely the work of one person. It should’ve been detected a long time ago. It wasn’t, which is regrettable. And the party’s obviously gonna make sure that this never happens again.

MADELEINE MORRIS: That person is Damien Mantach, the Victorian Liberal Party’s state director until March this year. The party believes that over a period of four years, Damien Mantach siphoned off money from Victorian Liberal headquarters via fake invoices for fake work.

The irregularities were uncovered when new state Liberal president Michael Kroger ordered a forensic audit of the accounts when he took over after last year’s disastrous state election.

NICK ECONOMOU, POLITICAL ANALYST: The state Liberal Party is in a bit of trouble and it’s been subject to a great deal of internal tension. There’d been problems within the parliamentary wing of the party. That contributed of course to the Liberals’ defeat at the last state election. And we also know that there were all sorts of tensions in the party organisation, the party membership.

DENIS NAPTHINE: I’m absolutely devastated, but particularly for the candidates across the state of Victoria who worked extremely hard, for the Liberal Party members and volunteers who worked extremely hard. This is a real shock to all of us.

MADELEINE MORRIS: That includes Angelo Kakouros, chair of the party’s South Barwon branch. He’s been fielding calls from party members all day.

ANGELO KAKOUROS, CHAIR, LIBERAL PARTY SOUTH BARWON BRANCH: It is a lack of trust and great, great disappointment.

MADELEINE MORRIS: But Mr Kakouros says his branch has been worried about the former state director for some time.

ANGELO KAKOUROS: I’ve had concerns with Damien Mantach for the last three to four years as a state director and personal experience and just the way things have operated and the communication between Damien, the administrative committee and some of the people within the organisation with their communication here locally in our area.

NICK ECONOMOU: It’s a very, very big task to try and keep track of what’s going on and to keep paid full-time officials answerable and accountable in what is essentially a voluntary organisation. The state treasurer of the Liberal Party would be a volunteer after all. Now, on top of this we’re getting increasing regulation to try and regulate the flow of donations. … But I suspect that that may be encouraging clever people to be a bit tricky here and try and find ways to squirrel resources away.

MADELEINE MORRIS: Today, Michael Kroger admitted there was a systemic problem with the Liberal Party accounting and changes were being made.

MICHAEL KROGER: More people in the accounting section and different oversights in relation to levels of authorised expenditure and a greater role for the party finance committee and more attention on these matters by the party executive.

MADELEINE MORRIS: It’s not the first time Damien Mantach has been in the headlines. Two years ago, he was investigated and ultimately cleared over payments he authorised to a former Liberal staffer who quit after being implicated in a scandal that snared the Police Minister.

And late today, the Tasmanian branch of the Liberal Party confirmed Mr Mantach had to repay nearly $48,000 in personal expenses when he was Tasmanian branch state director.

The fallout today extended all the way from Spring Street to Canberra.

BRENDAN O’CONNOR, FEDERAL LABOR MP: In 2013 the Prime Minister said, and I quote, “I know Damien Mantach well. He’s a person of integrity. So let’s see where this investigation goes. He has my confidence.” Does the Prime Minister agree that this ringing endorsement is yet another failure of judgment on his part?

TONY ABBOTT, PRIME MINISTER: But I can inform the House that matters concerning the individual in question have this morning been referred to the Victorian Police.

MADELEINE MORRIS: Today, no answer at the Mantach family home and Damien Mantach couldn’t be reached on the phone.

There is palpable shock here in Victoria that this could’ve happened to the party which prides itself on good financial management, particularly amongst Liberal rank and file. One branch chair told me it was like finding out the priest had been stealing from the collection plate. But there’s also relief it’s been uncovered by the party’s new state leadership.

ANGELO KAKOUROS: Michael Kroger, the state president, he’s doing a fantastic job in order to bring honesty and transparency back into the party.

MADELEINE MORRIS: The impact for the party may yet be felt in the place it will hurt most: the coffers.

NICK ECONOMOU: The Liberal Party really does rely heavily on membership fees and donations, so I think something that might damage the reputation of the party’s fundraising ability could be really seriously damaging to the Liberal Party.

LIBERAL PARTY MEMBER III: I think this is simply a matter of we’ve been robbed. We want our money back and we want justice done. Police will investigate and i think that’s all I should say at this point in time.

SABRA LANE: Madeleine Morris reporting.


Rachael Brown reported this story on Thursday, August 20, 2015 12:20:47

 abc.net.au

 Fmr Vic Liberal state director accused of stealing $1.5m from party over four years
 TRANSCIPT

ELEANOR HALL: Let’s go now to Victoria where that state’s branch of the Liberal Party is having some trouble of its own.

The Liberal leader Matthew Guy has accused the former state director of the Victorian Liberal Party, Damien Mantach, of embezzling $1.5 million in the election campaign funds.

Mr Guy says his party is “white hot” with anger, and that the funds could’ve made a difference in last year’s election.

In Melbourne, Rachael Brown reports.

RACHAEL BROWN: The Liberal Party says discrepancies were uncovered during a forensic audit of the party’s funds after last year’s state election loss.

The party’s former state director Damien Mantach is being accused of stealing $1.5 million over four years, but the audit continues.

Mr Mantach has not responded to the ABC’s calls.

Liberal party members were called into a crisis meeting this morning, and heading in, the party leader Matthew Guy made no attempt to mask his feelings.

MATTHEW GUY: We are furious; we want our money back.

RACHAEL BROWN: The matter has been referred to the Victoria Police Fraud and Extortion Squad, which says it’s investigating the disappearance of funds, but can’t comment further.

Mr Guy says, if the allegations prove true, it’s a massive betrayal of trust.

MATTHEW GUY: An enormous part of our election war chest, enormous. People did a lot of work to get that. I mean, we have a fundraising team who’ve done a huge amount of work; they’re always under a lot of scrutiny as you can imagine, and a lot of pressure.

But they’ve done a huge amount of work. We’ve got a lot of supporters, a lot of branch people who have worked their guts out for this party. And for what it appears to be one individual to do this to us leaves us bitterly cold.

RACHAEL BROWN: The Liberal party leader says the funds could’ve changed last year’s election result, which saw Labor’s Daniel Andrews dismissing the Napthine Coalition government.

Denis Napthine, who led the Victoria’s first one-term government in 60 years, says the fraud allegation is shocking and bitterly disappointing.

The party’s new president, Michael Kroger, has released a statement saying, when the audit turned up suspicious transactions amounting to $1.5 million between 2010 and 2014, Damien Mantach was asked to explain himself.

It was after this discussion that the party’s administrative committee voted to refer the matter to police.

Mr Kroger admits there’s a weakness with the Liberal Party’s checks and balances.

MICHAEL KROGER: Yeah, well on this occasion they clearly failed. So yep, quite up front about that. I’ve only been in the job four months, as you know. This has been going on for four years, so you know, it should have been picked up before and wasn’t, unfortunately.

RACHAEL BROWN: But he says there won’t be a clean out of branch holders, that the alleged fraud didn’t extend to other employees, officials or office bearers, and was limited to the party’s Melbourne headquarters.

He says civil action hasn’t been decided on.

MICHAEL KROGER: We’re sensitive to a number of issues, including the fact the person involved has a wife and family, and there are other matters which we want to take into account. But yes, we’ll be recovering a good deal of the funds in a cooperative relationship with the person involved.

RACHAEL BROWN: Mr Kroger says he doesn’t know where the money’s gone.

And he’s hit back at a suggestion that this is in a similar vein to the trade union boss Kathy Jackson being forced to repay $1.4 million of misappropriated members’ funds.

MICHAEL KROGER: When the Liberal party becomes aware of a serious matter like this, what do we do?

We investigate it quickly, we report it to the appropriate authorities, who in this case will be the Victoria Police. We don’t hide it; we don’t ignore it; we deal with it.

On the other hand, it’s taken a royal commission at massive public expense bringing these union and Labor leaders kicking and screaming before the public to get any type of information from them at all, at massive public expense. And even now they want to sack the umpire.

RACHAEL BROWN: One commentator has told The World Today that there might be more to this than meets the eye.

Damian Mantach stepped down from the director’s job in March. A couple of years ago he was one of the senior Liberals secretly recorded during the police command crisis that led to Ted Baillieu resigning as premier.

The commentator says this audit and slur on a former power player in the executive committee might have more to do with the ongoing power struggle and factional rifts at the upper levels of the Victorian Liberal party.

ELEANOR HALL: Rachael Brown with that report.



news.com.au

Finger pointing begins over Liberals’ stolen cash

http://www.news.com.au/video/id-NwMjY0dzqkwzxK6FCG9JiP2ATp0m5WyG/Police-to-investigate-alleged-Vic-Lib-fraud

Vic detectives will investigate the alleged embezzlement of $1.5 million of Liberal party funds.

Victorian detectives will investigate the alleged embezzlement of $1.5 million of Liberal

Victorian detectives will investigate the alleged embezzlement of $1.5 million of Liberal party funds by former state director Damien Mantach. Source: AAP

VICTORIA’S Liberal Party didn’t lose the 2014 election because its then state director stole $1.5 million from campaign funds, current state president Michael Kroger says.

Former Victorian Liberal director Damien Mantach has admitted to stealing money from the party over a four-year period going into the state election.

On a bad day for Mr Mantach, his Liberal Party email address was also found in the leaked Ashley Madison database, although there is no evidence he specifically signed up to the site.

Mr Mantach, who was on a $200,000-a-year salary, allegedly used the money to pay his mortgage, fund his lifestyle and build a half-a-million dollar share portfolio, the Herald Sun reports.

When asked about the alleged theft, his wife Jodie Mantach told the paper she no longer wants “anything to do with him”.

Mr Kroger said the party did not lose the election because of a lack of funds.

“The ability of the party to continue to operate and fund its campaigns has not been compromised,” a party statement said.

Mr Kroger said the party was strengthening its financial controls after the details of the theft became clear.

The $1.5 million theft has been referred to Victoria Police and Mr Kroger is hopeful some of it can be recovered.

The Ocean Grove home owned by former Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach.

The Ocean Grove home owned by former Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach. Source: News Corp Australia

The Liberals’ Tasmanian division president Geoff Page later confirmed Mr Mantach’s history of questionable spending dating back to 2008.

Mr Mantach repaid almost $50,000 in “personal expenses” before leaving his position with the Tasmanian branch to move to Victoria. “Mr Mantach had in 2008 a liability for personal expenses to the Tasmanian division totalling $47,981.78, which was fully repaid by Mr Mantach to the division upon his departure in March of that year,” Mr Page said in a post on the Tasmanian Liberals’ Facebook page.

Finger pointing has begun within the party, with the Liberals’ federal director — and husband of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s chief-of-staff, Peta Credlin — Brian Loughnane reportedly being blamed for his appointment.

A RORTER’S DREAM JOB

As state director of the Victorian Liberal Party, Mr Mantach’s role was a rorter’s dream.

He had the final say on budget line items, such as polling research, that the party treasurer was not allowed to see. It allowed him to bill the party with invoices — some created on his work computer — for jobs that did not exist.

Mr Mantach resigned after the 2014 state election loss but had to face the music on Monday when the party’s lawyers called him to a meeting.

His lawyer arrived on Tuesday in an attempt to cut a deal when the party thought he had stolen around $800,000.

The Liberals wanted complete disclosure and Mr Mantach allegedly spent hours with officials on Wednesday explaining the full extent of his theft.

“We feel profoundly betrayed and terribly disappointed with what’s happened,” Mr Kroger told reporters on Thursday.

“It appears it was only Damien involved. If the police find others, fine, but we’re not aware that anyone at the party head office or any officials had any involvement at all.” Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy said members were “gutted” after raising funds for the state and federal election campaigns. “The party is furious, we want our money back, we want this matter sent to the police, and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that justice is done,” he said.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission was called on to examine secret phone recordings of senior Liberal figures in 2013, including Mr Mantach, though it was found an investigation was not warranted.

“I know Damien Mantach well. He is a person of integrity. So let’s see where this investigation goes. He has my confidence,” Tony Abbott said at the time when he was opposition leader.

Asked about the $1.5 million theft on Thursday, Prime Minister Abbott said it was a matter for the Victorian division of the party.

Mr Mantach did not respond to attempts to contact him on yesterday.

Victoria Police have launched an investigation.

The Prime Minister’s chief-of-staff Peta Credlin and husband Brian Loughnane. The Liberal

The Prime Minister’s chief-of-staff Peta Credlin and husband Brian Loughnane. The Liberal Party’s federal director is being blamed for appointing Mr Mentach. Source: News Corp Australia


Maggie Kirkpatrick, The FREAK from Prisoner, appeals against conviction on child sex offences


A joke of a sentence for the freak, with all respect, had been married but known to be gay. Seeking to feed inner fantasy’s back in the day maybe? Either way took advantage of a young vulnerable girl

Maggie Kirkpatrick, Prisoner star, appeals against conviction on child sex offences

update 07/12/15

abc.net.au

Actor Maggie Kirkpatrick appeals against child sexual abuse conviction

By Jessica Longbottom

Updated about 4 hours agoMon 7 Dec 2015, 4:13pm

Australian actor Maggie Kirkpatrick has emphatically denied sexually assaulting a teenage girl 31 years ago, as she fights to have a conviction against her overturned.

Kirkpatrick starred in the hit TV show Prisoner, playing “The Freak” in the 1980s.

She was found guilty in Melbourne Magistrate’s Court in August of two charges of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency against the girl.

The magistrate found the 14-year-old fan was abused by Kirkpatrick in the bedroom of her Prahran home in 1984.

She was given an 18-month community corrections order, required to complete 100 hours of community service and placed on the sex offender register for eight years.

The 74-year-old did not give evidence in that trial, but today took the stand in Melbourne’s County Court to staunchly deny the allegations against her.

When asked numerous times whether she assaulted the victim, Kirkpatrick repeatedly answered: “I did not”.

Kirkpatrick agreed she picked the victim up from a Melbourne psychiatric facility and took her to her Prahran home to cook her dinner.

She had been put in touch with her through a contact in the film industry, who was also staying in the psychiatric facility at the time.

Kirkpatrick told the court she thought it was an opportunity to give someone who was disturbed a bit of “home life” for the day.

“I saw it as an act of kindness,” Kirkpatrick said.

She said she did not know how old the girl was, but sent her back to the hospital in a taxi after she caught her sneaking alcohol without her permission.

“It made me feel quite uncomfortable [because of the] seeming reliance she may have been forming towards me,” she said.

Kirkpatrick said she probably would have shown the girl around her home, as well as shown her her bedroom.

Earlier the victim again gave evidence, while the court was closed to the general public and the media.

The court also heard accounts from a childhood friend of the victim and her then psychiatrist, who both said she had a troubled home life as well as drug problems.

The court also heard the victim self harmed and was suicidal around the time Kirkpatrick abused her.

County Court Judge Geoffrey Chettle will deliver his judgement on Tuesday morning.

21/08/15

Australian actor Maggie Kirkpatrick, who starred as “The Freak” in the hit television show Prisoner, has filed an appeal over her conviction on child sex offences committed 31 years ago.

Maggie Kirkpatrick, Prisoner star, found guilty of child sex offences

Maggie Kirkpatrick, Prisoner star, found guilty of child sex offences

Kirkpatrick, 74, was found guilty of two charges of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency with a 14-year-old girl at Kirkpatrick’s Prahran home in 1984, after picking up the teenager from a psychiatric hospital.

Her lawyer said Kirkpatrick maintains her innocence.

The case is set to return to court on September 11.

Kirkpatrick was earlier given an 18-month community corrections order, meaning she would serve her sentence in the community, not prison.

The actor would also be required to complete 100 hours of community service and would be placed on the sex offenders’ register for eight years.

In sentencing, magistrate Peter Mealy said Kirkpatrick had shown no remorse for her actions.

“The victim here was a vulnerable 14-year-old child. The defendant would have known her to be especially vulnerable in view of her being an inpatient at a psychiatric [hospital],” he said.

“The defendant has had the opportunity of watching the unedifying spectacle of the [victim] recounting the offending and being subjected to extensive and vigorous cross examination.

“All along to this point the defendant showed no remorse instead simply protesting at a distance to, in her terms, the untrue and malicious allegations.”

The court was earlier told the victim had not reported the abuse until 2013 because she thought everyone would think she was crazy.

The court heard the teenager had organised a meeting with the actor through a person she met while admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Kew, in Melbourne’s inner east.

Kirkpatrick collected the girl from the hospital and then the pair went back to the actor’s home and shared a meal.

The court heard the pair then ended up in Kirkpatrick’s bedroom, where the abuse took place, before the girl was taken back to the hospital.

In a recorded police interview shown in court, Kirkpatrick maintained she had taken the girl home for dinner but did not abuse her.

She said she was giving the teenager “a day out” in an act of “kindness”.


Maggie Kirkpatrick, Prisoner star, found guilty of child sex offences

Updated yesterday at 8:06pm

Australian actor Maggie Kirkpatrick, who starred as “The Freak” in the hit television show Prisoner, has been found guilty of child sex offences committed 31 years ago.

Kirkpatrick, 74, had denied the two charges of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency with a person under 16.

The court was told on Wednesday that the victim, who cannot be named, was abused at Kirkpatrick’s Prahran home in 1984.

Kirkpatrick was well known for her role as a prison warden in the popular 1980s television series Prisoner.

Today, Magistrate Peter Mealy found her accuser was “a witness of truth”.

Kirkpatrick’s bail was extended and will now be assessed for a Community Corrections Order, meaning she is unlikely to be given a prison term.

She will be sentenced on Friday.

The court had earlier been told the victim had not reported the abuse until 2013 because she thought everyone would think she was crazy.

It was told the teenager had organised a meeting with the actor in 1984 through a person she met while admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Kew, in Melbourne’s inner east.

Kirkpatrick collected the girl from the hospital and then the pair went back to the actor’s home and shared a meal.

The pair then ended up in Kirkpatrick’s bedroom, where the alleged abuse took place, before the girl was taken back to the hospital.

Kirkpatrick told police charges were ‘false and malicious’

In a recorded police interview shown in court, Kirkpatrick said she had taken the girl home for dinner but did not abuse her.

She said she was giving the teenager “a day out” in an act of “kindness”.

She told police she had sent the girl away in a taxi after she caught her raiding her alcohol cabinet and “felt I should put a stop to it”.

Later in the interview said she “did not have anything to say other than they’re false and malicious in my mind”.

“These [accusations] are making me feel quite ill,” she told police.

A high school friend of the victim told the hearing that the girl was a “big fan” of the TV show at the time.

The husband of the victim said his wife had raised the abuse after she became uncomfortable during an “intimate” conversation.

“She told me that she’d been invited to a person’s place or a lady’s place and that person was the nasty one on Prisoner … she just said that … some sexual things happened but she didn’t elaborate,” he said.


Maggie Kirkpatrick: Alleged child sexual abuse victim of TV star had ‘Prisoner obsession’

Updated Wed at 5:20pm

The woman who has accused a star of the hit Australian television drama Prisoner of abusing her as a child was a “big fan” of the show, a Melbourne court has heard.

Maggie Kirkpatrick, 74, has denied two charges of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency with a person under 16.

She was well-known for her role as a prison warden nicknamed “The Freak” in the popular 1980s television series.

Detective Senior Constable Katherine Mitchell told the court the alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told police she had been abused by Kirkpatrick at the actor’s Prahran home when she was 14.

It allegedly took place in 1984.

In a statement read to the court, the alleged victim said she had not reported the abuse until two years ago because everyone would think she was crazy.

It said the victim had organised meeting the actor through a person she met while she had been admitted to the Newhaven psychiatric hospital in Kew.

It was alleged that Kirkpatrick collected the victim from the hospital and took her back to Kirkpatrick’s home, where they shared a meal.

She said the pair then ended up in Kirkpatrick’s bedroom, where the alleged abuse took place.

The victim said she was then given a yellow coloured jumper and a signed photograph and driven back to the hospital.

You have astonished me with those allegations… it’s beyond comprehension.

She also told police she recalled Kirkpatrick being most disappointed as she was not sexually experienced.

The court was shown Kirkpatrick’s videotaped police interview, in which she admitted taking the teenager back to her home for dinner but denied abusing her.

The actor said she sent the girl away in a taxi after she caught her raiding her alcohol cabinet.

“It was a kindness to give her a day out,” Kirkpatrick said during the interview.

“I then became a tad uncomfortable as while I was cooking and having a glass of wine, she decided to get into the alcohol in the dining room… I felt I should put a stop to it.”

Kirkpatrick initially waived her right not to answer any questions but later said she “did not have anything to say other than they’re false and malicious in my mind”.

“These [accusations] are making me feel quite ill,” she said.

“You have astonished me with those allegations… it’s beyond comprehension.”

Victim told husband of alleged abuse years later

A witness told the hearing that the alleged victim was a “big fan” of the TV show when she was a teenager.

The witness said she became high school friends with the alleged victim and remembered visiting her when she was in hospital.

She recalled the alleged victim telling her she had met Kirkpatrick.

“By my memory it was when she was at Newhaven and I don’t recall any of the particulars, just her making reference to it and her being very excited,” the witness said.

“The only thing I recall was an invitation [for her] to go somewhere … with Maggie.

“I remember that she was a big fan of the show and watched it religiously and would often refer to what she’d seen in the show, different episodes.”

The witness agreed with defence suggestions describing the alleged victim as having a “Prisoner obsession” and being a “Prisoner freak”.

The husband of the alleged victim told the court that his wife became uncomfortable during an “intimate” conversation they had in the mid 2000s.

“She told me that she’d been invited to a person’s place or a lady’s place and that person was the nasty one on Prisoner … she just said that … some sexual things happened but she didn’t elaborate,” he said.

Kirkpatrick did not comment to reporters outside court.

The hearing before Magistrate Peter Mealy is continuing.


 

Karlie Pearce-Stevenson’s accused murderer Daniel Holdom charged over murder of toddler Khandalyce Kiara Pearce


Update 15/12/15

 

The man charged with Karlie Pearce-Stevenson’s murder has now also been charged with the murder of her daughter Khandalyce.

Daniel Holdom, 41, was arrested at Parramatta police station this morning.

“We will be alleging in court that Khandalyce was murdered in New South Wales shortly after the murder of Karlie,” Detective Superintendent Mick Willing said.

“I’m talking a number of days.”

He said he expected Holdom to face Parramatta Local Court this afternoon.

“This has been a very intense investigation,” Detective Superintendent Willing said.

“We would like to thank the public and the media for their assistance.

“We would not have been able to lay the charges we have laid without the assistance of the public.

“Karlie and Khandalyce’s family were notified of today’s events earlier today and have indicated they welcome the news.

“Our thoughts remain with them.”

He encouraged anyone who had information about the matters who had not been in touch with the police to contact police now.

Holdom was charged in October with murdering Ms Pearce-Stevenson in or near the Belanglo State Forest in December 2008.

Khandalyce’s skeletal remains were discovered in July this year after being dumped in a suitcase alongside the Karoonda Highway in South Australia’s Murray Mallee, more than 1,000 kilometres away from where her mother’s remains had been found.

Detectives in South Australia and New South Wales were able to link the two cold case murders after two separate calls to Crime Stoppers.

Both Khandalyce and her mother were reported missing in the Northern Territory on September 4, 2009, by Ms Stevenson-Pearce’s mother, but police said the report was later withdrawn.

Ms Pearce-Stevenson was a single mother and had moved away from her family with Khandalyce between 2006 and 2008, intending to travel and work.

She was last seen driving a car with Khandalyce on the Stuart Highway near Coober Pedy on November 8, 2008.

Police said Ms Stevenson-Pearce was aged 20 at the time while Khandalyce was aged two.

More than 100 mourners gathered at the Alice Springs Desert Church for the private farewell for the pair earlier this month.

A group of people released dozens of pink and blue balloons outside the church at the conclusion of the service.

The mother and daughter were buried together in a small white coffin at a local cemetery, next to Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s mother Colleen Povey, who died in 2012.

Earlier this year new photos of Khandalyce were found on the Facebook page of Hazel Passmore, an ex-girlfriend of Holdom.

It is understood police will allege Ms Passmore was the same woman who impersonated Ms Pearce-Stevenson in 2010.

Police have also said Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s bank account was used to access almost $100,000 and her phone used to contact family to make it look like she was still alive long after she was dead.

Updated 34 minutes ago 27/10/15

Murder victim Karlie Pearce-Stevenson’s bank account was used to access almost $100,000 and her phone used to contact family to make it look like she was still alive, police have revealed.

The woman’s bank account was accessed on hundreds of occasions after she was last seen alive late 2008, Detective Superintendent Des Bray of the Major Crime Investigation Branch told reporters in Adelaide.

Police also said her mobile phone was used to send text messages to family members to fool them into thinking she was alive and well.

Det Supt Bray also confirmed Ms Pearce-Stevenson was last seen alive in Canberra in December 2008.

Police had previously reported she was last seen driving on the Stuart Highway near Coober Pedy in South Australia in November 2008.

Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s remains were found in the Belanglo State Forest in New South Wales in 2010.

Her daughter Khandalyce’s remains were found near the side of a highway at Wynarka in South Australia earlier this year.

“People we believe may be the offenders and others have taken over Karlie’s identity, her telephone, her bank accounts, her Centrelink and family payments,” Det Supt Bray said.

“We need to determine if the people involved in the frauds are involved in the murder and it is most likely that one or more may be involved in some way.

“It’s clear that some of the people involved in the frauds knew without doubt that Karlie and Khandalyce were dead and continued with their role.

“In respect to what we know about the suspects involved in the financial aspects of the bank account transactions, Centrelink fraud and the use of the phone, I can say that we know that at least one offender was a male. There may have been more, and at least two are females.

“Those suspects either resided at, or are associated with or were listed in connection with, properties at Davoren Park, Hillbank, Holden Hill and Charnwood in Canberra.”

Woman posed as Karlie to change bank records

Det Supt Bray also revealed that a woman posed as Ms Pearce-Stevenson during a bank visit in 2010 and at Centrelink later that same year.

Police said a member of her family sent money to her bank account and it was later withdrawn.

They said almost $100,000 went through the bank account before it was closed earlier this year due to inactivity.

Police revealed that a woman who went into a credit union branch in 2010 was possibly the same person who later attended a Centrelink office in Adelaide, producing identity papers to pose as Karlie.

“It appears that in June 2010 a woman in a wheelchair impersonating Ms Pearce-Stevenson attended Australian Central Credit Union at Elizabeth to update banking records,” police said in a statement.

“In December 2010 a woman claiming to be Ms Pearce-Stevenson also attended a compulsory interview with Centrelink at Salisbury.

“Detectives are investigating if it was the same woman on both occasions.”

Police also said a bank card was used several times at the Royal Adelaide Hospital during 2010 and later used, in March 2012, at Charnwood in Canberra.

Phone used to mislead family: police

Detective Superintendent Bray said the victim’s mobile phone was kept and used, including to contact the young woman’s family.

“We believe that the phone was kept by the offenders and used to provide some proof of life and to mislead family, friends, law enforcement by suggesting that Karlie was still alive because of activity on her phone,” he said.

He said the message bank was accessed from time to time.

“We know … some of the SMSs were sent to family members, again to suggest Karlie was still alive and that on at least a couple of occasions that we know of a female falsely represented herself to be Karlie in communication with family,” he said.

Detective Superintendent Bray said the last confirmed sighting of the young woman before her death was in Canberra.

“We believe Karlie and Khandalyce were killed at different times and different locations but we can’t say any more about that at the moment,” he said.

“They were both violent and deliberate deaths.”

The circumstances of Khandalyce’s death are unclear, along with when a suitcase containing clothing was dumped about two kilometres from Wynarka in South Australia.

A death notice was printed on Tuesday in the Northern Territory News for the two murder victims.

Angel and her little girl’s story

Police make major breakthrough in alleged double murder case

Khandalyce Kiara Pearce is born in Alice Springs in 2006.

The little girl’s mother Karlie Jade Pearce-Stevenson was also born in Alice Springs.

In 2008 the pair moved away from their family and began to travel.

Pearce-Stevenson had planned to find work.

The mother and daughter were seen driving on the Stuart Highway near Coober Pedy on November 8, 2008.

They were last seen alive in Canberra in December 2008.

Ms Pearce-Stevenson was 20 and Khandalyce was aged two.

Her family raised the alarm and contacted Northern Territory Police on September 4, 2009, to make a Missing Person Report.

That report was closed on September 10 after it was believed Ms Pearce-Stevenson was safe and did not want family contact.

The skeleton of a woman is found in the Belanglo State Forest in August 2010 near where serial killer Ivan Milat dumped the bodies of his seven backpacker victims in the 1990s.

Milat was convicted for his crimes in 1996 and remains in jail.

The unidentified woman was named “Angel” by NSW Police as she was found with a T-shirt bearing an ‘Angelic’ motif across the front.

A passing motorist finds a suitcase and bones near the side of the Karoonda Highway about two kilometres west of Wynarka, in South Australia’s Murray Mallee, in July 2015.

Detective Superintendent Des Bray said the motorist was driving along the highway when their attention was “drawn to something on the side of the road”.

“They stopped, had a look behind some bushes, and found what we now know to be the skeleton of a young child,” he said.

A suitcase and scattered clothes were found nearby.

A Crime Stopper caller on October 8, 2015, names Khandalyce as possibly being the little girl found near the suitcase.

The caller had not seen the child or Ms Pearce-Stevenson for some time and believed they were missing.

Police discover Khandalyce was immunised at 18 months but there was no further record of her receiving medical treatment or being enrolled in school.

Officers locate a witness who had seen the pair at Marion Shopping Centre in Adelaide in November 2008.

She had taken photos of Khandalyce wearing a pink dress. That dress was found with the remains in the suitcase.

A blood sample from Khandalyce’s medical records was analysed by Forensic Science South Australia and conclusively matched the DNA profile extracted from the skeletal remains near the suitcase.

Blood samples from Ms Pearce-Stevenson medical records were also used to develop a DNA profile. This was sent to police in NSW, who confirmed that they matched that of “Angel”.

Topics: murder-and-manslaughter, crime, law-crime-and-justice, wynarka-5306, adelaide-5000, sa, alice-springs-0870, bowral-2576, canberra-2600

 

MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH see below 21/10/15

We have all seen this tragic story on TV, in the papers, online and radio. I cannot fathom that there is nobody out there that knows something about the little girl who has died and been dumped in the most awful of ways and said NOTHING. Posting here hopefully will help. Our friends at webslueths are doing everything they can to bust open this mystery, congrats!


A MAN serving time in a NSW jail is one of several suspects in the disappearance and murder of Alice Springs mother and daughter Karlie Jade Pearce-Stevenson and Khandalyce Pearce.

A day after police revealed the identities of the pair — a two-year old found in a suitcase near Wynarka in South Australia in July and her 20-year-old mother found in Belanglo State Forest in 2010 — investigators are looking into the movements of the man who is understood to be awaiting sentence on unrelated charges.

A police source confirmed to the Daily Telegraph the man was being looked into while officially police said they were keeping an open mind.

The source said dumping Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s body, which was found by trail bike riders in August, 2010, in Belanglo State Forest, was most likely a deliberate ploy to point the finger at Backpacker Murderer Ivan Milat.

“Where else would you put a body if you wanted to blame someone else?” a police source said.

Police are trying to find the car the pair were travelling in when they disappeared, with phone records and bank records being checked since their bodies were identified.

The focus of the inquiry is how Ms Pearce-Stevenson ended up in the Belanglo State Forest and her daughter in South Australia, after the pair were last seen when they were pulled over by police on the Stuart Highway near Coober Pedy in November 2008.

Meanwhile, overwhelmed by the grief and the kindness of the Australian community, the family of two “angels” are reeling from the grim discovery that has shocked a nation.

Too distraught to speak publicly, the family of Karlie Jade Pearce-Stevenson and her toddler daughter Khandalyce on Thursday took to social media sites to pay tribute to the murder victims.
The grieving family on Wednesday launched an online appeal to raise funds for a proper burial in Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s home town of Alice Springs.

Aiming to raise $5000, the appeal already attracted enough pledges in less than a day after it was placed online.

The post said the family had “spent the past six years desperately trying to locate their whereabouts”.

Karlie Jade Pearce-Stevenson and her daughter Khandalyce Kiara Pearce, whose bodies were found in two different states – NSW and SA.Source:Supplied

“Our family is asking for assistance to help us raise the funds to bring Karlie and Khandalyce’s remains home to Alice Springs so they can be reunited and laid to rest together with family.”

However, the funeral is likely to be paid for by the state, after Commissioner for Victims’ Rights Michael O’Connell secured funding to ensure the family would not be left to pay for the service and the repatriation of the remains.

Mr O’Connell said he had advised the family late on Thursday and “they were overwhelmed.’’

“They are thankful because this has taken an additional burden from them … they would have found it difficult to deal with while they are grieving,’’ he said.

“My office has received many, many unsolicited offers to pay for the funeral in recent moths from people who genuinely have been touched by the death of the little girl and its circumstances,’’ Mr O’Connell said.

The family’s online appeal page pledged that any extra funds donated would go to other victims of crime.

Ms Pearce-Stevenson was known to her friends as “Mouse” while family members referred to Khandalyce as “Candles”.

Ms Pearce Stevenson’s body was found in the notorious Belanglo Forest in NSW in August 2010 while her daughter’s remains were found inside a suitcase on the side of the Karoonda Highway near the tiny town of Wynarka in July this year.

Karlie’s stepfather Scott Povey last night revealed his devastation.

“(I) just miss them so much … some days I am just numb and other days I, dunno, just (feel) empty,” he told Seven News.

“We had a lot of Facebook pages and everything else … she just disappeared like she did not want to be found but I think we all knew that something wasn’t right.”

Aunties and uncles of Ms Pearce-Stevenson also took to social media to thank friends and strangers alike for their support.

“I’m absolutely overwhelmed with people’s kindnesses (sic) and generosity. Thank you all so very much,” one aunty’s post read.

She lamented how four generations of a family had now been lost.

“Four generations taken from us … Three of them so cruelly,” she posted.

Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s mother, Colleen Povey, passed away in 2012, aged 44, still believing her daughter and granddaughter were safe and living interstate.

Her grandmother, Connie Duffy, died in 2011.

The family has used social media sites including Facebook during the seven years since she was last sighted with her daughter on the Stuart Highway near Coober Pedy on November 8, 2008.

On a Facebook page set up to find the young mother, relatives pleaded with her to contact her mother before it’s “too late.”

Police have announced the body of a little girl found in a suitcase in Wynarka is Khandalyce Kiara Pearce.

“Has any 1 at all since this girl it is very important we find her or get hold of her asap so if any 1 knows anything at all plz lets me no thank u,” her cousin Samantha Harris wrote in 2012.

Karlie’s former Alice Springs High School classmate Samantha Camwell Devlin remembered the young mother as “energetic, fun and always laughing”.

Ms Camwell Devlin, 26, said she was devastated when she learned of the murder.

“I immediately raised my hand to mouth because my mouth dropped open and I just couldn’t believe it,” she said.

The pair played in the same netball team, it was through netball that Karlie earnt the nickname ‘Mouse’.

“We called her Mouse because she was small and really quick,” she said.

“Her mum (Ms Povey) was our coach in under 17s, she was great.”

The Advertiser has spoken to a number of other family members, who said they were too upset to speak publicly and were hopeful police would make a fast breakthrough in tracking down the killer or killers.

— with Nigel Hunt and Jill Poulsen

NORTHERN Territory Police have confirmed a missing persons report raised for Karlie Pearce-Stevenson in 2009 was closed a week later after her mother heard from her daughter.

NT Police Assistant Commissioner Jamie Chalker provided further information on the report.

“It is known that Karlie’s mother raised a missing persons report on 4 September, 2009, in Alice Springs and normal initial investigation inquiries at that time indicated signs of active life,” he said.

“It was understood that Karlie had travelled interstate with her daughter and that family contact had been intermittent.

“The investigation was subsequently filed on 10 September, 2009, after Karlie’s mum withdrew her concern as she advised that she had received contact from Karlie, that she was safe and did not want further contact.”

Ms Pearce-Stevenson’s mother, Colleen Povey, died in 2012. It is understood her family believed Ms Pearce-Stevenson was still alive but estranged.

Police hunt for Karlie’s car

THE car that Karlie Pearce-Stevenson and her daughter Khandalyce were travelling around Australia in has emerged as a major focus as detectives hunt their killer or killers.

Detectives from South Australia and New South Wales on Thursday continued to trawl through new calls to Crime Stoppers — which yielded the breakthrough that shocked the nation on Wednesday.

Police quickly ruled out any family members including Khandalyce’s father as suspects but are pleading for any information that could help track down their killer.

Major Crime detectives have refused to say how many suspects they may be investigating.

A major focus of the investigation is finding the Holden Commodore that Karlie and her daughter were last seen driving in when they were pulled over by police near Coober Pedy.

Detectives cannot yet establish if the murders occurred at the same time or exactly how they died.

“It is a rapidly moving investigation,’’ NSW Homicide Squad Detective Superintendent Michael Willing said.

“We are working with the SA police to try establish the circumstances of both deaths.’’

As of Thursday afternoon, there had been 30 Crime Stoppers calls received in SA and dozen in other states.

Landlords and operators of hotels, motels, and caravan and cabin parks are also urged to check their records to see if Ms Pearce-Stevenson stayed with them.

Police renewed their appeal for friends and associates of Ms Pearce-Stevenson and Khandalyce to make contact with police through Crime Stoppers.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online at Crime Stoppers


 

 

Girl near suitcase identified as Khandalyce Kiara Pearce; mother Karlie Jade Pearce-Stevenson found in Belanglo State Forest

21/10/15

Remains of a child found near a suitcase alongside a South Australian highway earlier this year have been identified as two-year-old girl Khandalyce Kiara Pearce.

Her mother is Karlie Jade Pearce-Stevenson, whose body was found in Belanglo State Forest in New South Wales in 2010.

Both Khandalyce and Karlie were reported missing in the Northern Territory in 2009 but police said the report was later withdrawn.

Karlie was a single mother and had moved away from her family with Khandalyce between 2006 and 2008, intending to travel and work.

She was last seen driving a car with Khandalyce on the Stuart Highway near Coober Pedy on November 8, 2008.

Police said Karlie was aged 20 at the time while Khandalyce was aged two.

SA Police Detective Superintendent Des Bray said both mother and daughter suffered violent deaths and a joint operation with NSW police was focused on finding the person or persons responsible.

“This is one of the most shocking crimes, shocking and unimaginable and another family has been torn apart and devastated,” he said.

“Those people that are responsible for this crime are truly evil and must be quickly caught and held to account for what they’ve done.”

He said it was premature to talk about suspects and said police were not prepared to “speculate” at this stage.

Superintendent Bray said the circumstances and time of the deaths had yet to be determined.

Significant development in case came with phone call

Police said the “significant development” began on October 8 when a call to Crime Stoppers “nominated Khandalyce as possibly being the little girl in the suitcase”.

“Investigators then located a witness who had seen Khandalyce and her mother at Marion Shopping Centre, Adelaide, in November 2008,” police said.

“She had taken photos of Khandalyce wearing a pink dress.”

Police said the dress was identical to the dress found with the remains in the suitcase, which was found off the Karoonda Highway near Wynarka in SA’s Murray Mallee on July 14 and reported to police the following day.

The family of Karlie and Khandalyce said in a statement they were grateful to the police, the community and media, “and everyone who has assisted or provided information in this investigation”.

“As you would expect, our family is devastated by this news of the deaths of Karlie and Khandalyce and we are trying to deal with the grief,” they said.

“We understand that this case has created considerable interest across the country but at this time we ask that you respect our privacy to allow us to grieve.”

Khandalyce’s remains found dumped near a suitcase

Police said Khandalyce’s remains were originally dumped in a suitcase up to three months earlier, before somebody unknown tipped out the contents, including the child’s remains, before dragging the suitcase onto the verge.

Police said the girl could have died at any time since 2007 and was aged between two-and-a-half and four years old.

Investigators are still trying to identify a man, believed to be in his 60s, who was seen in the Wynarka area with a dark suitcase on both April 13 and May 26.

The skeleton of a woman was found in the Belanglo State Forest in August 2010 and more than a year later NSW police released a likeness of the woman who they believed to be aged between 13 and 25 and murdered in the past decade.

Police also released an artist’s impression of a T-shirt which was found near the bones. The T-shirt carried a distinct motif featuring the word “Angelic” in pink text, a rose, and a heart with angel wings.

The type of T-shirt was available for sale in New South Wales and other parts of Australia from the early to mid-2000s.

Belanglo is notorious as the former stamping ground of serial killer Ivan Milat, who was convicted in 1996 over the murders of seven young people in the area.

It is understood Karlie and Khandalyce may have lived in Canberra for a period prior to their disappearance.

ACT police said for this reason they were assisting detectives from New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory with their investigations.

Sally, Gaf and Miss X: The clothing tags police identify as the latest chilling clues in the hunt for the killer of tragic ‘suitcase girl’… but her identity is STILL a mystery

  • Police have released images of five clothing tags found in a suitcase
  • The skeleton of the girl was found dumped with the suitcase of clothing on a highway near a remote outback South Australian town 
  • The tags of the five unidentified items of clothing indicate they are from brands Gaf, H.F., Miss X Australia, Sally and Haolailh 
  • Investigators are tracking down brands in the hope of identifying child 
  • Earlier mothers on a blog identified the black tutu found with the bones  

Police have released images of more clothing tags in the hope of finding the murderer of a young girl whose body was found in a suitcase beside a highway last month.

South Australian detectives have revealed that of around 50 items of clothing found with the child’s remains, they are yet to identify the brands of five items.

The bones, which police say belong to a girl aged between two and four years old who died up to eight years ago, were found dumped on the Karoonda Highway about 2km west of Wynarka in South Australia.

The tags of the five unidentified items of clothing indicate they are from brands Gaf, H.F., Miss X Australia, Sally and Haolailh.

Police have released more images of clothing found in a suitcase with the remains of a young girl last month

Police have released more images of clothing found in a suitcase with the remains of a young girl last month

They hope by revealing the tags on the clothes it will bring them closer to whoever was responsible for the child's death

The Haolailh tag is from the distinctive Dora The Explorer top, one of the more recognisable items along with the navy blue Cotton On tutu, according to News Corp.

‘We hope either a retailer or member of the public may be able to identify where the items have been or still are sold,’ Major Crime officer-in-charge Detective Superintendent Des Bray said.

‘The Dora the Explorer top is pretty individual and someone may remember this and remember seeing a little girl they once knew wearing it.’

Locating the buyer of a dark blue tutu found in the suitcase is one of the other strong lines of inquiry being taken by police.

This tag came from a distinctive Dora The Explorer top found in the suitcase

'We hope either a retailer or member of the public may be able to identify where the items have been or still are sold,' Major Crime officer-in-charge Detective Superintendent Des Bray said

‘We hope either a retailer or member of the public may be able to identify where the items have been or still are sold,’ Major Crime officer-in-charge Detective Superintendent Des Bray said

This Miss X Australia label is also one of the brands investigators are still trying to locate

This Miss X Australia label is also one of the brands investigators are still trying to locate

Late last month a group of mothers on the ‘websleuths’ online forum uncovered new clues in the case of the murdered ‘suitcase girl’ whose remains were dumped with a bag of children’s clothing by the side of the road in a remote outback railway siding town.

In a discussion on a websleuths.com forum, the women have identified the distinctive black tutu adorned with large sequins as a Cotton On brand dress for young girls which was discontinued several years ago.

The keen-eyed blog posters also identified the item originally described as a child’s ruler as a Lanza brand luggage tag, probably from the faded bag in which the remains lay amid numerous items of clothing, and a patchwork quilt found in a degraded state as an ‘I-spy’ quilt.

When one woman blogger named Pheme on the websleuths.com online forum spotted this distinctive little girls' black tutu dress, she knew it was the same model as the one she had bought her daughter from Cotton On and that it had been made a few years ago 

When one woman blogger named Pheme on the websleuths.com online forum spotted this distinctive little girls’ black tutu dress, she knew it was the same model as the one she had bought her daughter from Cotton On and that it had been made a few years ago 

Pheme's discovery sparked Snoop Dog on the websleuth forum to track down this ebay image of the black tutu dress with its distinctive cross-stitched large sequins, which differ in colour to a few of the sequins on the found dress, perhaps because of the garment's degradation lying for weeks in the open on an outback road

Keen amateur sleuths like Snoop Dog (who posted this on websleuth) are busily trying to solve the mystery of where the clothing found with the murdered girl's body might come from, thus leading detectives closer to the identification of the skeletal remains of the 2 to 4-year-old dumped by an outback highway in July

Keen amateur sleuths like Snoop Dog (who posted this on websleuth) are busily trying to solve the mystery of where the clothing found with the murdered girl’s body might come from, thus leading detectives closer to the identification of the skeletal remains of the 2 to 4-year-old dumped by an outback highway in July

Thought at first to be a child's ruler, the metallic object above was soon identified on websleuth.com as actually coming from a suitcase, which police then identified as a Lanza brand piece of luggage

Spotted: websleuth poster astorytold (above) promptly identified the 'child's ruler' as a luggage label for the Lanza brand, which was sold by the shop Strandbags but seems to be no longer widely available

Spotted: websleuth poster astorytold (above) promptly identified the ‘child’s ruler’ as a luggage label for the Lanza brand, which was sold by the shop Strandbags but seems to be no longer widely available

The Lanza logo with its distinctive diagonal motif belongs to a brand of luggage which appears to be no longer  widely available which fits in with the South Australian police estimated date of the murder of the little girl dumped with the suitcase, possibly as far back as 2007

This websleuth blogger also recognised the black tutu, saying her daughter wore a similar garment until she was about four years old, placing the item in the age framework put forward by police who believe the murdered girl was a preschooler of Caucasian appearance with fair hair and about 90cm tall

This websleuth blogger also recognised the black tutu, saying her daughter wore a similar garment until she was about four years old, placing the item in the age framework put forward by police who believe the murdered girl was a preschooler of Caucasian appearance with fair hair and about 90cm tall

This weather-beaten suitcase (above) was dumped by the Karoonda highway and lay there for weeks until a passer by stopped and and inspected it, along with children's clothes among which was the skeleton of an unidentified murdered girl

 This weather-beaten suitcase (above) was dumped by the Karoonda highway and lay there for weeks until a passer by stopped and and inspected it, along with children’s clothes among which was the skeleton of an unidentified murdered girl

An original Lanza brand suitcase (pictured) which SA police presented at a press conference about the continuing investigation into the murdered 'suitcase girl' dumped 120km south-east of Adelaide

An original Lanza brand suitcase (pictured) which SA police presented at a press conference about the continuing investigation into the murdered ‘suitcase girl’ dumped 120km south-east of Adelaide

Online speculation has been rife since South Australian police revealed the discovery of the bag with the skeleton of a young girl who police say died ‘a violent and terrible death’.

The bones were found dumped on the Karoonda Highway about 2km west of Wynarka in South Australia.

A tiny railway siding township 120km south-east of Adelaide, Wynarka lies on the truck route between the South Australian grain belt and Port Adelaide.

Residents living in the handful of houses at Wynarka noticed a ‘mystery man’ carrying a suitcase on the Karoonda Highway on April 13 and May 26. The man was about 60 years old, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed.

Detectives are trying to identify the body of young child

When SA Police released this image of this badly degraded but colourful quilt found with the child's body, quilters quickly went to work identifying seven of the fabrics used in the hexagonal patches, including the 'musical note' material in the border which was sold at Spotlight fabric outlet some years ago

Exact matches: The musical note and pumpkin patterned fabrics were identically matched by police with help from the public, and quilting experts have spread the word through mothers’ quilting groups and online forums which have lit up with discussions by people keen to solve the mystery of the dead girl’s origins

Quilters took to the SA Police Facebook page to write about the 'musical note' fabric and to say they had passed on the mystery information to their mother's quilting group in the hope of helping to crack the case

Quilters took to the SA Police Facebook page to write about the ‘musical note’ fabric and to say they had passed on the mystery information to their mother’s quilting group in the hope of helping to crack the case

Can you fill in the gaps?: Seven hexagonal squares out of 25 plus the border in the degraded quilt (left) have had their fabric positively identified (right), with the star material being a Spotlight fabric possibly made in the US, and readers eagerly trying to match up the faded remnants with textile patterns they know

Can you fill in the gaps?: Seven hexagonal squares out of 25 plus the border in the degraded quilt (left) have had their fabric positively identified (right), with the star material being a Spotlight fabric possibly made in the US, and readers eagerly trying to match up the faded remnants with textile patterns they know

Another clue: Mellisa Preusker, writing on the police Facebook page, is still trying to identify the more faded patchwork pieces in the degraded quilt found with the murdered girl's body, believing one to depict a unicorn

Another clue: Mellisa Preusker, writing on the police Facebook page, is still trying to identify the more faded patchwork pieces in the degraded quilt found with the murdered girl’s body, believing one to depict a unicorn

Daniella Erin thought the same patch believed to be 'a unicorn' was possibly a cartoon face of a lady, perhaps a Lorelei, but while she recognises it she cannot 'for the life of me' pin down where she knows it from

Daniella Erin thought the same patch believed to be ‘a unicorn’ was possibly a cartoon face of a lady, perhaps a Lorelei, but while she recognises it she cannot ‘for the life of me’ pin down where she knows it from

On July 15, a motorist who claimed they were ‘drawn to something on the side of the road’, found a faded suitcase lying open with clothing and other items scattered nearby close to the road and near a set of low bushes dotting the landscape.

When police investigated, they noticed a jawbone poking through piles of children’s clothing.

Stuffed into a 40cm wide weather-beaten case, in between a Dora the Explorer t-shirt and pink tracksuit pants, a pink toweling slipper, black tutu dress and satin Size 2 boxer shorts with kittens and teddy bears on them, were the skeletal remains of a child.

Forensic officers who examined the bones say the girl was between two-and-a-half and four years old, Caucasian with fair hair and could have died up to eight years ago.

The skeleton of the murdered girl was found in a suitcase dumped on the Karoonda Highway near Wynarka (above), a tiny railway siding township 120km south-east of Adelaide, lying on the truck route between the South Australian grain belt and Port Adelaide

Residents living in the handful of houses at Wynarka noticed a 'mystery man' carrying a suitcase on the Karoonda Highway on April 13 and May 26. The man was about 60 years old, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed 

The folorn sight of this little girl's pink slipper found with the murdered child's remains has so far sparked no recognition from the public

Daily Mail Australia could find only one partial match for the found slipper, a French 'chausson' (above) for 0-18 month old girls strikingly similar in design but with a 'Hello Kitty' motif instead, suggesting the butterfly slipper may be a copy

The folorn sight of a little girl’s pink slipper (left)  found with the slain child’s remains has sparked no matches to date, with Daily Mail Australia finding only the French slipper (right) for 0-18 month old girls strikingly similar in design but with a ‘Hello Kitty’ motif inbstead, suggesting the butterfly slipper may be a copy

The gap between the estimated time of the girl’s terrible death and the dumping of her remains fits in with what the websleuth bloggers have deduced about the origins of the clothing.

Police released photographs of the black tutu dress, the pink slipper embroidered with a butterfly motif, a smiley-faced T-shirt, what they originally thought was ‘a child’s ruler’, two pairs of boxer shorts made from the teddy bear and kitten patterned fabric, and the faded suitcase.

The photographs sparked excited chatter among the websleuth bloggers who quickly identified the ‘child’s ruler’ as the plastic tag from a Lanza brand bag, with its distinctive diagonal logo.

They moved on to the issue of  the black tutu dress, which also had a distinctive feature of large coloured sequins cross-sewn onto the tulle skirt of the garment.

The amateur sleuthing of the blogger mum and others who have posted on a police Facebook page place the clothing or fabric as dating back to at least seven years ago, tying in with the date SA police estimate the child was murdered.

Websleuth blogger Pheme quickly identified the tutu dress as ‘from a store called Cotton On. My daughter had the same one when she was about 2. Not sure how long they stocked it for though or even if they still do’.


The murdered girl in the suitcase

Found: On July 15 on the outback Karoonda Highway near Wynarka, 120km south-east of Adelaide

Sighting: 60-year-old clean cut, well-dressed Caucasian man seen April-May carrying a suitcase on the highway

The victim: 

  • • Believed to be a girl who died ‘a violent and terrible death’
  • • Aged 2.5-4 years at time of death 
  • • Likely Caucasian
  • • Had fair hair, 18cm long
  • • Was 90-95cm tall
  • • Was killed at another location
  • • Was killed some time since the start of 2007

Items found with the skeletal remains of the victim:

Black sequinned tutu dress, pink slipper with butterfly motif, Dora the Explorer outfit, boxer shorts, patchwork quilt and a Lanza brand suitcase

Snoop Dog responded, finding a photograph on ebay of an almost identical black tutu made by the Australian clothing giant Cotton On.

The only difference was the large cross-sewn sequins were of a single pale pink colour, whereas on the tutu found with the slain child, some of the sequins appeared blue or green, but this could have been as a result of the weathering which has also seen the deteriorated black bodice of the outfit lose much of its colour.

Daily Mail Australia has also identified a pink slipper, strikingly similar in design of the found item, but with a ‘Hello Kitty’ motif instead of the embroidered butterfly design.

Police then released a photograph of a badly degraded, colourful quilt, and quilters lit up the South Australian Police Facebook page with a discussion about the origin of the fabric squares in the quilt design.

Following this, the SA Police released a further image of the 90cm square quilt along with seven octagonal patches identified by their fabric, featuring musical notes, stars, teddies, a camel, pumpkins, flowers, insects and animals.

Detective Superintendent Des Bray, the officer in charge the SA Police Major Crime Investigation Branch, said the identified quilt patches included the pumpkin design and the musical notes border, which were an exact match, and the other fabric patches were a close likeness.

Supt Bray said the images of the items found with the girls’ remains had sparked a massive public response.

On the SA Police Facebook page, quilter Emma Stenhouse wrote that the kind of quilt in the photo released by SA Police was often called an ‘I-spy’ quilt as they could be used with children playing the I-spy game.

Emilee Egeberg went to Google images and wrote on the Facebook page that she had found a product called an ‘I spy kids quilt’ from 2008, which had the exact musical note fabric in some of its patches.

Could this 'I-spy' quilt be made by the same quilt maker who produced the degraded item found with the body of the murdered girl dumped by the South Australian highway in July?

Could this ‘I-spy’ quilt be made by the same quilt maker who produced the degraded item found with the body of the murdered girl dumped by the South Australian highway in July?

After Facebook poster Emma Stenhouse identified the quilt as possibly from a series of patchwork quilts called 'I-spy' used in the game of the same name played with children, Emilee Egeberg wrote (above) that she went on to Google images to find a quilt with the exact musical note and star fabric of the found item

After Facebook poster Emma Stenhouse identified the quilt as possibly from a series of patchwork quilts called ‘I-spy’ used in the game of the same name played with children, Emilee Egeberg wrote (above) that she went on to Google images to find a quilt with the exact musical note and star fabric of the found item

Heather Symons wrote that the musical note fabric had been around 20 years ago, sold by the Spotlight fabric outlet, and that the star fabric was from the same series.

Emma Rains shared the information with ‘my Mum’s patchwork group’, saying ‘someone must know something’.

Speculation that the fabric from the United States, meaning the quilt was possibly American-made, was quashed by the SA police, who said the fabric was probably imported from the US and sold here.

Other posters on the police Facebook page, who are taking a closer look at the patchwork designs, may come up with further clues.

Mellissa Preusker thought she could identify the ‘2nd hexagon from the right, top row. Looks like a ‘Unicorn’ fabric with a white unicorn head (facing to the left) and pink background. Seems familiar, but not sure where i have seen it.’

Daniella Erin wrote on the page that she recognised the ‘cartoon face of a lady … but for the life of me I can;t figure out from where. Maybe a Loralie design?!? I’m hoping somebody else does. It’s been driving me nuts.’

SA Police are continuing their investigation and say they have excluded 32 missing children as the potential victim.

Anyone who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/


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The following are media releases, photographs and press conferences relating to the discovery of a child’s skeletal remains near the Karoonda Highway about 2kms west of Wynarka in the Murray Mallee region. The remains were located by a member of the public on 14 July 2015, with police advised early 15 July. Anyone with information about the matter is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

These items are in chronological order – with the oldest items at the bottom of the page.

A poster relating to the murder can be downloaded here.

5 August 2015

Task Force Mallee investigators fan out from Wynarka

Task Force Mallee investigators continued their widespread canvass of the Wynarka area today in relation to the ongoing investigation into the murder of an unidentified little girl.

Officers from the Task Force, along with police from the Murray Mallee Local Service Area and State Tactical Response Group, yesterday began canvassing within a 25km radius of where the child’s remains were found in July, seeking information from the community.

The little girl was found, along with a faded suitcase, items of clothing and a degraded quilt, discarded near the Karoonda Highway about 2km west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region.  Her identity remains a mystery.

As part of the door-knock, police are speaking with residents, businesses operators and employees, schools, doctors and anyone else connected with the local community.

“Today our officers fanned out from the township of Wynarka to visit farming properties within the search zone,” said Detective Inspector Greg Hutchins, Major Crime Investigation Branch.

“There are many unknowns with this case.

“This is a horrific case centred on the murder of a young girl -someone must know something.

“A police forward command post has been established at the Karoonda Football Club and anyone with information is welcome to stop by and talk with police.”

Posters and letters will be distributed throughout the wider community and across the Murray Mallee Local Service Area as part of the operation.

The posters feature the distinctive black tutu dress and quilt found with the remains.  Of note, only 28 of the Cotton On Kids dresses were sold within South Australia about eight years ago.  The quilt was handmade, but machine-stitched.

To date 643 reports have been made to Crime Stoppers in connection with the case, and 60 children eliminated as potential victims.

Police are also seeking further information about a man seen in the area with a dark suitcase on both 13 April and 26 May.

Seen by locals who did not recognise him, he is described as being aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed.

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

What police know about the girl:

* Aged 2.5-4 years at time of death

* Likely Caucasian

* Had fair hair, 18 cm long

* Was 90-95 cm tall

* Was killed at another location

* Was killed some time between the start of 2007 and 12-18 months ago

4 August 2015

Wide-spread canvass of Wynarka area begins

Task Force Mallee will today begin a large-scale canvass of the Wynarka area as the investigation into the discovery of a little girl’s remains continues.

Officers from the Task Force, along with police from the Murray Mallee Local Service Area and State Tactical Response Group, will begin doorknocking in the area around where the discovery was made in July, seeking information from the community.

The little girl was found, along with a faded suitcase, items of clothing and a degraded quilt, discarded near the Karoonda Highway about 2km west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region.

“We believe that someone in this area will have vital information for investigators,” Detective Superintendent Des Bray, the officer in charge of the Major Crime Investigation Branch, said.

“Someone loved this little girl. Someone other than her killer knows who she is and what happened to her.

“We are appealing to that person to come forward and talk to us.”

Dtv-Supt Bray said police would be speaking with residents, businesses operators and employees, schools, doctors and anyone else connected with the local community.

Today he noted that a quilt and a little black dress – which were both found with the girl – may hold the key to identifying her.

“The reality is we haven’t had anybody come forward that has had that exact quilt so we do think that quilt is still very distinctive and could hold the key to solving this,” he said.

He also noted there were only 28 dresses sold by Cotton on Kids throughout South Australia about eight years ago and it was not sold over the internet or in markets “so again that dress may hold the key”.

Black tutu style dress

“It’s a very challenging investigation and I don’t think that anyone would have thought that weeks later we would still be trying to identify the little girl.

“But every day we’ve been able to find out a little bit more than the day before and if every day continues like that then I’m happy.

Posters and letters will be distributed throughout the wider community as part of the operation.

“At this time we will be canvassing a 25km radius around where she was found, but we may extend that as the inquiry continues,” he said.

“Police will be establishing a forward command post at the Karoonda Football Club today (4 August), and anyone with information is welcome to stop by and talk with police.”

Data provided by the community will be cross referenced as Task Force Mallee investigators continue to follow leads in the inquiry into the girl’s identity and death.

 

At this time 610 reports have been made to Crime Stoppers in connection with the case, and 55 children eliminated as potential victims.

Police will also be seeking further information about a man seen in the area with a dark suitcase on both 13 April and 26 May.

Seen by locals who did not recognise him, he is described as being aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed.

“Despite many inquiries about the man with the suitcase we have been unable to identify him,” Det-Supt Bray said.

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

What police know about the girl:

* Aged 2.5-4 years at time of death

* Likely Caucasian

* Had fair hair, 18cm long

* Was 90-95cm tall

* Was killed at another location

* Was killed some time since the start of 2007 and 12-18 months ago

Poster

31 July

Task Force Mallee expanded

An additional five police officers have been assigned to Task Force Mallee as SA Police continue to investigate the death of a little girl whose skeletal remains were found alongside the Karoonda Highway earlier this month.
The officer in charge of the Major Crime Investigation Branch, Detective Superintendent Des Bray said lines of inquiry are also being issued to detectives across the state on a daily basis.
He added that while forensic work is continuing, it has been confirmed that the remains are those of a girl.
She was found by police, along with a faded suitcase, items of clothing and a degraded quilt (pictured top right), near the Karoonda Highway about 2km west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region on 15 July.
Taskforce Mallee was established in the wake of the discovery with 15 police officers initially assigned to the investigation, along with a significant forensic response.
To date 550 reports have been made to Crime Stoppers in connection with the case, and 53 children have been eliminated by investigators as potential victims.
“The massive public response has generated many lines of inquiry in addition to opportunities being identified by investigators,” Dtv-Supt Bray said.
“All of this information is assessed, prioritised and issued for investigation on a daily basis.
“The investigation is continuing at full speed while we await the results of forensic analysis.”
He noted that despite receiving a very large number of calls in respect to the homemade, machine-sewn quilt, the information supplied has not resulted in Task Force Mallee identifying a potential victim at this stage.
Police are also still seeking to identify a man seen in the area with a dark suitcase on both 13 April and 26 May.
Seen by locals who did not recognise him, he is described as being aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed.
“Despite many inquiries about the man with the suitcase we have been unable to identify him,” Det-Supt Bray said.
Anyone with information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/
What police know about the girl:
* Aged 2.5-4 years at time of death
* Likely Caucasian
* Had fair hair, 18cm long
* Was 90-95cm tall
* Was killed at another location
* Was killed some time since the start of 2007

29 July 2015

Task Force Mallee rules out Madeleine McCann

Missing UK girl Madeleine McCann has been ruled out as the victim in the South Australia Police inquiry into a child’s remains found at Wynarka earlier this month.

The officer in charge of the SA Police Major Crime Investigation Branch, Detective Superintendent Des Bray today said that 43 children had now been eliminated as potential victims.

“I can confirm that Madeleine McCann has been totally excluded as a potential victim and UK Police have been advised,” he said. “Task Force Mallee has no further comment to make about this line of inquiry.”

To date there have been 511 reports made to Crime Stoppers since the child’s remains were found –  along with a faded suitcase, items of clothing and a degraded quilt – near the Karoonda Highway about 2km west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region on 15 July.

What police know about the child:

*             Believed to be a girl

*             Aged 2.5-4 years at time of death

*             Likely Caucasian

*             Had fair hair, 18cm long

*             Was 90-95cm tall

*             Was killed at another location

*             Was killed some time since the start of 2007

Anyone who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au

27 July 2015

‘Massive’ public response regarding Wynarka child

More than 400 reports have been made to Crime Stoppers in connection with the discovery of a little girl’s remains near the Karoonda Highway on 15 July.

Detective Superintendent Des Bray, the officer in charge the SA Police Major Crime Investigation Branch, said there had been a massive response from the public in relation to the murder inquiry – with a total of 410 reports made to Crime Stoppers, including 194 since Friday.

The child’s remains were located along with a faded suitcase, items of clothing and a degraded quilt near the highway about 2km west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region.

Images of the distinctive 90cm x 90cm homemade quilt were released on Sunday following forensic examination, and today Task Force Mallee investigators released a further digital image with seven of the quilt’s 25 octagonal patches now identified.

The image of the pumpkins and the 125mm-wide border fabric featuring music notes are exactly the same as those on the original quilt and the other images are a very close likeness, Det-Supt Bray said.

“We are extremely grateful for the level of community support we have received, and as a result of that support the investigation continues to progress each day,” he said.

At this time 32 children have been excluded as potential victims.

“It is highly unlikely that the victim in Madeleine McCann,” he added.

“At this time our inquiries will focus on where the evidence leads us in this investigation and at this point that primary focus remains within Australia.”

What police know about the child:

*             Believed to be a girl

*             Aged 2.5-4 years at time of death

*             Likely Caucasian

*             Had fair hair, 18cm long

*             Was 90-95cm tall

*             Was killed at another location

*             Was killed some time since the start of 2007

Anyone who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

Digital image of quilt

26 July 2015

Quilt may hold key to Wynarka child’s identity

Photographs of a degraded quilt located, along with the remains of a child, at Wynarka earlier this month, have been released by Task Force Mallee investigators today.

Following close forensic examination, details of the 90cm x 90cm quilt have been released to the public in a bid to identify the child, who police believe was a young girl aged two-and-a-half to four at the time of her death.

Her skeletal remains were found along with a suitcase, items of clothing and the quilt near the Karoonda Highway about 2km west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region on 15 July.

The officer in charge of the Major Crime Investigation Branch, Detective Superintendent Des Bray, said on Friday that police believe the child could have died up to eight years ago and that she was killed at another location.

At some stage she was placed in the suitcase before it was left at the Wynarka location – sometime since mid-March.

Investigators believe the suitcase and its contents – including the child – were left at the location by an unknown person behind a bush and that at some stage someone tipped most of the contents out behind a nearby bush and left the suitcase near the roadside.

Among those items was the quilt, which appears to be homemade although it’s been machine-stitched.

That fact, along with its filling of a light-coloured polyester material, could indicate that its maker intended it to be washed regularly, police believe.

Dtv Supt Bray also noted that much of the quilt is badly degraded, but the fabric which is still intact reveals a wide border of black material illustrated with musical notes along with images of a pumpkin patch, a camel and dragonflies.

“It has been suggested this is a so-called i-Spy quilt which is especially constructed to allow a parent to play i-Spy with the child using the images stitched into the blanket,” he said.

“Someone loved that little girl and either made her, or gave her, that quilt. I would appeal for whoever loved her to get in touch with us.”

He added that investigators with Task Force Mallee continue to follow lines of inquiry, with 273 calls made to Crime Stoppers to date.

As a result, police have eliminated 25 children from the investigation who have been nominated as potential victims, but have been determined to be alive.

Police are still appealing to a man seen in the area about six to eight weeks ago with a dark suitcase to come forward. They have confirmed sightings of him with a suitcase near Karoonda on both 13 April and 26 May.

Described as being aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed, he was seen by a number of locals in the area and investigators are seeking to identify him and potentially exclude him from the inquiry.

Anyone who saw the man or has seen the suitcase by the highway, or who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

What police know about the child:

*             Believed to be a girl

*             Aged 2.5-4 years at time of death

*             Likely Caucasian

*             Had fair hair, 18cm long

*             Was 90-95cm tall

*             Was killed at another location

*             Was killed some time since the start of 2007

Quilt found with bones near Wynarka

23 July 2015

Wynarka child believed to be a girl

SA Police have today announced they believe the skeletal human remains found near Wynarka last week are those of a girl aged two-and-a-half to four years.

At a press conference today, the officer in charge of the Major Crime Investigation Branch Detective Superintendent Des Bray, also announced that investigators believe the little girl could have died up to eight years ago – potentially making her aged 10-12 years if she was alive today.

“While the forensic analysis has not yet provided a conclusive result regarding this child’s gender we are reasonably confident at this time that these are the remains of a girl who had fair hair and was 90-95cm tall,” he said.

A manikin with hair of a similar colour and length, dressed in new versions of items of clothing found with the body was displayed to the media today as Task Force Mallee investigators continue their inquiries into the child’s murder.

Police have received 223 call to Crime Stoppers  (ph 1800 333 000) in relation to the discovery of the remains, near the Karoonda Highway about 2km west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region, on Wednesday 15 July.

Clothing and a suitcase – a new version of which was also displayed by police today – were found along with the remains.

Investigators believe the suitcase and its contents – including the child – were left at the location by an unknown person behind a bush and that at some stage someone tipped most of the contents out behind a nearby bush and left the suitcase near the roadside.

While the suitcase now appears a grey colour, it was originally black and has faded.

Dtv-Supt Bray said the suitcase was first seen after road works were concluded in mid-March, but police are keen to hear from anyone who saw it, touched it or emptied its contents.

“We believe the child died elsewhere and was placed into the suitcase before being left at the Wynarka location,” he said.

“For reasons I’m not going to disclose we are confident that this child was murdered and we would appeal for anyone with information that might assist us to make contact.

“This is a tragic case and we continue to follow a number of lines of inquiry in a bid to identify this child.

“At this time 24 children have been nominated as potential victims, but have been ruled out by investigators who have determined that they are alive and not requiring any further police attention.”

Police are still appealing to a man seen in the area about six to eight weeks ago with a dark suitcase to come forward.

Described as being aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed, he was seen by a number of locals in the area and investigators are seeking to identify him and potentially exclude him from the inquiry.

Anyone who saw the man or has seen the suitcase by the highway, or who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

Mannequin and case

23 July 2015

Crime Stoppers receive 200 calls regarding Wynarka case

Forensic analysis of human remains found near Wynarka last week have not yet determined the child’s gender, however Task Force Mallee investigators have ruled out 20 children as victims.

SA Police have now had 200 calls to Crime Stoppers (ph: 1800 333 000) in relation to the discovery of the remains of a child, about 2km west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region, on Wednesday 15 July.

Major Crime detectives have released images of clothing found along with the child’s remains near the Karoonda Highway.

The clothing, including a purple Dora the Explorer T-shirt, blue pyjama shorts and a pair of pink track pants, were mostly found on the ground near a grey Lanza suitcase.

The suitcase and its contents – including the child – were left at the location by an unknown person behind a bush.

Police believe that at some stage someone tipped most of the contents out behind a nearby bush and left the suitcase near the roadside.

People driving along the road saw the suitcase over time, originally closed and later with the lid open. Some stopped and inspected it.

The suitcase was first discovered shortly after road works were completed in March this year.

“Identifying who emptied the suitcase contents behind the bush and when it was emptied is very important to investigators,” said Detective Superintendent Des Bray, Officer in Charge, Major Crime Investigation Branch.

“The person who did this is not in any trouble and we encourage that person to come forward and contact us through Crime Stoppers or attend their local police station.”

Det Supt Bray also noted that further sightings of a 60-year-old man with the suitcase around the same time have been reported to police.

Earlier police appeals have noted that a man was seen in the area carrying a dark suitcase, about 8am one morning about six to eight weeks ago.

Described as being aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed, he was not a local.

“Identifying this man remains a priority so that he can be excluded if not involved,” Det Supt Bray said.

“Police continue to encourage this man or anyone who knows him to come forward and make contact with us.

“Forensic Science SA have been working very hard to identify the gender of the child and to obtain a DNA profile.

Despite their best efforts they have not been able to achieve that result yet, however they continue to be committed to the task using alternative methods of analysis.

“In the interim we need to be patient and we are actively investigating other lines of inquiry that are enabling us to progress the investigation.”

Anyone who saw the man or has seen the suitcase by the highway, or who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online athttps://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

20 July 2015

Forensic analysis of remains continues

Forensic analysis of human remains found near Wynarka last week has not yet determined the gender of the child, however, police have been able to rule out potential victims.

“Forensic Science staff are working very hard to deliver a result as quickly as possible.  We are hoping to be able to confirm the gender of the child this week.  A DNA profile is also being taken of the child, however, that will take longer, ” said Detective Superintendent Des Bray, Officer in Charge, Major Crime Investigation Branch.

Investigators have been assisted by 125 calls to Crime Stoppers since the bones were discovered.  Acting on information received from the public,  ten potential victims have been identified but detectives have been able to exclude them from the investigation.

Major Crime detectives have released images of clothing found along with the child’s remains near the Karoonda Highway at Wynarka last week.

The clothing, including a purple Dora the Explorer T-shirt, blue pyjama shorts and a pair of pink track pants, were found in a grey Lanza suitcase about two kilometres west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region, on Wednesday 15 July.

“The response we have received from the public is encouraging and we urge anyone that recognises any of the clothes to please contact police.

“We believe the child aged between 2 and 5 years was murdered at another location but the motive and the exact time frame is unknown.

“We are also seeking any information about a man seen by several people walking along the Karoonda Highway, carrying a dark suitcase, about 8am one morning about six to eight weeks ago.  He is described as being aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed.  He was not a local.”

Anyone who saw the man or has seen the suitcase by the highway, or who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

19 July 2015

Further images released of clothing found at Wynarka

Major Crime detectives trying to identify the body of a young child, have released further images of clothing found along with the child’s remains near the Karoonda Highway at Wynarka last week.

The clothing, including a purple Dora the Explorer T-shirt, blue pyjama shorts and a pair of pink track-pants, were found in a suitcase about 2kms west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region, on Wednesday 15 July.

“From 5pm last night police have received nearly 100 calls from the public to Crime Stoppers, which is encouraging and we urge anyone that recognises any of the clothes to please contact police,” said  Detective Superintendent Des Bray, the officer in charge of Major Crime Investigation Branch.
“Forensic Scientists are also working around the clock to help provide vital information to assist in the investigation.”

“We believe the child aged between 2-5 years was murdered at another location but the motive and the exact time frame is unknown” Det-Supt Bray said.

“We are also seeking any information about a man seen by several people walking along the Karoonda Highway, carrying a dark suitcase, about 8am one morning about six to eight weeks ago.
He is described as being aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed.  He was not a local.” Detective Superintendent Bray Said.

Anyone who saw the man or has seen the suitcase by the highway, or who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

Vision taken from the SAPOL Remote piloted aircraft (drone) which flew over the search area on Thursday 16 July, shows the terrain and Karoonda Highway, SES volunteers searching the area, and a large blue tent where the child’s remains were found.

Wynarka child's clothing

Wynarka clothing coat and pink pants

17 July 2015

Images released as police investigate child murder

Major Crime detectives trying to identify the body of young child today released images of clothing and a suitcase found along with the child’s remains near the Karoonda Hwy this week.

The remains, clothing and case were found at Wynarka, about 150km east of Adelaide in the Murray Mallee region, on Wednesday.

Taskforce Mallee has been established with 15 police officers now working on the investigation, along with a significant forensic response.

A post mortem was conducted this morning – but the gender of the child still remains unknown .

Further forensic testing will be required before a gender is known early next week, while a DNA profile may take longer due to the complexities involved in the forensic analysis.

“Police emphasise that while it’s possible that the victim is female, the presence of female clothes should not be taken as confirmation of that, or that the clothes belonged to the child,” Detective Superintendent Des Bray, the officer in charge of Major Crime Investigation Branch, said today.

“We are hoping that someone recognises the clothes and then can help us identify the child.”

Police are renewing their appeal for information that may lead to the identity of a man seen walking along the Karoonda Highway, carrying a dark suitcase, about 8am one morning about six to eight weeks ago.

He is described as being aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed. He was not a local.

Calls to Crime Stoppers have revealed the man was also seen on the highway walking with a suitcase west of Wynarka heading towards Murray Bridge.

Police are also calling on any drivers who may have dash-cam vision of the highway to contact police as they may have inadvertently recorded information in their trucks and cars that may assist with the investigation.

Anyone who saw the man or has seen the suitcase by the highway, or who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

Suitcase and clothing

Clothing and case tag

17 July 2015

Detective seek information from public after bones found near Wynarka

Major Crime detectives want to speak to a man seen carrying a suitcase on the Karoonda Highway, near where the remains of a child were found earlier this week.

Late on Wednesday morning, police were contacted by a motorist who discovered human bones near a suitcase just off the highway, about 2 km west of Wynarka in the Murray Mallee region.

Detectives have door-knocked the Wynarka region and appealed to anyone with information to come forward.

Detectives believe the body and suitcase were dumped at the roadside location some time within the last ten weeks.

Police have received information that a man was seen walking along the highway, carrying a dark suitcase, about 8am one morning about six to eight weeks ago.  He is described as aged about 60, of Caucasian appearance, average height, lightly built, clean cut and neatly dressed.  He was not a local.

Major Crime detectives are awaiting the interim results of a post-mortem to provide more details about the identity, age and gender of the human remains found near Wynarka this week.

Police have established the bones are the skeletal remains of a child.  Initial examinations of the remains have determined they are those of a child aged between 2 and 7 years.  The gender is not known at this stage.

The remains were transported to Adelaide where a post-mortem was undertaken yesterday afternoon.  A more detailed examination of items found with the body will also be conducted.

As part of the investigation, detectives are checking National Missing Persons registers.  There are no current missing persons from South Australia that match this description.

Anyone who saw the man or has seen the suitcase by the highway, or who has any information that may assist the investigation, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online at https://sa.crimestoppers.com.au/

The investigation is ongoing.

16 July 2015

Wynarka investigation continues

Major Crime detectives have returned to the Karoonda Highway today following yesterday’s discovery of human remains.

Late on Wednesday morning, police were contacted by a motorist who discovered human bones just off the highway, about 2 km west of Wynarka in the Murray Mallee region.

Police have established the bones are the skeletal remains of a child.  Initial examinations of the remains have determined they are those of a child aged between 2 and 7 years.  The gender is not known at this stage.

The remains have been transported to Adelaide where a post-mortem will be conducted this afternoon.

Forensic examination of the scene is being conducted.  SES volunteers are assisting with a search of the area along the highway today.  The police drone is also being utilised to search from overhead.

Detectives believe the body and suitcase were dumped at the roadside location some time in the last four to six weeks.

As part of the investigation, detectives are checking National Missing Persons registers.  There are no current missing persons from South Australia that match this description.

The investigation is ongoing.

Detective Superintendent Des Bray, Officer in Charge of Major Crime Investigation Branch, spoke with SA Police News yesterday to update the public on the situation and appeal for information.  Listen to his interview here.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

15 July 2015

Human bones found near Wynarka

Police including Major Crime Detectives are investigating the discovery of human bones near the Karoonda Highway about 2kms west of Wynarka in the Murray Mallee region.

Late this morning police were contacted by a member of the public after the bones were found just off the highway.

Police have established the bones are the skeletal remains of a child.

Forensic examination of the scene is currently being conducted.

The investigation is ongoing and further information will be provided as soon as possible.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

 

SA Police rule out 10 potential victims after child’s remains found

Updated 20 Jul 2015, 3:57pm

Police have discounted 10 potential victims in their search for the identity of a child whose remains were found in bushland near Wynarka in South Australia last week.

The skeletal remains of a child aged between two and five were found behind a bush off the Karoonda Highway on Wednesday last week.

Police believe the remains were originally dumped inside a suitcase found at the location, two kilometres west of Wynarka, up to two-and-a-half months ago.

They said they had received 125 calls from the public, with “10 potential victims identified” but subsequently excluded from the investigation.

A forensic analysis of the human remains has not been able to establish its gender yet but police have already announced the child suffered a “violent, horrible death”.

“Forensic Science staff are working very hard to deliver a result as quickly as possible,” Detective Superintendent Des Bray said.

“We are hoping to be able to confirm the gender of the child this week.

“A DNA profile is also being taken of the child, however, that will take longer.”

Police are still searching for man seeing walking along the Karoonda Highway at Wynarka carrying a dark suitcase about six to eight weeks ago.

He was not a local and is described as being aged about 60, Caucasian, clean cut and neatly dressed with a light build.

Major Crime detectives have released images of clothing found along with the remains, including a purple Dora the Explorer T-shirt, blue pyjama shorts, and a pair of pink tracksuit pants, in the hope a member of public recognised them.

“We believe the child, aged between two and five years, was murdered at another location but the motive and the exact time frame is unknown,” Superintendent Bray said.

MPs’ expenses and entitlements: a GOUGE I mean guide


Ministers

Salary

Prime Minister: $507.338

Deputy prime minister: $400,016

Treasurer: $365,868.75

Cabinet minister: $336,599.25

Minister: $307,329

Travel and transport

  • Unlimited business class domestic flights for official business
  • Charter flight when commercial fare is more expensive, not available or not feasible
  • Prime Minister has access to Air Force VIP aircraft
  • Car with driver when in Canberra, interstate or travelling for official purposes
  • Travel and transport to party conferences
  • Private-plated vehicle for both work and personal use
  • Ministers are entitled to use of Air Force VIP aircraft if approved by defence minister
  • Official overseas travel and with parliamentary delegations

Travel allowance for official business

Varying commercial rates: $271 in Canberra, $435 in Sydney, $435 in Melbourne and $469 in Perth. Allowance is less for non-commercial arrangements. Number of nights capped according to size of electorate, state or position)

Family travel

Unlimited travel for partners for official purposes. Nine business class return trips to Canberra for a partner and three for each child. Three business class trips for partners and children for interstate trips.

Gifts

Politicians must declare gifts worth $300 or more from private or industry sources and $750 if from official government sources. If the politician wishes to retain the gift, they must pay the difference between its value and the allowable limit or surrender it to the government.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott Prime Minister Tony Abbott Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Speaker of the House and President of the Senate

Salary

$341,477

Travel and transport

  • Unlimited business class domestic flights for official business
  • Car with driver when in Canberra, interstate or travelling for official purposes
  • Travel and transport to party conferences
  • Private-plated vehicle for both work and personal use
  • Official overseas travel and with parliamentary delegations
  • Charter flights for official business

Travel allowance for official business

Varying commercial rates: $271 in Canberra, $435 in Sydney, $435 in Melbourne and $469 in Perth. Allowance is less for non-commercial arrangements. Number of nights capped according to size of electorate, state or position.

Family travel

Unlimited travel for partners for official purposes. Nine business class return trips to Canberra for a partner and three for each child. Three business class trips for partners and children for interstate trips.

Speaker Bronwyn Bishop during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra. Speaker Bronwyn Bishop during question time at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Shadow ministers

Salary

Opposition Leader: $360,990

Deputy opposition leader: $307,329

Shadow minister: $243,912

Travel and transport

  • Unlimited business class domestic flights for official business
  • Car with driver when in Canberra, interstate or travelling for official purposes
  • Travel and transport to party conferences
  • Private-plated vehicle for both work and personal use
  • Official overseas travel for the opposition leader
  • Charter flights for office holders’ official business
  • Overseas travel with parliamentary delegations is covered by the government
  • Leader, deputy leader and Senate leader are entitled to use of Air Force VIP aircraft if approved by defence minister

Travel allowance for official business

Varying commercial rates: $271 in Canberra, $435 in Sydney, $435 in Melbourne and $469 in Perth. Allowance is less for non-commercial arrangements. Number of nights capped according to size of electorate, state or position.

Family travel

Unlimited travel for leaders’ partners for official purposes. Nine business class return trips to Canberra for a partner and three for each child. Three business class trips for partners and children for interstate trips.

Labor leader Bill ShortenLabor leader Bill Shorten Photo: Justin McManus

Parliamentary secretaries

Salary

$243,912

Travel and transport

  • Unlimited business class domestic flights for official business
  • Car with driver when in Canberra, interstate or travelling for official purposes
  • Travel and transport to party conferences
  • Private-plated vehicle for both work and personal use
  • Overseas travel with official visits (approved by prime minister) and parliamentary delegations
  • Entitled to use of Air Force VIP aircraft, at the discretion of their minister, if approved by defence minister

Travel allowance for official business

Varying commercial rates: $271 in Canberra, $435 in Sydney, $435 in Melbourne and $469 in Perth. Allowance is less for non-commercial arrangements. Number of nights capped according to size of electorate, state or position.

Family travel

Unlimited travel for partners for official purposes. Nine business class return trips to Canberra for a partner and three for each child. Three business class trips for partners and children for interstate trips.

Backbenchers

Salary

$195,130

Travel and transport

  • Unlimited business class domestic flights for official business
  • Car with driver when in Canberra, interstate or travelling for official purposes
  • Travel and transport to party conferences
  • Overseas travel with parliamentary delegations
  • Private-plated vehicle for both work and personal use
  • Charter flights for electorate business for senators and members with electorates larger than 10,000 square kilometres

Travel allowances for official business

Varying commercial rates: $271 in Canberra, $395 in Sydney, $395 in Melbourne and $409 in Perth. Allowance is less for non-commercial arrangements. Number of nights capped according to size of electorate, state or position.

Family travel

Nine business class return trips to Canberra for a partner and three for each child. Three business class trips for partners and children to join minister on interstate trips.

Sharman Stone says the Coalition needs to get more women into Parliament.Backbenchers during question time in Parliament. Photo: Andrew Meares

All members and senators

Superannuation

For politicians who entered parliament before the 2004 election:

  • 11.5 per cent of their salary for up to 18 years and 5.75 per cent after that. They also receive a lump sum payments or pension when they retire, based on years of service.
  • For politicians who entered parliament after the 2004 election:
  • Government pays 15.4 per cent of their salary into a super fund elected by the MP.

Gifts

Politicians must declare gifts worth $300 or more from private or industry sources and $750 if from official government sources. If the politician wishes to retain the gift, they must pay the difference between its value and the allowable limit or surrender it to the government.

Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara trial (for murder of Jamie Gao )


update 14/8/15

smh.com.au

Barrister Charles Waterstreet probed for contempt of court over social media posts in McNamara and Rogerson murder trial

Louise Hall
Charles Waterstreet (left) arrives at the murder trial of Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara in July.Charles Waterstreet (left) arrives at the murder trial of Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara in July. Photo: Ben Rushton

High-profile criminal barrister Charles Waterstreet may face contempt of court charges for alleged social media posts which had the potential to prejudice the trial of his client Glen McNamara and co-accused Roger Rogerson.

On Thursday, Justice Geoffrey Bellew formally vacated the trial of Mr McNamara and Mr Rogerson for the murder of university student Jamie Gao during a botched drug deal.

The trial was scheduled to go ahead on Monday, but will not proceed until early next year.

Justice Bellew ordered the registrar of the Common Law Division of the Supreme Court to investigate Mr Waterstreet for contempt of court.

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On Tuesday, as pre-trial hearings were under way, Justice Bellew was told of a post on an Instagram account in Mr Waterstreet’s name, being charleswaterstreet.

The post contained a picture of Mr Waterstreet and another man and was taken in the vicinity of the Darlinghurst Supreme Court.

It had a caption, the contents of which Justice Bellew has suppressed.

Mr Waterstreet told Justice Bellew he did not post the picture and caption.

The court also heard a Twitter account in Mr Waterstreet’s name at @ccwaterstreet posted a link to the Instagram post.

Justice Bellew said he had “no practical alternative” to vacate the trial despite the considerable expense to the taxpayer.

He said it was no fault of the court, the “criminal justice system”, the Crown, Mr Rogerson’s solicitor and barrister or Mr McNamara’s solicitor and said each had worked diligently to ensure the trial proceeded efficiently.

“To say the vacation of the trial is unfortunate would be a gross understatement,” he said.

But he said Mr McNamara, through no fault of his own, was suddenly left without a barrister on Wednesday morning, just days from the opening date, and to proceed would potentially rob him of a fair trial.

Former Liberal NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith, SC, appeared in court, saying Mr McNamara wanted to retain him and Mr Waterstreet’s junior counsel Peter Lange. However, he would not be able to take on the case until next year.

Mr Rogerson’s barrister, George Thomas, argued strongly for the trial to be put back for only two weeks, arguing a competent and experienced barrister who is available to take on the case could get across the brief in that time.

He also accused Mr McNamara of instructing Mr Waterstreet to act in a way that caused the case to go off the rails.

However, Justice Bellew dismissed any suggestion Mr McNamara was behind Mr Waterstreet’s alleged actions.

He also said any barrister taking over the case would need much more than two weeks to get across the volumes of material to be tendered during the trial.

Mr Smith said he was hoping the Legal Aid Commission would approve his retainer.

Mr Thomas said that, as Mr McNamara’s defence was funded by Legal Aid, he did not have the luxury of choosing his own barrister and should take whoever was available.

Both Mr Rogerson and Mr McNamara have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Gao in a storage unit in Padstow last year.

Following the revelation of the social media posts, Mr Waterstreet was given time to get legal advice. He consulted noted appeal barrister Tim Game, SC.

On Wednesday, Mr Waterstreet sought the court’s leave to withdraw from the case.

Mr Game, appearing for Mr Waterstreet, told the court he had advised his client to step down, although this did not constitute an admission of wrongdoing.

Crown Prosecutor Chris Maxwell, QC, and Mr Game agreed Mr Waterstreet should be referred to the registrar for investigation.

In referring Mr Waterstreet, Justice Bellew ordered the registrar to seek and adhere to the “advice of the Crown Solicitor as to whether proceedings for contempt should be taken against Mr Waterstreet”.

He also ordered the registrar to inform the Attorney-General, Gabrielle Upton.


Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara murder trial of Jamie Gao hearing to begin for the 2nd time on August 18 2015

 These 2 pathetic (and stupid) coppers go on trial today TRIAL aborted on the 2nd day! for the alleged botched drug theft gone wrong resulting in the murder of Jamie Gao

UPDATES daily on this trial here background posts click here http://aussiecriminals.com.au/2014/05/26/roger-rogerson-and-glen-mcnamara-charged-with-murder-of-jamie-gao/

A pictorial of the infamous ex copper Roger the Dodger is here http://aussiecriminals.com.au/roger-rogerson/


TAKE 2

Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara murder trial of Jamie Gao hearing to begin on August 18 2015

Paul Bibby

New trial date: former detectives Glen McNamara and Roger Rogerson will appear before the NSW Supreme Court on August 18.New trial date: former detectives Glen McNamara and Roger Rogerson will appear before the NSW Supreme Court on August 18. Photo: Rocco Fazzari

Former detectives Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara will face a new trial over the murder of Sydney student Jamie Gao on August 18, following the discharge of the jury in their first trial.

Justice Geoff Bellew told the NSW Supreme Court that the new trial date for the pair had been confirmed, lifting a non-publication order made on Tuesday.

Mr Rogerson, 74, and Mr McNamara, 56, are accused of being part of a “joint criminal enterprise” to murder Mr Gao, 20, in a southern Sydney storage unit on May 20 last year.

Twenty-year-old Jamie Gao was killed on May 22, 2014.Twenty-year-old Jamie Gao was killed on May 22, 2014. Photo: Facebook

It is alleged that they stole 2.78 kilograms of the drug ice from him and then dumped his body off the coast of Cronulla. It was found six days later.

Half way through the trial’s second day on Tuesday, Justice Bellew discharged the 15-member jury for legal reasons which cannot be disclosed.

Both accused have pleaded not guilty to murder and drug supply.

Counsel for Mr McNamara, Charles Waterstreet told the jury on Tuesday that Mr Rogerson had been solely responsible for the murder.

He said the 74-year-old had shot Mr Gao twice in the chest and then threatened to kill Mr McNamara and his family if he did not help him to cover up the crime.

No evidence was presented to support these claims before the jury was discharged.

Counsel for Mr Rogerson, George Thomas, did not have the opportunity to address the jury before members were discharged.

On Tuesday Justice Bellew said the NSW sheriff had confirmed that a court was available on August 18 to begin a new trial, and he formally set down that date.


TWO former detectives charged with murdering a Sydney student will go on trial before a jury today. Glen McNamara and Roger Rogerson face charges of murdering 20-year-old UTS student Jamie Gao in May last year. They are also accused of drug supply. Their trial at the NSW Supreme Court at Darlinghurst is expected to get underway later this morning. Police have alleged the pair lured Gao to a storage unit in Sydney’s southwest, with Mr Gao attending the meeting carrying almost three kilograms of the drug ice, or crystal methamphetamine.

Roger Rogerson.

Roger Rogerson. Source: DailyTelegraph

Former detective Glen McNamara being escorted to prison after his arrest.

Former detective Glen McNamara being escorted to prison after his arrest. Source: News Corp Australia

Police have alleged the trio were spotted on CCTV entering the storage unit. Ten minutes later, cameras allegedly captured McNamara and Rogerson leaving, dragging a surfboard bag. Mr Gao’s bound body was found floating in waters off Sydney six days later. Both McNamara and Rogerson deny the charges and entered not guilty pleas at a previous hearing. In January they waived their right to a committal hearing in order to get to trial as soon as possible.

Disgraced Lord Buttifant Sewel, deputy speaker of Britain’s House of Lords, quits in ‘drugs and prostitutes’ scandal


Just had to cover this. What chance Aussie pollies are up to this. Call girls, grab your phones and start filming, lets CULL these pigs.

Kick out the cocaine peer: Calls for disgraced Lord Sewel to be expelled from Parliament as he is reported to police over video of him snorting drugs and telling call girls ‘I want to be led astray’

  • Lord Sewel, 69, filmed snorting cocaine with prostitutes at his London flat
  • Video shows him snorting a white substance with rolled-up £5 bank note 
  • Married peer responsible for ‘overseeing standards’ in the House of Lords
  • He has now quit deputy speaker role as police investigate sordid footage

A peer filmed snorting cocaine with prostitutes was facing calls last night to stand down from the House of Lords.

Lord Sewel, 69, was reported to the police and quit as deputy speaker of the Lords after the video emerged.

Until yesterday he chaired a committee on the conduct of peers and has said: ‘The actions of a few damage our reputation. Scandals make good headlines.’

This is the moment Baron John Sewel, 69, was caught on camera snorting a white substance off a table with a rolled-up £5 note during an apparent drug-fuelled sex session with two prostitutes at his central London flat

Drug lord: Sewel is secretly filmed snorting a line of cocaine at his Westminster flat with £200-a-night call girls

The footage was obtained by The Sun on Sunday which claims Sewel stripped naked for a drug-fuelled sex romp at his flat during which he referred to Asian women as 'whores' and turned a picture of his wife face-down

Depraved: His wedding ring visible on his left hand, Sewel uses a rolled £5 note to snort up the white powder

Footage allegedly shows Baron John Sewel taking cocaine

 Outraged watchdogs and politicians say the married father of four should be booted out of Parliament. New laws brought in on July 16 now allow peers to expel colleagues for misconduct.

Obtained by a Sunday newspaper, the video shows John Buttifant Sewel – a minister under Tony Blair – romping with two women at his rent-protected flat near Parliament.

He snorted cocaine from one of the prostitutes’ breasts after turning a photo of his wife face down on a desk. The women were paid £200 each.

Scotland Yard is under pressure to investigate the video, arrest the shamed peer and search his apartment. Cocaine possession attracts a maximum sentence of seven years.

Yesterday morning Sewel resigned as chairman of the privileges and conduct committee and as deputy speaker. The roles gave him a salary of £84,500 and a tax-free annual housing allowance of £36,000.


He was also a British delegate to Nato’s parliamentary assembly – a situation that now raises security fears. And in the 800-strong House of Lords, he has been involved in passing legislation on sexual offences acts, brothel-keeping and prostitution.

Alistair Graham, former head of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said Sewel’s behaviour was staggering and he could have no ‘credibility with the public as a legislator’.

‘You can argue that there are too many peers in the House of Lords already, so standing down would be in the public interest in two ways,’ he said.

‘He should consider stepping down because the public have got to have trust in the people who are legislating on their behalf. How can they have trust in someone who is alleged to have broken the law?

Baron Sewel, who has two children and two more step-children, was made a minister by Mr Blair in 1997

Baron Sewel, who has two children and two more step-children, was made a minister by Mr Blair in 1997

During the footage, Sewell also snorted a white substance off the breasts of the call girls, after discussing on camera that the trio could take 'coke' (pictured). He also told the prostitutes: 'I just want to be led astray'
He asked the girls if they wanted to try the 'big one' and then described it as 'Coca-Cola — forget the Cola'

Baron Sewel will step down from his roles as Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees at the House of Lords following the publication of the 45-minute video, in which he even calls his own behaviour 'disgusting'

‘It is difficult to have trust in somebody who has had such a conflict between his role as the chairman of the conduct committee and his personal behaviour.

‘As an ordinary member of the House of Lords, he will be entitled to a basic subsistence allowance of £300 a day. The public will be appalled that given his personal behaviour as deputy speaker, he should continue to receive public funds.’

Kevin Barron, a Labour MP and chairman of the Commons committee on standards, said: ‘I welcome his decision to resign from his committee. Under the circumstances, he’s hardly in a position to sit in judgment on people.’

Asked whether he should consider resigning his Lords seat, Mr Barron replied: ‘It does look bad. It’s a matter for the individual but I think maybe he should consider that.’

Former anti-sleaze MP Martin Bell said: ‘His position in the House of Lords is untenable.’

John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, said: ‘He should immediately retire and never be seen in the Lords again. Public respect for Parliament couldn’t be any lower as it is.

LORD SEWEL: HOW HIS OWN FINE WORDS CAME BACK TO HAUNT HIM

‘The actions of a few damage our reputation. Scandals make good headlines’

July 16: Sewel announcing new powers to expel Lords if they are caught misbehaving

‘Happy days are here again’

July 22: Sewel as he welcomes the call girls into his London flat

‘They sort of look innocent but, you know, they’re whores’

On Asian women

‘I just want to be led astray’

To one of the call girls

‘Members of her Lordship’s House who are right thieves, rogues and b******* at times. Wonderful people that they are’

On his fellow peers

‘They do f*** all work in the Lords’

More on his fellow peers

‘It’s only £600 a week… you live on £50 a day’

Moaning about the Lords attendance allowance

‘What about trying the big one… it comes in a can… it’s Coca-Cola – forget the cola’

Sewel offers the call girls cocaine

‘If he doesn’t resign, his own committee will have no choice but to suspend him. He’ll end up in front of his own committee, which is absurd.

‘He has been a real barrier to transparency. His committee refuses to act on virtually anything, and notoriously so.’

The Lords code maintains that members must ‘always act on their personal honour’. Sewel was elected chairman of committees in 2012, and he also served as chairman of the conduct committee. In that job he drew up a code of conduct that insists on ‘selflessness, integrity, accountability, openness, honest and leadership’.

Baroness D’Souza, the Lords Speaker, branded his behaviour ‘shocking and unacceptable’ and said she would be calling in Scotland Yard.

Police sources indicated they would assess the evidence but pointed out that drug-taking allegations were notoriously difficult to prove when there is only video evidence.

The peer was caught on the film, which was given to the Sun on Sunday, snorting lines of white powder – believed to be cocaine. He is also heard complaining that he struggles to afford the £1,000 a month rent on his flat.

He is asked whether he receives expenses, and suggests that he gets a flat-rate allowance of £200 a day. In fact, the allowance for Lords is £300 a day, and did not apply to Sewel as he was a salaried member. He may have been talking about the tax-free officeholder’s allowance, which is worth £36,000 a year. He was entitled to this payment, which covers housing costs, because he had declared his main residence to be in Aberdeenshire.

Backbench peers are allowed to charge £300 a day in attendance allowance – letting them to charge the taxpayer up to £43,000 a year.

Sewel was made a life peer by Mr Blair and helped push through an important convention relating to Scottish devolution. He is now non affiliated.

Before the new legislation of July 16, lords could only expel colleagues sentenced to more than a year in jail – or impose a suspension for the remainder of the parliamentary term.

But the new powers means suspensions can be imposed for any period and, for the first time, the upper house can boot out peers at will.

I just want to be led astray, Labour Lord begged his £200-a-night prostitutes

Hunched over a table with a rolled banknote stuffed up his nose, these pictures show Lord Sewel snorting a line of cocaine during an orgy with a pair of £200-a-night call girls.

The photos – from film secretly taken by the prostitutes at his flat near Parliament – lay bare the peer’s depravity.

The sequence begins with Sewel removing a blue packet of white powder from inside a drinks bottle.

The substance – believed to be the Class A drug cocaine – is then cut into neat lines on a table littered with wine glasses and cigarettes.

Caught on camera: Hunched over a table with a rolled banknote stuffed up his nose, these pictures show Lord Sewel snorting a line of cocaine during an orgy with a pair of £200-a-night call girls at his Westminster flat

Drugs: Lord Sewel, 69, removes a packet of white powder believed to be cocaine from a drinks bottle

Dissolute: He unwraps the blue packet, telling the call girls that it is ‘not lunch’, before revealing the substance

Wearing his wedding ring and spectacles, the 69-year-old peer then bends forward and inhales deeply. ‘There we are,’ he says, leaning back and laying his £5 note back on the table.

The married father of four, is also seen downing champagne and vodka before snorting another line from one of the women’s breasts. Both call girls are 45 years his junior.

The two prostitutes handed their 45-minute footage to the Sun on Sunday and it is now at the centre of a police investigation.

A further extraordinary picture was published by the newspaper today, showing Sewel wearing the orange bra and leather jacket of one of the prostitutes.

His sex party kicked off at 10pm last Wednesday when, wearing just a towel, he answered the door of his studio flat in Pimlico, to the two women.

‘Bloody hell I’d given up. S***. Bloody hell you’re late,’ he says, before smacking one of them on the bottom and declaring: ‘Happy days are here again.’

Inside the sparsely furnished studio apartment at the notorious Dolphin Square complex, the trio can been seen sitting round a table smoking and drinking.

In the background is an old-fashioned television, DVD player and a modest, single day bed.

When one of the women asks him ‘How bad do you want to be tonight then?’ Sewel replies: ‘I just want to be led astray’ before turning a framed photo of his wife, Jennifer, 54, face down on a table.

He allegedly snorts three lines of cocaine even though he claims to be ‘taking it easy’ because of a blood test the next day.

The video was filmed in Nelson House in Dolphin Square, which lies in the shadow of Westminster

The photos – from film secretly taken by the prostitutes at his flat near Parliament (pictured) – lay bare the peer’s depravity
 Sex party: The video was filmed in Nelson House in Dolphin Square, which lies in the shadow of Westminster

Sewel begins the night by saying: ‘What shows up in blood tests? I can’t do substances because it can kill me.’ One of the girls says: ‘You were really naughty the other night. You really, really were.’ He responds: ‘I know.’

As the three chat in his studio, Sewel can be heard asking: ‘What about trying the big one?’ One of the girls replies: ‘What’s the big one?’

Sewel, who at this point is wearing an open-collar shirt and beige trousers, says: ‘Um, it comes in a can and it’s got, has it got Pepsi?

‘No, it’s not Pepsi, it’s another word rather than Pepsi cola. It’s Coca-Cola – forget the Cola.’ This is an obvious reference to the slang term for cocaine, ‘coke’. ‘So you want to get some coke?,’ one of the women asks. ‘Well, I mean, if people would enjoy a little,’ he replies, gesturing and wandering around the room.

He can then be seen sitting down at the table and pulling out a small blue package containing white powder from the top of a soft drinks bottle. A cigarette in hand, he unwraps the package while moaning about receiving only a £200-a-day allowance for attending the House of Lords.

One of the call girls then cuts the powder into neat lines and he says: ‘I’ll only have the smallest’ before launching into a rant about how he usually takes his drugs with a £10 banknote.

‘Have you ever noticed before, when this has occurred previously, I have provided usually a ten pound note?’ he asks. ‘It’s rolled up and so in the morning at least I’ve got enough to buy me some breakfast. The rolled-up note disappears, it goes.’

When one of the women asks if he is accusing them of theft, Sewel replies: ‘Yes.’

One of the prostitutes then calls his line ‘ridiculously big’ but Sewel replies ‘I’ll do that.’ He can then be seen, hunched over a dining table with a rolled-up £5 note in his left hand – his wedding ring on display – sniffing the white powder up his left nostril.

Sewel, who is Chairman of the Privileges and Conduct committee, announced the House of Lords' (file photo) new powers to expel Lords if they breached the code of conduct. He may now be expelled under his own rules

‘There we are’ he says afterwards, leaning back in his chair. In a shocking racist outburst, Sewel, who has two children and two stepchildren, then starts moaning that he does not have any ‘nice little young Asian’ women at the party. ‘They sort of look innocent but you know they’re whores,’ he says before laughing and adding: ‘That’s a really nice combination isn’t it?’

‘Oh, we could do with some nice little young Asian lady tonight I would’ve thought. But never mind.’

One of the women asks the peer: ‘What is your deal with the Asian ladies? What do you like about them?’ He replies: ‘Well, I don’t know. As I go around London on the Tube from time to time, I think that they’re slim. Many of them are quite attractive I thought. Not that I’ve ever sort of dabbled.’

He then appears to snort another line off the table before stripping off and parading around the small flat. Minutes later, he is seen lying naked on the bed and calls one of the women over. He then pulls down her top and snorts another line off her breast before stroking and pawing at both women. The video shows Sewel sitting back with the rolled-up banknote still up his nostril.

He pays one of the women £200 in cash. Still pictures from the footage show him sitting topless at the table writing out a £200 cheque to the other woman.

EX-BLAIR CRONY WHO MARRIED THREE TIMES: THE LIFE OF LORD SEWEL

Baron Sewel insisted on turning a framed photo of his wife face-down during his sex games with two call girls, it is alleged.

The thrice-married peer, 69, also kept his wedding ring on while snorting drugs during sex sessions at the London flat he jointly leases with his third wife, Jennifer, aged 54.

The couple, who live in Aberdeen, married in 2005. A former civil servant, Lady Sewel is now a director at Aberdeen University.

Her bespectacled husband has seemingly enjoyed a colourful love life.

Lady Jennifer

Baron John Sewel, who has been married three times, apparently insisted on turning a framed photograph of his third wife Lady Jennifer face-down before engaging in the alleged drug-fuelled sex romp

He married his first wife, Rosemary Langeland, now 69, in Malvern, Worcestershire, in 1968, and the couple went on to have two children, Thomas, 38, and Kate, 36. In 1988, Sewel married second wife Leonora Harding, 70, a clinical psychologist, in Aberdeen.

He lives with his third wife at a £1.2million home in the town of Banchory, 18 miles west of Aberdeen.

His wife’s two children from a previous marriage appear to have taken Sewel’s name. A woman who answered the door at the Banchory house yesterday said the couple were in London.

Until yesterday’s revelations, Lord Sewel was a respected academic and politician instrumental in helping Tony Blair push through Scottish devolution. In 1997 the then prime minister made him a Labour minister for Scotland to help draft plans for the new Scottish Parliament.

This is how he gave his name to so-called Sewel Motions, which dictate that the national Parliament cannot pass laws affecting Scotland without the Scottish government’s agreement.

After guiding the Scotland Act through he failed to win a seat in the Scottish parliament. He was dropped from government and left to languish in the House of Lords.

In an interview he once joked that even his mother wanted him to get a ‘proper job’. ‘I’ve been an academic and a politician all my life. But even when I became a lord my mum used to say, “Why can’t you get a proper job?” ’

Family home: Sewel lives with his third wife at this £1.2million house in Banchory, 18 miles west of Aberdeen

In 2012 he was made chairman of committees, responsible for overseeing standards of behaviour among peers.

He recently announced new powers to expel peers if they misbehave. Ironically, these same rules could now be used to banish him. Writing about these changes on the Huffington Post website this month, he said; ‘The actions of a few damage our reputation. Scandals make good headlines.

‘All members now sign a declaration to obey the code and the seven principles of public life. The requirement that members must always act on their personal honour has been reinforced.

‘No system of regulation can be perfect, but the House of Lords has come a long way since 2010 in improving its regulation of its members and punishing the small number who misbehave. 

Today’s new sanctions strengthen the regime further.’ The peer was born John Buttifant Sewel in Hackney, East London, in 1946. His parents, Leonard and Hilda, were social workers.

He studied politics and sociology at Durham University and carried out research at Swansea University before joining Aberdeen University as a professor.

He became involved with the local Labour Party and was on Aberdeen District Council for ten years from 1974, three as Labour leader.

He went on to become vice principal and dean of the faculty of social sciences and law at Aberdeen University and was made a Labour peer in 1995.

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