Brissy cop charged with murder over baby son’s death in 2014-Still not named


Update 1/02/16

Brisbane policeman Colin Randall appears in court over alleged murder of baby son

A senior police constable from the Brisbane region has been remanded in custody after facing court charged with the murder of his two-month-old son more than 18 months ago.

Colin David Randall, 38, faced the Brisbane Magistrates Court for a brief hearing this morning.

Police and the Crime and Corruption Commission have spent more than a year investigating the baby boy’s death, but it was not reported to the public until the weekend.

Randall was remanded in custody and the matter is due to return to court next month.

Cop’s murder charge a ‘tragic event’

POLICE are expected to allege an officer charged with murdering his baby son was having an extramarital affair with a woman in the Queensland Police Service.

A senior constable from Brisbane Region has been charged with murder.
Why the hell has is taking so long to name one of their own? Queensland Police Service pays its senior constables between $68,894 and $82,638 a year. I GUARANTEE Jo Blow doesn’t get these pathetic privileges for something no where near the crimes relating to a death of a child
By Matt Eaton

Sat 30 Jan 2016, 5:15pm

A 38-year-old Queensland Police senior constable has been charged with murder over the death of his baby son.

Police charged the man after a joint investigation by the child trauma task force within the child safety and sexual crime group, state crime command and the ethical standards command.

The investigation related to the death of a two-month-old boy at a property in Victoria Point on Brisbane’s bay-side on June 28, 2014.

The officer from the Brisbane region, who had already been suspended from duty with the Queensland Police Service, is due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.

At a media conference on Saturday afternoon, Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said he could not release too many details about the case other but confirmed “there were fairly significant injuries to the baby”.

He said the officer involved was suspended about a month after the child’s death and defended the decision by investigators not to speak publicly on the officer’s alleged involvement before today.

In terms of any sort of infant homicide, they aren’t necessarily made known to the media.

Detective Superintendent Cheryl Scanlon

“Our community needs to have confidence, in fact great confidence, that no matter who is responsible for these types of crimes, that its police service will be relentless and committed in ensuring that the investigations are brought to conclusion and that the offenders are brought to justice,” he said.

“Now this is a very tragic event, with the loss of a young, innocent life and the devastation of a family.

“I’m a father — these sorts of crimes, irrespective of who commits them, are tragic and terrible.

“I can only say that we are committed, as we have been in this instance, to making sure the offender is brought to justice.

“Particularly in this one, we’ve [been] very careful, hence our involvement with the Crime and Corruption Commission to make sure everything has been done properly.”

Detective Superintendent Cheryl Scanlon said they would have kept the investigation away from public attention regardless of who was involved.

“In terms of any sort of infant homicide, they aren’t necessarily made known to the media,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter whether there’s a police officer charged or a member of the community.

“They are extremely difficult, complex and protracted investigations where you have expert evidence involved and they take many, many months to resolve.”

Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said the officer was suspended on full pay but now that he had been charged this would be reviewed.


Police officer still paid after baby’s death

Updated: 6:27 pm, Saturday, 30 January 2016

A Queensland police officer accused of murdering his baby son has spent the last year-and-a-half suspended from duty on full pay.

The 38-year-old senior constable was charged with murder on Saturday morning after his two-month-old son succumbed to ‘fairly significant injuries’ at Victoria Point in Brisbane’s east in June 2014.

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the baby’s death was immediately considered suspicious and the officer was suspended ‘about a month after the incident’.

‘The usual procedure we have is when under investigation, before any charges are laid, the officers are suspended on pay,’ Mr Gollschewski told reporters on Saturday.

‘Now that he has been charged that will be reviewed and consideration will be given to suspension without pay.

‘That’s a technical legal matter that has to be considered properly.’

Queensland Police Service pays its senior constables between $68,894 and $82,638 a year.

But Mr Gollschewski defended the amount of time the investigation took, saying infant homicides were difficult to investigate because they relied upon medical expert evidence that could take months to obtain and verify.

‘This is a very tragic event with the loss of a young innocent life and the devastation of a family,’ he said.

‘These types of investigations are very difficult, challenging and, in this instance, quite protracted.’

He also defended the decision not to release any information about the incident before now, including the fact an officer was suspended on suspicion of a child’s murder, because detectives needed to maintain ‘the integrity of the investigation’.

The deputy commissioner said the lengthy investigation was aided by the Crime and Corruption Commission and various experts.

‘Our community needs to have confidence, in fact great confidence, that no matter who is responsible for these types of crimes, the police service will be relentless and committed to ensuring the investigations are brought to a conclusion,’ he said.

‘And that the offenders are brought to justice.’

Mr Gollschewski refused to provide any details about the incident itself, saying the matter was now before the courts.

The officer is due to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.


 

Brisbane cop to appear in court charged with baby son’s death

January 30, 2016 – 5:12PM

Queensland Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski addresses the media with State Crime Command Detective Superintendent Cheryl Scanlon, after a 38-year-old senior constable was charged with the murder of his baby son.Queensland Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski addresses the media with State Crime Command Detective Superintendent Cheryl Scanlon, after a 38-year-old senior constable was charged with the murder of his baby son. Photo: Kim Stephens

A Queensland police officer will face court on Monday charged with the murder of his baby son in 2014.

This is a very tragic event with the loss of a young, innocent life and the devastation of a family

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski

The senior constable’s two-month-old boy died after suffering “significant” injuries at his home at bayside Victoria Point, south-east of Brisbane, on June 28, 2014, Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said on Saturday.

The 38-year-old was stood down on full pay one month after the child’s death, when an investigation was launched.

He was not on duty at the time the boy died.

The Brisbane region senior constable was arrested and charged on Saturday after a protracted probe involving multiple investigatory agencies, including the police Ethical Standards Command and the independent Crime and Corruption Commission.

As the matter is before the courts, Mr Gollschewski declined to elaborate on how the baby boy is alleged to have died but said the injuries that caused his death were severe.

“It’s a complicated one, other than to say there were fairly significant injuries to the baby,” he said.

“This is a very tragic event with the loss of a young, innocent life and the devastation of a family.

“These types of investigations are very difficult and challenging and in this instance quite protracted.”

Mr Gollschewski defended Queensland Police Service not revealing one of their officers had been stood down subject to a murder investigation until he had been charged.

“As with any of these types of investigations, they are very difficult, it’s very important they are conducted in a way that the evidence is preserved and that we are able to present that to a court so a proper determination can be made,” he said.

“Our community needs to have confidence, great confidence, that no matter who is responsible for these types of crime, the police service will be relentless and committed to ensuring investigations are brought to their conclusion and the offenders are brought to justice.”

State Crime Command Detective Superintendent Cheryl Scanlon said all infant murder investigations were lengthy and detailed ones.

“In terms of any infant homicide they are not necessarily made known to members of the media, it doesn’t matter if there is a police officer charged or a member of the community, they are extremely difficult, complex and protracted investigations,” she said.

“Where you have experts involved and they take many, many months to resolve, this particular case is no different to other cases involving infant homicides.”

Mr Gollschewski said the alleged crime was a particularly tragic one.”I’m a father, these sort of crimes, irrespective of who commits them, are tragic and terrible,” he said.

“I can only say that we are committed, as we have been in this instance, to making sure the offender was brought to justice.”

The baby’s father has been remanded in custody to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday, February 1.


 

 

 

Former top Vic Lib Damien Mantach charged over $1.5m taken from party


 Updated 18/11/15 2.30pm

Not the first time either…. he had a go at making some extra bucks in the apple isle of Tassie too a while back and was moved on…mmm just like those priests who have rumours made about them tongue in cheek)

Former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach.

Former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach.

Former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach has been charged with 44 counts of obtaining financial advantage totalling about $1.5 million.

In August, Mantach was accused of embezzling election campaign funds, with the money alleged to have vanished over four years to fund his lifestyle.

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

Victoria Police fraud and extortion squad were called in to investigate.

Police said a 42-year-old man from Ocean Grove is to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court this afternoon.


Victoria Police investigate Liberal Party state director over embezzlement claims worth $1.5m

Updated 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.


 

What happened to $34 million from Aboriginal fund on Groote Eylandt?


A matter of trust…

05/11/2015

It was millions of dollars in mining royalties that was meant to be spent for the benefit of the Groote Eylandt community.

Instead, tens of millions were spent on 156 cars and boats, fridges, a barge, gambling at the casino and charter flights.

The latest chapter in the extraordinary saga played out in the Darwin Supreme Court on Monday.

The former public officer of Groote Eylandt Aboriginal Trust (GEAT), Rosalie Lalara, had earlier pleaded guilty to misappropriating almost $500,000.

Her bail was revoked and she is now behind bars awaiting sentencing.

A total of $34 million disappeared from the GEAT coffers between 2010 and 2012, leaving just $400,000 remaining in the account.

While Lalara has pleaded guilty to a fraction of the missing millions, exactly what happened to the rest remains a mystery.

But those involved in the case said little of it appeared to have been spent on housing, education or the needs of the community.

Jacqueline Lahne was brought in as the interim operations manager at GEAT when the trust was put into administration in 2012.

“My initial impression was that there was a group of people [on Groote Eylandt] who were literally living like rock stars,” she said in an interview with the ABC.

Chartered planes, vehicles waiting for them at airports, they owned multiple vehicles and boats themselves. They had access endlessly to cash for their lifestyles and then for their families.

Groote Eylandt, a remote island off Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, regularly appears at the top of the Northern Territory’s richest postcodes.

It earns millions each year in royalties from the nearby South32 manganese mine.

Since its inception in the early 1960s, the trust has earned more than $200 million in royalties.

Lalara told the ABC she is not responsible for all the money that went missing.

“They accuse me of being a thief and I don’t steal,” Lalara said in an interview with the ABC.

Lalara was the community’s go-to person on the trust and said not everyone was happy with the trust’s rules on how royalty money should be spent.

“They say, ‘Oh, it’s our money, you should spend this money on us. Why you keeping the money, what for? It shouldn’t be up there in the bank, it should be down here spent’,” she said.

Court documents in a separate case allege Lalara was involved in the purchase of 156 cars and boats at a total cost of $5 million.

A barge and real estate in Cairns were also bought with trust money.

The documents alleged cash cheques to a total value of $3.5 million were written from the trust account and fraudulently recorded against funeral costs.

Millions remain unaccounted for due to poor record keeping

In court documents in civil proceedings against Darwin’s Skycity casino, it is alleged Lalara gambled more than $1 million of trust money.

“If I had a million dollars would I be gambling it? No, thank you. That is all bad,” she said.

“We went and bought a whole heap of stuff … maybe fridges, washing machines, even air conditioners, yeah, beddings, beds, mattresses, yep.”

But what exactly has happened to the remaining $33 million is unclear.

Ms Lahne said that many millions remain unaccounted for because GEAT kept poor records.

She believes non-Indigenous businesses who preyed on the trust received a large percentage of the missing millions.

“I guess we’d call them carpetbaggers wouldn’t we?” she said.

“They’re people, or sharks, that prey on vulnerable populations.

“They find that organisations are limited in their governance structures and capacity, they work their way in there.”

Court documents alleged one operator who did business with the trust regularly charged 30 per cent commission to the trust.

“Vehicles that had been purchased by the trust weeks before for perhaps $35,000, were sold on for $5,000 or $10,000 in cash,” Ms Lahne said.

“So the trust automatically lost a portion of cash and the vehicle disappeared, plates were destroyed, it’s gone.”

Purchase of cars for teens triggered ‘distrust’

Not all of the community were benefiting from the largesse.

It was the purchase of cars for kids barely in their teens that caused the community outrage and made them act.

“Thirteen-year-old girls getting bought a car and 15-year-old boys getting a boat,” said Keith Hansen, who has lived on the island for 25 years and is married to a local beneficiary.

“That’s when the distrust really came into place, when they were buying for a birthday for a 13-year-old girl a flash Ford Falcon sedan.”

Groote Eylandters told the ABC that 300 locals confronted Lalara about the trust’s finances on the oval in the town of Anuragu in early 2012.

Punches were thrown, the police were called and there were multiple arrests.

On March 12, 2012 more than 500 locals signed a petition which was sent to the Northern Territory Attorney-General, saying “many millions of dollars have been wasted and corruption is rife … no-one is game to do anything for fear of retribution”.

The Government stepped in and a statutory manager was appointed.

Ms Lahne worked alongside the statutory manager and said she was “shocked” when she arrived on Groote Eylandt.

“I would have expected with all the years of royalties going into that island to see more supporting infrastructure, better local health services, better support agencies that the trust might be investing in but there was no evidence of that,” she said.

But Lalara said she was put under great cultural pressure by beneficiaries to keep buying things for them with money from the trust.

“I reckon I was stuck with the two worlds. White-man world, white-man way and blackfella way. And what I was trying to do was to do it our way, and it’s not written in the book,” she said.

“We try to balance the both sides so it doesn’t how you say … ruin things. But it obviously ruined [things].”

Lalara is angry that the community has not defended her since charges were laid against her in 2013.

“The community is the fault and I say they are gutless and they are coward and it’s their fault all this happened,” she said.

“Now everybody’s … happy sitting behind their cars and steering wheels and that they don’t even want to help [me].”

Auditors under the microscope

In a separate case, three international companies employed to give financial and legal advice to GEAT’s trustees are now being sued.

In a civil case in the Darwin Supreme Court, GEAT is alleging KPMG, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and Minter Ellison failed to detect numerous “irregularities” in the trust’s operation in the 18 months that $34 million was spent.

Trust lawyers claim if the firms had performed their duties diligently they could have prevented tens of millions of dollars being misspent.

“The flag could have been raised years ago,” Ms Lahne said.

The ABC approached KPMG, Deloitte and Minter Ellison, which have combined to fight the civil claims against them. They all declined to comment.

Despite $200 million being paid in royalties to the trust over the past 50 years, Ms Lahne said there was little evidence on the island of the wealth received by the 1,800 Aboriginal beneficiaries of GEAT.

“I think they are a very strong community, they’re on their land, they’re on country and they’re really quite traditional in my experience,” Ms Lahne said.

“I think the lost opportunity is incalculable. I think generations to come will look back … and say ‘look what we could have had’ you know from that money, had it been invested properly.”

It was high drama in the Darwin Supreme Court earlier this week when Lalara sacked her lawyer and handed in an unsigned document that claimed judges appointed in Australia after 1901 did not have valid legal powers, and therefore no judge had the standing to decide her case.

Lalara’s bail was revoked and she is now in custody. Her next court appearance is set down for December 21.

 

Andrea Lehane: Mother struck in ‘callous’ mini-motorbike hit-run to have life support switched off


These pathetic weasels need to be  found, dobbed in, whatever…Gutless and those who are protecting them are even weaker. STAND UP

  James Lehane says his wife Andrea will be remembered as an extraordinary person. (Supplied: Andrea Lehane fundraising page)

A mother of two who was critically injured when she was struck by a motorcyclist in a “callous” hit-run will have her life support switched off, her husband has confirmed.

Andrea Lehane, 34, was walking through a pedestrian crossing at a Carrum Downs shopping centre in Melbourne’s south-east when she was bowled over by a mini-motorcycle.

CCTV captured the moment she was struck. It shows a group of motorbike riders speeding off after the collision.

Ms Lehane’s husband James issued a statement to Macquarie Radio saying his wife had suffered “unsurvivable brain damage” in the crash.

“The team at the Alfred [Hospital] have done an extraordinary job but the damage done has been confirmed to be too great,” he said.

Mr Lehane said his wife’s life support would be switched off at some point today or tomorrow.

He said, for his wife’s final act of generosity, the family had consented to organ donation.

“I will be taking her children, her three-year-old son and four-year-old daughter to see their mum for the last time before this occurs.”

Mr Lehane said in the statement that his wife would be remembered as an extraordinary person.

“She was very content in her life and loved and cared for her family and friends. She always put them first,” he said.

“She will always be remembered and missed. Words cannot explain how I feel.”

Yesterday, Victoria Police Inspector Bernie Rankin appealed for the motorcyclists involved to come forward, saying he was certain they knew what had happened.

“It was just callous,” he said.

“Even the motorcycles following the offending one that struck the woman saw what happened, saw the whole thing unfold in front of them.

“They were aware she hit that ground very heavily and of course, they would also be aware the likelihood of her suffering serious injuries was high.”

Mini-bikes ‘a recipe for disaster’

The mini-motorcycle that hit Ms Lehane was most likely an illegal cheap import from China, according to the Victorian Motorcycle Council.

Vice-chairman Peter Baulch said they were slipping through a loophole in legislation and design rules.

“It’s just a recipe for disaster as we’ve seen this week,” he told 774 ABC Melbourne.

“I’m not normally a supporter of regulation for regulation’s sake … but clearly there is a void or a gap in our current regulations that allows these illegal bikes to be imported and sold.

“Unfortunately it puts the burden back on police to enforce the existing regulations in respect of helmets, protective clothing and the like.”

Mr Baulch said history indicated banning the motorbikes would not work.

“Unfortunately experience tells us that when these culprits are apprehended they get a gentle slap on the wrist from authorities — there’s no real deterrent to prevent this recurring,” he said.

Frankston Council ban on mini-motorbikes difficult to enforce

Frankston Council, which takes in Carrum Downs, banned unregistered mini-motorcycles in 2007 under local law after complaints about noise and risk of serious injury.

Mayor Sandra Mayer said police had seized eight motorbikes in the past year in the area while the council had impounded another 10.

But she said it was a difficult problem to tackle.

“We used to have community safety meetings a couple of times a year in the area and the police would always say, ‘Well, we can’t very well chase someone on a bike through a park in a police vehicle’,” she said.

“One thing you can do as a resident, if you know where these people live, if they’re your neighbours, then notify police.”


Bedside vigil kept for Melbourne mother Andrea Lehane after Carrum Downs hit and run

September 25, 2015 – 10:23AM

Chloe Booker, Marissa Calligeros, Rania Spooner

Monkey-bike mows down mum-of-two

Andrea Lehane remains in a critical condition in hospital after one in a group of five youths on motorbikes struck her in a Carrum Downs car park on Wednesday.

A Melbourne mother who was run down and left for dead by a gang of young hoons on mini “monkey” motorbikes has suffered “unsurvivable brain damage”.

The family of Andrea Lehane, who described her as “extraordinary wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunty, niece and friend”, confirmed her condition as they kept a vigil at her bedside, radio station 3AW reported on Friday.

Ms Lehane, 34, was struck walking across a pedestrian crossing in the Carrum Downs Regional Shopping Centre car park about 5.10pm on Wednesday.

Andrea Lehane with husband James Lehane.Andrea Lehane with husband James Lehane. Photo: Facebook

She will leave behind two children aged three and four.

Her distraught husband, James, released a statement on Friday morning, saying his wife would not survive the incident.

“On Wednesday afternoon my family’s lives changed in an instant from a careless and avoidable accident,” he said.

Andrea Lehane is a mother of two.Andrea Lehane is a mother of two. Photo: Facebook

“As a result of the impact, my wife suffered unsurvivable brain damage.

“The team at The Alfred have done an extraordinary job, but the damage has been confirmed to be too great.

“Being a nurse, Andy was always keen on organ donation, so as a family we have consented to her going through a complete organ donation process.

“Some time today or tomorrow she will go into theatre, with her life support machines, for her final act of caring and giving.

“I will be taking her children, her three-year-old son and four-year-old daughter, to see their mum for the last time before this occurs.

“She was an extraordinary wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunty, niece and friend. She was very content in her life and loved and cared for her family and friends – she always put them first. She will always be remembered and missed. Words cannot explain how I feel.”

Mr Lehane has requested privacy for his family, saying they would like time to grieve.

Ms Lehane was flown to The Alfred hospital in a critical condition with severe head and chest injuries on Wednesday.

Police described the behaviour of the five motorcycle riders, believed to be teenage boys, as “callous”.

Confronting CCTV footage shows them roaring through the busy carpark and slamming into Ms Lehane as she nears the end of the pedestrian crossing.

The first rider passed her, then performed a wheelie, while the second bike, carrying two people, struck her.

The two boys fell off the bike, after which the passenger ran off, while the rider jumped back on his bike and sped off.

One woman, who asked not to be named, described the horrific sight of seeing her laying face down on the ground.

“Everyone was just trying to help her out,” she said, still visibly shaken.

“There was just blood everywhere, flowing everywhere.

“They need to do something to make it safer.”

She said one bystander had jumped into a nearby car and chased after the group of hoons fleeing on their bikes.

“My thoughts are for her now,” she said, after laying a card among the flowers.

Meanwhile, local residents have likened the shopping centre car park to a “drag strip”.

“Everyone drives way too fast around it, like a drag strip, and definitely not enough lighting at night. She was hit on the crossing!” one woman said on Facebook.”Too awful for words.”

Residents placed flowers and a teddy bear next to the pedestrian crossing where the woman was struck, along with notes expressing support and sympathy.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you, get well soon,” one note reads.

“We weep for all, we pray for humanity,” another states.

Detective Inspector Bernie Rankin, from the Major Collision Investigation Unit, said it was not yet clear whether the youths were riding “monkey” bikes or other motorcycles.

Frankston Council, which takes in Carrum Downs, was the first in Victoria to ban the bikes in 2007.

It is illegal to ride most monkey bikes, also known as pocket bikes, on public roads or footpaths.

But is not illegal to own one for use on a private property, such as a gated farm and the small vehicles can easily be bought online.

In general, the bikes have a top speed of 70km/h.

Most monkey bikes, formally known as miniature motorcycles, do not comply with the Australian Design Rules and cannot be registered as a motorcycle.

“Riding a monkey bike without a valid motorcycle licence means a rider will be committing two offences, including driving an unregistered vehicle and driving without a licence,” said Robyn Seymour, the director of vehicle and road use policy at VicRoads.

However some monkey bikes, including a line manufactured by Honda, do comply with Australian Design Rules and, therefore, can be registered.It is understood those select bikes have the right compliance plates to meet Australian road safety standards.

Frankston Council, which takes in Carrum Downs, was the first in Victoria to ban monkey bikes entirely in 2007.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


 

 

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


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.

Nomads Motorcycle Club raids sparked by threats of blackmail and payback against two SA men


Standover 101, Give me 30 grand (happens to be the price for a nice harley) Give me your bike, and give me your car….fill in the rest.

Great to see the cops scooping these steroid pumped bludgers off the streets one by one. If we allow them to just come and standover folks demanding cash and to take  possessions we will never ever win the war against them.

The Nomads Hardcore tactics

Chief Court Reporter Sean Fewster
The Advertiser
June 01, 2015 5:19PM

THE two-state raids that smashed the powerful Nomads Motorcycle Club were sparked by threats of blackmail, payback and retribution against two SA men, a court has heard.

Prosecutors today asked the Adelaide Magistrates Court to remand two of the men in custody, despite their being granted bail when arrested in NSW last week.

Sandi McDonald, SC, prosecuting, said the allegations against the duo and their 10 co-accused were some of the most serious examples of bikie-related crime.

“In November, these men flew in from NSW, met up with the complainant, took him to the Adelaide High School oval and demanded $30,000, his car and his motorbike,” she said.

“He was taken to a motel where he was threatened, assaulted and told he was going to die.

Police arrest man during a bikie gang crackdown
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/video/id-BjOHRjdTqruBV11eXa-n7ClDythZuhfj/Police-arrest-man-during-a-bikie-gang-crackdown/

“This defendant, a high-ranking member of the gang, threatened to slit his throat (and) cut his eyes out … he held the complainant’s head down and aimed a firearm at him.”

The man, whose identity is suppressed, is one of eight Nomads to face court today in the wake of last week’s raids by SA and NSW police.

Four members faced court last week, and one was supported by the gang’s national president, Sleiman “Simon” Tajjour.

Six more were extradited from Sydney on Friday — they did not apply for bail today and were remanded in custody until August.

One of the Nomads who faced court in Adelaide today, with a supporter.

One of the Nomads who faced court in Adelaide today, with a supporter.

The remaining two men travelled to Adelaide today under bail agreements imposed by the Paramatta Magistrates Court following the raids.

Each has yet to plead to a raft of blackmail, assault and threaten harm charges taking place at locations across Adelaide between November 2014 and March this year.

A final co-accused remains at large and is the subject of an arrest warrant.

The identities of the victims, and any information which would tend to identify them, are suppressed by order of the court.

One of the Nomads who faced court in Adelaide today.

One of the Nomads who faced court in Adelaide today.

Under SA law, a person charged with bikie-related offending is automatically banned from receiving bail unless they can show there are special circumstances warranting their release.

Today Michael Dadds, for the first of the two bailed men, said his client’s liberty should continue so he could return to Sydney, continue working and continue caring for his two children.

He said his client had severed his ties with the Nomads.

“He had been attempting, for some time, to disassociate himself from the club and, in January, he successfully did that … it was a delicate process,” he said.

A member of the Nomads Motorcycle Club being extradited from NSW.

A member of the Nomads Motorcycle Club being extradited from NSW.

“His lawyer in Sydney subsequently made inquiries with NSW police with a view to establishing how best to go about, in a formal way, ensuring that disassociation was noted.”

Mr Dadds said his client had attended a police station and signed a statutory declaration about his disassociation — “one of, if not the first” NSW bikie to do so.

He said the court should not place great weight on the allegations made by the complainant.

“The allegations are denied and there is a real question, in this case, about the reliability of the complainant,” he said.

A member of the Nomads Motorcycle Club being extradited from NSW.

A member of the Nomads Motorcycle Club being extradited from NSW.

“His allegations are uncorroborated … these allegations of blackmail and intimidation all rely on someone who is unreliable.”

Ms McDonald said that was not the case, as police had sourced CCTV footage from Adelaide Airport, the high school and the motel that matched the complainant’s account.

She said the court should not place great weight on the man’s claims of having disassociated from the Nomads.

“What I have been advised, through police in NSW, is that this defendant was charged with consorting offences and, during his police interview, claimed he had disassociated,” she said.

A member of the Nomads Motorcycle Club being extradited from NSW.

A member of the Nomads Motorcycle Club being extradited from NSW.

“Police asked him to fill in one of these forms, which were being piloted at that stage, and he did so.

“So it occurred in very contrived circumstances where this defendant had very vested interests … he did what he was told, when it suited him, when it was in his best interests.”

Magistrate Jayne Basheer refused the man bail and remanded him in custody until August.

Paul Mazurkiewicz, for the second man, said his client be allowed to remain at liberty because, on the police version of events, he “played a lesser role” in the alleged offending.

He said his client was barely mentioned in the complainant’s statements to police and, when he was, it was him leaving a room or standing nearby while others uttered threats.

“All these allegations of gouging out eyeballs, firearms, being held down on beds, threats, demands for money, they don’t involve my client,” he said.

Mr Mazurkiewicz said the man who faced court on Friday was the “mover and shaker” in the incident, as described by the complainant’s witness statement.

“The complainant says he saw my client leave the room before (the man who appeared on Friday) demanded he continue to tell the Nomads he was not able to come up with the $30,000, but he still had to pay (that man) the $30,000,” he said.

“(That man) also told the complainant if he ever told anyone about it, he would kill him.

“It would appear (that man) was on a frolic of his own and recruited other people to help him.”

He said his client had left the gang and now “faced consequences” as a result of that decision.

Ms McDonald said the man should be remanded in custody, saying he played far more than a “peripheral” role in the incident.

She said he had menaced the complainant physically, by standing close to him and raising his fists, and verbally by agreeing with and supporting threats made by others.

“It was not a stroll in the park — it was heated and animated,” she said.

Ms McDonald said the man was part of a 13-strong group that flew to Adelaide, threatened the complainant “as the first thing they did” and then “flew out the next day”.

“These people put themselves in the one per cent of the population that holds itself above the law and this is what they do — retribution and intimidation,” she said.

She said that, when the man was arrested, he was found to be in possession of a sawn-off .22 calibre rifle and a loaded magazine for an SKS assault rifle.

Magistrate Basheer remanded the man in custody overnight and will hand down her ruling on bail tomorrow.


12 Nomad outlaw bikie gang members arrested in SA and NSW

Twelve Nomad bikie gang members have been arrested and charged with a range of offences,

Twelve Nomad bikie gang members have been arrested and charged with a range of offences, including solicit to murder.

FOR nine months, police have tracked the Adelaide chapter of the Nomad outlaw bikie gang amid allegations of extortion within its own ranks.

Today, the gang is in shreds after being smashed by a two-state police operation, and eight South Australian Nomads, including two of the gang’s highest-ranking patched members, are in jail. A ninth is on the run.

Charges against a total of 12 people include soliciting to murder, kidnapping, blackmail and assault, and police say they have dealt the gang a “significant blow”.

The group only has 10 or 12 patched members in Adelaide and The Advertiser understands it has been established in SA for about a year.

Assistant Commissioner Paul Dickson said the SA president and sergeant-at-arms, as well as the NSW-based national vice president, were arrested as part of the operation. He said the victims were other members or associates of the gang.

“All of these offences were committed as a result of the victims not undertaking the required acts set out by the Nomads,” he said.

Mr Dickson said the allegations showed what outlaw bikies were capable of, especially as the offences were allegedly committed against their own.

“They are quite happy to harm the community and they are quite happy to harm their own members if it suits them,” he said.

He said there were 10 outlaw bikie gangs operating in SA, with about 300 members.

“About 25 per cent of OMGC members are in police custody or under some sort of condition, like parole,” he said.

High-ranking outlaw bikies arrested

Director of Litigation Research Unit at the University of Adelaide David Caruso said arrests of this scale send a clear message to the club.

“The police are obviously confident they have built a significant case to say that there are at least this number of people involved in a criminal enterprise,” he said.

“With the Nomads in South Australia, where the number is not many more than the group arrested, it at least sends a message from the police – which needs to be tested in court – that says they are operating in South Australia for criminal purposes.”

As part of the operation, more than 170 officers from SA and NSW conducted raids across the two states, with 18 Adelaide properties searched.

Police will allege the offences happened in SA between November 2014 and March 2015, and the 12 arrested people were either full members, nominees, prospects or associates of the Nomads.

“These are well-organised criminal gangs driven by a culture of self-interest and violence internally and within the community,” Mr Dickson said.

“This offending also demonstrates again the cost and risks linked with being a member of, or associated with, an OMCG.”

Five South Australians, aged between 24 and 50, were arrested in NSW and have appeared in court for extradition back to their home state. Another three South Australians – from Andrews Farm, Parafield Gardens and Pennington – were arrested in Adelaide and were in court on Wednesday.

Of the four NSW residents arrested, three will face extradition to Adelaide.

Those arrested are:

■ A Clearview man, 24, will appear in the Goulburn Magistrates Court today for an extradition hearing.

He will be charged in SA with solicit to murder, two counts of aggravated blackmail, participating in criminal organisation, aggravated assault causing serious harm with intent and aggravated kidnapping.

■ An Elizabeth North man, 26, will appear in the Goulburn Magistrates Court today for an extradition hearing.

Supplied Editorial

An alleged Nomad bikie gang member is arrested in NSW. Picture: NSW Police

He will be charged with aggravated assault causing serious harm with intent, false imprisonment, participating in criminal organisation and aggravated kidnapping.

■ An Andrew Farms man, 26, was charged with aggravated assault causing serious harm with intent. He appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court yesterday and was remanded in custody until August 4.

■ A Paralowie man, 50, will appear in the Goulburn Magistrates Court today for an extradition hearing.

He will be charged with aggravated assault causing serious harm with intent.

■ A Campbelltown man, 31, will appear in the Goulburn Magistrates Court today for an extradition hearing.

He will be charged with participating in a criminal organisation.

■ A Para Vista man, 40, will appear in the Goulburn Magistrates Court today for an extradition hearing.

Police-supplied images of the Nomad bikie arrests - this arrest takes place at Clearview.

Police-supplied images of the Nomad bikie arrests – this arrest takes place at Clearview.

Images of the arrest at Clearview.

Images of the arrest at Clearview.

He will be charged with aggravated assault causing serious harm with intent, false imprisonment and participating in a criminal organisation

■ A Parafield Gardens man, 37, was charged with aggravated assault causing serious harm with intent, false imprisonment, participating in a criminal organisation and aggravated kidnapping.

He appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court yesterday and was remanded in custody until August 4.

■ A Pennington man, 35, was charged with aggravated assault causing serious harm with intent, false imprisonment, participating in a criminal organisation and aggravated kidnapping.

He appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court yesterday and was remanded in custody until August 4.

■ A Sydney man, 30, has been arrested and following a court appearance will be extradited to SA to face two counts of aggravated blackmail, making aggravated threats to kill and cause harm, aggravated assault causing harm, blackmail and participating in a criminal organisation.

■ A 37-year-old man, from Kenthurst in NSW, was arrested and charged with making aggravated threats to kill and cause harm, aggravated assault causing harm and aggravated blackmail.

He has been bailed to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on June 1.

■ A 30-year-old man, from Fletcher in NSW, was charged with making aggravated threats to kill and cause harm and aggravated assault causing harm.

He is expected to appear at an extradition hearing in NSW today.

■ A 26-year-old man, from Merrylands West in NSW, was charged with aggravated blackmail. He is expected to appear at an extradition hearing in NSW tomorrow.

Police have also issued a warrant for the arrest of a Paralowie man, 41, who is wanted in connection with this investigation.


ONE of Australia’s most senior outlaw bikies has attended an Adelaide court to support an arrested colleague following raids that have left their gang in shreds.

Nomads national president Sleiman “Simon” Tajjour sat in the public gallery of the Adelaide Magistrates Court today, while one of his crew sat in the dock in custody.

The Advertiser understands that man, 31, whose identity has been suppressed, is a senior national office-bearer for the club.

Mr Tajjour outside the Adelaide Magistrates Court, where he was supporting a colleague.

Mr Tajjour outside the Adelaide Magistrates Court, where he was supporting a colleague.

Nomads national president Sleiman “Simon” Tajjour flashes a smile for waiting media.

Nomads national president Sleiman “Simon” Tajjour flashes a smile for waiting media.

He has yet to plead to two counts of aggravated blackmail, making threats to kill and cause harm and aggravated assault causing harm.

The man is further charged with blackmail and participating in a criminal organisation.

He was one of 12 gang members arrested yesterday in a two-state operation that involved more than 170 officers from SA and NSW.

Mr Tajjour, who has not been charged with any offence, listened from the public gallery as prosecutor Sandi McDonald, SC, asked the charged man’s case be adjourned.

A member of the Nomads gang being escorted out of the City watch house.

A member of the Nomads gang being escorted out of the City watch house.

“This is his first appearance, and this matter will eventually join up with the 12 other accused on a date that has been set in August,” she said.

Ms McDonald said three of those accused had already faced court, while the others would be flown into Adelaide this afternoon to face court on Monday.

She asked the man’s name and image be suppressed until police completed identification procedures.

One of the Nomad gang members being escorted out of Adelaide Airport.

One of the Nomad gang members being escorted out of Adelaide Airport.

Ms McDonald also asked the court suppress the names, images and anything that would tend to identify the two alleged victims in the matter.

“By the next court date we will have received statements from the two alleged victims, which I understand are quite voluminous,” she said.

“We will also be making an application to have this defendant declared a serious organised crime offender.”

Another member of the Nomad gang members being escorted out of Adelaide Airport.

Another member of the Nomad gang members being escorted out of Adelaide Airport.

A third extradited Nomad gang member being escorted out of Adelaide Airport.

A third extradited Nomad gang member being escorted out of Adelaide Airport.

The man’s Sydney-based lawyer, Omar Juweinat, said his client would be seeking release on bail and asked a hearing date be set.

“The officer in charge (of the operation) is most likely going to be required for a short cross-examination during that hearing,” he said.

Magistrate Jayne Basheer remanded the man in custody for a bail hearing next month, and to join up with his co-accused’s cases in August.

Mr Tajjour declined to comment outside court, telling reporters to “ask my lawyer”.

Mr Huweinat also declined to comment.


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