Tiahleigh Palmer: Foster father Rick Thorburn charged with murder over schoolgirl’s death

Featured


 BTW I have heaps of Video and court Docs just waiting to post  legally

Inside the idyllic rural property where 12-year-old Tiahleigh Palmer’s spent 10 months before her murder

IT WAS a house of misery where Tiahleigh Palmer spent 10 months of her life before her murder.

The schoolgirl was placed with former truck driver and muscle-car enthusiast Rick Thorburn and his family in the house on an isolated stretch of road at Chambers Flat, a rural pocket of strawberry farms and horse paddocks in the Logan area south of Brisbane.

The seemingly idyllic 2ha property where Tiahleigh made her new home with the Thorburn family is modern, with two bathrooms, a swimming pool, rolling green lawns and horses in the yard.

But inside the four-bedroom brick house just eight minutes from where Tiahleigh was last seen attending her high school, the young girl was allegedly preyed on by her foster brother Trent Thorburn.

The house in Chambers Flat in a rural area where Tiahleigh Palmer spent her last months in 2015.

The house in Chambers Flat in a rural area where Tiahleigh Palmer spent her last months in 2015.Source: Supplied

An occasional truant, Tiahleigh was well-liked at school.

An occasional truant, Tiahleigh was well-liked at school.Source :News Corp Australia

Tiahleigh Palmer attended school minutes from the Thorburn’s property.

Tiahleigh Palmer attended school minutes from the Thorburn’s property.Source:News Corp Australia

Tiahleigh came to live with the Thorburns, Rick and Julene and their sons Trent and Josh in the isolated family farmhouse south of Brisbane before she was murdered.

Tiahleigh came to live with the Thorburns, Rick and Julene and their sons Trent and Josh in the isolated family farmhouse south of Brisbane before she was murdered.Source: Supplied

The 19-year-old, who lived with his brother Josh, 20, and mother Julene has been charged with incest while Rick Thorburn, 56, has been charged with Tiahleigh’s murder.

Not all was well with the Thorburn family. Following a serious back injury which forced him to give up his job as a truckie, Rick Thorburn had tried a number of jobs to feed his family.

A car enthusiast, he had sold vehicle and engine parts from the property.

He was also a devotee of American culture and came up with the idea to sell US food from a truck he drove to festivals and other events in the Logan area.

A month after Tiahleigh moved into the Thorburn’s home, Rick Thorburn took his food van — which he named Nothing Healthy Here — and travelled around with his sons Trent and Josh selling hot dogs, hot jam doughnuts, churros and pancakes from the van.

This is the house in Flesser Rd at Chambers Flat where Tiahleigh lived with her foster parents.

This is the house in Flesser Rd at Chambers Flat where Tiahleigh lived with her foster parents.Source:News Corp Australia

The swimming pool at the house rented by the Thorburns.

The swimming pool at the house rented by the Thorburns.Source: Supplied

Rick Thorburn, at his Chambers Flat home before his arrest. Picture: Liam Kidston

Rick Thorburn, at his Chambers Flat home before his arrest. Picture: Liam KidstonSource:News Corp Australia

“We saw the quality of food at other places and decided we could do it bigger and better. We try to keep it unique and we have food you can’t get anywhere else,” he told the Jimboomba Times.

Mr Thorburn said he looked forward to being able to provide guests with a good old-fashioned feed.

“We do sell one healthy thing – water,” he joked in September last year.

Mr Thorburn made the comments almost eight weeks before Tiahleigh Palmer vanished.

While she lived with the Thorburns, Tiahleigh had been attending Marsden State High School, where Chaplain Ian Pratt said she was a free spirit who passionately threw herself into a range of creative pursuits.

The seventh grader was also described as “not always perfect” and an occasional truant from classes, but there was no suggestion of the alleged abuse that was unfolding at her new foster home.

Tiahleigh, 12, lived on the property which is among farms and horse paddocks south of Brisbane.

Tiahleigh, 12, lived on the property which is among farms and horse paddocks south of Brisbane.Source: Supplied

Rick Thorburn had lost his trucking job after a back injury and was selling American fare from a food truck. Picture: Liam Kidston

Rick Thorburn had lost his trucking job after a back injury and was selling American fare from a food truck. Picture: Liam KidstonSource:News Corp Australia

Tiahleigh Palmer allegedly kept a terrible secret while living at the Thorburn home and attending the local school.

Tiahleigh Palmer allegedly kept a terrible secret while living at the Thorburn home and attending the local school.Source: Supplied

The Thorburns property looked idyllic, but police allege Tiahleigh was being abused while she lived there.

The Thorburns property looked idyllic, but police allege Tiahleigh was being abused while she lived there.Source: Supplied

Tiahleigh had been placed with the Thorburns after spending a happy three years with a foster mother in Gympie, just over 200km north of the Chambers Flat house where she spent her final months.

The schoolgirl lived with Julie Pemberton in the Logan area for years until December 2014, when Ms Pemberton decided to stop acting as a foster carer.

Tiahleigh had been removed from the care of her biological mother, Cyndi Palmer, who was

in and out of police custody with drug problems between 2011 and 2013.

During that time Tiahleigh had experienced some of the lows of the Queensland foster care system, in which she sometimes stayed with carers for as little as 24 hours before being moved to another home.

Despite living in foster care, Tiahleigh remained close to her mother.

The 12-year-old lived with the Thorburns at this house between January and October last year before she was murdered and her body dumped.

The 12-year-old lived with the Thorburns at this house between January and October last year before she was murdered and her body dumped.Source :Supplied

Police divers found Tiahleigh’s shoe but not her uniform after fishermen discovered her body floating in the Pimpama River. Picture: QPS

Police divers found Tiahleigh’s shoe but not her uniform after fishermen discovered her body floating in the Pimpama River. Picture: QPSSource: Supplied

Rick Thorburn, above before his arrest, at the gate of the property his family shared with Tiahleigh Palmer. Picture: Channel 9

Rick Thorburn, above before his arrest, at the gate of the property his family shared with Tiahleigh Palmer. Picture: Channel 9Source: Supplied

At the time Ms Pemberton gave up her role as a foster carer and Tiahleigh was placed with the Thorburns, Cyndi Palmer had been trying to regain custody of her daughter.

Following Tiahleigh’s murder, Ms Pemberton said that Cyndi Palmer had “got it together” and that she “might have made a few mistakes but she is lovely and absolutely adores her daughter”.

Cyndi Palmer has posted on Facebook that she had endured an “evil” 2011, but had turned her life around but had “learned from it and … well prepared and educated for making 2012 the start of everything I want it to be for my family and I”.

But Tiahleigh’s return to her mother’s care never happened.

After almost a year with the Thorburns and allegedly involved in an incestuous relationship with her foster brother, Tiahleigh was dropped off at Marsden High School at 8.10am on October 30 by Rick Thorburn.

Witnesses say she entered the school briefly, but then left.

Six days later, fishermen found Tiahleigh’s badly decomposed body floating in the Pimpama River, 30km south of where she was last seen.

Police divers found one of Tiahleigh’s shoes, but her school uniform and pink backpack were missing.

Queensland Police have also charged Tiahleigh’s foster mother Julene Thorburn and her son Josh with perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Rick Thorburn is in hospital in an induced coma after an alleged attempt at self harm following his arrest.


Tiahleigh Palmer’s 19-year-old foster-brother told a cousin he’d had sex with the 12-year-old and was worried she was pregnant, a court has heard.

In successfully keeping Trent Jordan Thorburn behind bars, prosecutors argued he had deliberately misled and lied to police throughout the 11-month investigation into the alleged murder of the Logan schoolgirl.

Foster brother admitted sex

The foster-brother of Tiahleigh Palmer is refused bail, charged with incest and lying to police. 7 News Queensland

Police prosecutor Sergeant Ellen French alleged a Facebook Messenger conversation between Mr Thorburn and his cousin two days before Tia went missing showed him disclosing that he’d had sex with her.

“He says he had sex with the victim on the prior Monday and he had only done so because she had threatened to kill his dog,” Sergeant French said, of a conversation that was allegedly handed over to police.

“The defendant said he was concerned about her being pregnant…” she told the court.

“The defendant further outlines the victim had spoken to his mother about it.”

Mr Thorburn’s defence lawyer John Ide argued he should have been granted bail on charges including incest considering his age, lack of criminal history and potential time behind bars awaiting trial.

“He’s a young man with no criminal history whatsoever,” he said.

Trent Thorburn.
Trent Thorburn.  

“In my submission it couldn’t be said he’s an unacceptable risk of any of the things that’s asserted by the prosecution.”

Sergeant French told the court Mr Thorburn had denied any involvement or sexual conduct with Tia on five separate occasions and colluded with his family to mislead police.

Tiahleigh Palmer's mother Cindy waits with supporters outside court.
Tiahleigh Palmer’s mother Cindy waits with supporters outside court. Photo: Glenn Hunt

“Eventually the defendant has admitted to the authorities that he had lied on multiple occasions in order to conceal the  sexual intercourse between himself and Tiahleigh,” she said.

A friend of Tia’s told police the young girl had approached her about a month before her alleged murder, saying “Trent tried to touch me”, Sergeant Ellen alleged.

Former foster carers Cameron and Wayne Pemberton speak to media outside court.
Former foster carers Cameron and Wayne Pemberton speak to media outside court. Photo: Glenn Hunt

“She further said that the victim claimed to have disclosed this to her foster-mother,” she said.

Mr Thorburn has been charged with incest, perverting the course of justice and two counts of perjury relating to Crime and Corruption Commission hearings in July and September this year.

Cindy Palmer arrives at the Beenleigh Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning.
Cindy Palmer arrives at the Beenleigh Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning. Photo: Jorge Branco

Prosecutors argued he was “highly likely” to interfere with witnesses and “would attempt in every way shape and form to evade and avoid every risk” of imprisonment.

Magistrate Pamela Dowse kept Mr Thorburn behind bars, saying he was “not a candidate for bail at this point in time” but another application could be made in the future.

Tiahleigh Palmer.
Tiahleigh Palmer.  Photo: Supplied

Outside court, Mr Ide said he would consider applying to the Supreme Court for bail.

Police allege Mr Thorburn’s father, Richard Thorburn, killed Tia in an attempt to cover up his son’s alleged crime.

Richard Thorburn has been charged with the murder of his foster child.
Richard Thorburn has been charged with the murder of his foster child. Photo: Jorge Branco

The alleged killer was remanded in custody after his matter was heard on Wednesday morning as he remained in an induced coma in hospital after collapsing in the watchhouse on Tuesday.

EARLIER

A member of Tiahleigh Palmer's foster family arrives at Logan police station on Tuesday.
A member of Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster family arrives at Logan police station on Tuesday.  Photo: Glenn Hunt

The man accused of murdering Queensland schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer and dumping her body in a Gold Coast river is in an induced coma and won’t appear in court before a crowd of her mother’s supporters.

Foster father Richard Neville Thorburn, 56, was due in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning, ahead of an application for bail by his son on related charges.

But the father remained in the intensive care unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital on Wednesday, after collapsing in the watchhouse on Tuesday afternoon.

Defence solicitor Kelly Thompson, from Robertson O’Gorman solicitors, told the court she’d spoken with doctors at the hospital.

“He’s currently in an induced coma and there’s no indication as to when he might be brought out of that at this stage,” she said.

A crowd of people expecting the appearance packed Beenleigh courtroom, leaving standing room only for a host of people due to appear on other matters, with supporters flanking Tia’s biological mum, Cindy Palmer.

Among them were Tia’s former foster father Wayne Pemberton and his son Cameron, who paid tribute to the “good girl”.

Wayne said the “feisty” 12-year-old lived with them for two and a half years and described his “total shock” at hearing the man who cared for Tia after him had been accused of her murder.

“You don’t expect that from a carer,” he said.

“That’s not what you’re here to do.

“To hear that and for everyone in the family to (allegedly) be involved it’s just unthinkable.”

Ms Palmer declined to comment as she made her way into the courthouse in suburban Beenleigh, just off the highway roughly halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Wayne, who remembered Tia’s love of waterskiing and other watersports, said it couldn’t be said Ms Palmer was happy but she was glad of an outcome.

Trent Jordan Thorburn, 19, has been charged with incest, perjury, and attempting to pervert the course of justice. He’s due to appear in court on Wednesday.

He was set to apply for bail after midday in a hearing his lawyer indicated would take about 45 minutes.

Richard Thorburn’s hearing went ahead without him and was adjourned for a committal mention on December 21.

He won’t be required to appear, meaning Ms Palmer again won’t have a chance to come face to face with her daughter’s alleged killer.

Mr Thorburn told police he dropped his foster daughter off at school about 8.10am that morning but police will allege that was a lie.

They’ll allege he instead murdered the 12-year-old at the family home in the Logan suburb of Chambers Flat on the night of October 29, before dumping her body in the river that night or the next.

The killing was sparked by a discovery made that night, which led Mr Thorburn to kill the girl in an attempt to cover up a crime Trent had committed against Tia, police will allege.

The younger brother was charged with incest, among other alleged crimes.

A missing person alert for Tia wasn’t put out until November 5, hours before her badly decomposed body was found on the banks of the Pimpama River.

The delay drew criticism, sparked wide-ranging changes to authorities’ responses to missing children in care and further condemnation from Wayne Pemberton on Wednesday as “very frustrating”.

“It’s not a good thing to have to wait around for someone to put an alert out but it finally got done,” Cameron said.

“It should have got done quicker. It shouldn’t have taken so long.”

Another supporter, who didn’t know the family, said she was “disillusioned” with the government’s handling of children in care.

Being charged with murder, Mr Thorburn must apply for bail to a higher court if he wants to be released.


The younger son, Trent, 19, described himself as a dancer, metal fabrication apprentice, and classic car builder.

Police believe the teenager sexually abused Tiahleigh. He was denied bail on charges for incest, perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice in court this afternoon.

In court, the prosecutor argued he “took advantage of (Tiahleigh) as her big brother and as a result her young life has been taken”.

The foster brother was concerned he had impregnated the child, the court heard. Police are expected to allege the boy’s father killed Tia to cover for his son.

THE foster family at the centre of allegations into the death of Tiahleigh Palmer buried the Brisbane schoolgirl in a heartfelt ceremony attended by more than 600 people last November.

Back then, Rick Thorburn, 56, Tia’s foster father and accused killer, appeared to hold back tears as he solemnly carried her child-sized coffin, acting as a pallbearer.

He blended in to the crowd of purple, Tia’s favourite colour, which mourners had chosen to wear to pay tribute to the young girl. The colour also became a symbol of commitment to the desperate search for answers over what had happened to her.

His shirt read “in love memory of Tiahleigh R.I.P.” At the service, he comforted her grieving mother.

The truck driver turned food van proprietor and his wife had taken in Tia as a foster child while her biological mother, Cyndi Palmer, worked to get her life on track after struggling as a teen mum and spending time in the prison system.

Tiahleigh Palmer.Source:AAP

Tiahleigh Palmer.Source:Supplied

She lived with the couple and their two adult sons in their Chambers Flat home where Thorburn’s wife Julene, 54, also ran a home daycare service.

The eldest of the two boys, Josh, 20, was qualified to work as an assistant in the home business and had been unemployed in recent years while recovering from injury.

The younger son, Trent, 19, described himself as a dancer, metal fabrication apprentice, and classic car builder.

Police believe the teenager sexually abused Tiahleigh. He was denied bail on charges for incest, perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice in court this afternoon.

In court, the prosecutor argued he “took advantage of (Tiahleigh) as her big brother and as a result her young life has been taken”.

The foster brother was concerned he had impregnated the child, the court heard. Police are expected to allege the boy’s father killed Tia to cover for his son.

A facebook photograph of Rick Thorburn and family Josh, Julene and Trent. Rick and Trent have been charged in relation to the murder of Tiahleigh Palmer.Source:Facebook

A Crime Stoppers tip led police to swoop on the family on Tuesday, arresting Rick, Julene, Josh, and Trent at various addresses in the Logan area.

Following police interviews Rick was yesterday formally charged with Tia’s murder. Trent, the youngest of Tia’s foster brothers, has been charged with incest.

Julene and Josh have been charged with one count each of perjury and perverting the course of justice.

All four family members are awaiting court, Trent’s today and Julene’s and Josh’s next month, though father Rick’s has now been delayed. The murder-accused was expected to face a bedside hearing at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital, but is in an induced coma following a suspected self-harm attempt while in custody.

When his case returns to court, now scheduled for December, police are expected to allege the foster father murdered the girl in his car to protect his teenage son according to the Courier-Mail. Police will allege Trent sexually abused Tia.

Trent Thorburn was Tiahleigh’s foster brother.Source:No Source

Trent Thorburn, 19, has been charged with incest, perverting the course of justice and perjury in relation to the death of Tiahleigh Palmer.Source:No Source

Tia’s foster father and relatives have long been persons of interest throughout the 11-month investigation of the schoolgirl’s disappearance and murder, senior police sources told the Brisbane paper.

Less than a month after Tia’s death, the foster father published a post on Facebook saying the family had accommodation for one or two people in their “happy home environment on acreage”.

He described the residence as a clean and safe home.

The case has prompted the Queensland government to review the approval process for foster carers and working with children checks.

Acting Premier Curtis Pitt says both will be examined by extending a review already under way, with a report expected back early next year. “We will be very, very careful to ensure that the young people who are in our foster system as well as, of course, the broader child protection system are given all the protections,” he said.

Announcing details of the review, Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman confirmed the foster parents continued to run a child care business from their home after Tia’s death.

Tiahleigh’s mother, Cyndi Palmer at Beenleigh court on Wednesday where Rick Thorburn was due to appear. Picture: Liam KidstonSource:News Corp Australia

Tia went missing at the end of October last year. Her foster father was reportedly the last person to see her alive, dropping her off near Marsden State High school just after 8am on October 20.

Despite calls for action from her biological family, Tia wasn’t reported missing for six days. The delay was explained away at the time as taking care with concerns around identifying a child in care.

The same morning an alert was distributed by police appealing for help finding the girl, a trio of fishermen discovered her semi-naked decaying body on the banks of the Gold Coast’s Pimpama River.

The water and dirt had washed away any signs of what had happened to Tia, and police had few clues to work with while going about investigating how she had died.

Investigators were worried they may never solve the case.

Tia’s biological mother and grandmother were outspoken in appealing for witnesses and calls to Crime Stoppers from members of the public who may have seen or heard anything that could assist with finding out what happened to their little girl.

But her foster family was silent.

Foster father Rick Thorburn has been charged with murder. He is in an induced coma in a Brisbane hospital. Picture: Jack TranSource:News Corp Australia

Again speaking out, Tia’s grandmother Sue Palmer last night revealed her shock and anguish over the Thorburn family’s charges.

She said the news had “knocked the wind right out of my sails”.

“When it happens to your own it just is like a twisted knife in your heart,” she told A Current Affair on Tuesday.

“I’m just absolutely addled with thoughts of how she died, and that’s something that I really want to know.”

Ms Palmer criticised the Thorburn family’s behaviour following Tia’s death, which was made all the more alarming following yesterday’s allegations.

“They took pride of place at the funeral which I didn’t think they deserved and people treated them as though they were parents of long standing which they weren’t,” she said.

“It’s really really scary. It’s awful trying to raise little girls and boys nowadays. You can’t fix kids once you’ve wrecked them. You can’t fix Tiahleigh.”

Ms Palmer said she gained no relief from the arrests and charges, bringing her and the rest of Tia’s family closer to finding answers.

“To be really truthful it’s not a relief at all, it’s not even closure, it’s pain on pain,” she said.

Rick Thorburn remains in an induced coma and is due to face court on charges of murder and interfering with a corpse in December. His son Trent will face Beenleigh Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday charged with incest, perjury and perverting the course of justice. He is expected to apply for bail.

Thorburn’s wife Julene and other son Josh have both been charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice, and have been bailed to return to court on October 10.

20/09/2016 Update
2016-09-20_16-13-36
a charge of incest has also been laid against one of the young males arrested.
tiahleigh-palmers-foster-father-has-been-arrested-over-the-schoolgirls-murder-9news

Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster father Rick Thorburn has been charged with murder over the 12-year-old’s death, hours after he and his wife were arrested by homicide detectives south of Brisbane, police say.

Thorburn arrived at Logan police station in handcuffs just before 11:30am.

His wife Julene Thorburn arrived at the police station separately a short time later.

Less than two hours later, Detective Inspector Damien Hansen emerged from the police station to tell the media Thorburn would be charged with murder at the Beenleigh Police Station watch house.

“He will be appearing in court tomorrow,” Inspector Hansen said.

Earlier today, homicide detectives arrested four people in connection with the murder investigation.

“A woman aged 54, as well as three men aged 19, 20 and 56 were taken into custody by officers attached to Operation North Mizzen — a joint Homicide and Logan District investigation,” a police statement said.

“All four are known to each other and were located at various addresses in Logan.”

The ABC understands the two younger men also arrested are related to the Thorburns.

The arrests came shortly after police confirmed Tiahleigh’s foster father was the former owner of a car seized by police last week.

The 12-year-old’s body was found on the banks of the Pimpama River last November, almost a week after she vanished.

A week ago, detectives seized a 2009 blue-coloured Ford XR6 sedan they believed was linked to Tiahleigh’s murder.

Police said last week the car’s current owner was not considered a suspect.

Today, Detective Inspector Damien Hansen confirmed Thorburn was the car’s former owner.

His link to the investigation had been revealed in the media, which Inspector Hansen said could have hindered the progress of detectives.

“It didn’t help us,” he said.

Inspector Hansen admitted the investigation had moved quickly in the past 24 hours.

“Due to certain factors we’ve moved quicker than than we possibly would have wanted to,” he said.

Car still under forensic examination

He said police had received no further information in relation to the car since it was seized.

“We’ve looked at every person who had involvement with Tiah in this investigation,” Inspector Hansen said.

He declined to say what police, if anything, had found in the car.

“It’s still being examined,” he said.

He said detectives had also updated Tiahleigh’s biological mother on the investigation.

“She’s comfortable with our response at this stage,” Inspector Hansen said.

“But I will take the opportunity to say that also with the family that there are certain times we can’t pass on information, when the information is at a critical stage.

“It’s possibly been one of the most difficult investigations I’ve been involved in.”

Damning ABC Four Corners report into the mistreatment of teenage prisoners-Don Dale detention centre

Featured


Despicable, we have seen this overseas and thanked GOD it could never happen here. I think by the immediate actions of the Federal Government in calling and Royal Commission says a lot. Disgusting, if this is how my child might be treated if he committed crimes in NT, bloody hell, help us all! NO human deserves to be treated as a DOG or worse. NO matter what…(Robbo)

I am compiling all the videos so they can be seen together, folks. Appalling, never in my dreams did I think we treat anybody like this. ALL these kids are underage.No matter what they did or why they are there we as a society are not violent. I personally am not surprised the individuals shown reacted they way they did. It is a matter of survival! At least a dozen clips on the way stay tuned (Robbo)


NT Government counter-sues boys who were tear-gassed at Don Dale

29/07/16

The Northern Territory Government is counter-suing two boys who were tear-gassed by prison guards at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.

The boys, whose names have been suppressed by the Northern Territory Supreme Court, lodged papers in June this year seeking damages for alleged mistreatment at the hands of staff at the facility.

But the NT Government’s response, filed on July 4, is seeking damages for an escape attempt in which the two boys stole a car, before using it to ram a roller-door and re-enter the prison.

The Government claims the two boys escaped from Don Dale on May 31, 2015, causing $89,000 in damage.

It also claims the boys caused $74,025.60 damage when they rammed a roller door at the prison using a stolen car on June 1, 2015.

The NT Government is seeking damages with interest and legal costs.

Both boys, and four others who are not being counter-sued, are seeking damages for the now-infamous tear-gassing incident in the old Don Dale centre as well as a string of other claims.

The writs filed by the boys seek general, aggravated and exemplary damages to “deter and punish” the NT Government.

One of the prisoners suing is Dylan Voller, who was the prisoner strapped to a restraint chair for hours with a spit hood placed over his head.

Another is Jake Roper, who was the boy who got out of his cell in the behavioural management unit of the old Don Dale centre, which instigated the tear-gassing of all prisoners in the area.

Here is the whole video in one go.I do prey that in the interests of the publics right to know and to educate our country I do NOT get a strike.







John Elferink sacked from Corrections in wake of Four Corners report; Adam Giles alleges culture of cover-up

Updated 19 minutes ago

NT Chief Minister Adam Giles has sacked his Corrections Minister John Elferink in the wake of the damning ABC Four Corners report into the mistreatment of teenage prisoners, while alleging there has been a “culture of cover-up” within the Corrections system.

Key points:

  • John Elferink remains as Mental Health Minister, Attorney-General
  • Adam Giles alleges cover-up of video evidence
  • Staff seen in Four Corners report still in Corrections system

John Elferink, the minister responsible for young detainees in the Northern Territory, has been sacked in the wake of the damning ABC Four Corners report into the mistreatment of teenage prisoners.

At a press conference today, NT Chief Minister Adam Giles announced he had taken over the portfolios of Corrections and Justice from Mr Elferink.

“Can I start by saying that anybody who saw that footage on television last night on Four Corners would undoubtedly describe it as horrific footage. I sat and watched the footage and recognised horror through my eyes,” Mr Giles said.

He said the footage aired in the Four Corners report had been withheld from him, Mr Elferink and “many officials in government” — with him only seeing it for the first time “on television last night”.

“I think over time there has most certainly been a culture of cover-up within the Corrections system,” he said.

“I think there’s been a culture of cover-up going on for many a long year. The footage we saw last night [went] back to 2010 — and I predict this has gone on for a very long time.”

He said his government had been “working very hard to try and fix many of those issues”.

“What we’re changing is a culture of an organisation within the youth detention system and I think we’ve come a long way in that time. That’s not to discredit any of that terrible footage we saw on Four Corners last night. It was terrible footage but we’re seeking to improve the system,” Mr Giles said.

When asked if he personally was comfortable with children being strapped into restraint chairs, Mr Giles refused to answer definitively.

“We’re going to have a look at that as part of the royal commission. We will have a review into that. I can’t talk about individual cases,” he said.

“There are kids who are trying to deliberately cause cranial issues by bashing their head against the wall.

“Prison officers need the ability to be able to de-escalate issues when children are not in … a calm environment within themselves and at all times those kids’ wellbeing is being put at the best possible place.

“Having said that, there is certainly footage last night, particularly the footage dating back to 2010, 2012 and 2014 where I don’t think the standards have been upheld.”

Mr Giles said the Northern Territory community was “sick of youth crime … they have had a gutful”.

“They’ve had a gutful of cars getting smashed up, houses getting broken into, people being assaulted. There’s no doubt. And the majority of the community is saying let’s lock these kids up,” he said.

 

Some staff from footage still with corrections

The Acting Commissioner of Corrections Mark Payne, who took over in 2015, admitted some staff seen in the Four Corners report were still working with NT Corrections.

“A number of the staff, particularly those who have become the subject of previous investigations, a number of those staff members are no longer with us in the organisation. They’ve either been terminated in their employment or have chosen to resign,” Mr Payne said.

“A number of staff members who may have been implicated to sustain charges, criminal or internal, remain with us.

“There were only two staff members identified in footage last night that still remain within the youth justice sphere.”

Asked if he held any concerns for the welfare of youth detainees, Mr Payne said he did not.

“I have no concern and, in fact, I should remind the public that we have the Children’s Commissioner and their staff come in to our facilities once a week,” he said.

“We have representatives and our elders visiting program coming into the facility.

“We invite people in tours of the facility so as I stated previously, when I came into the organisation I found certainly a different place and its certainly a different place today in 2016 to what was identified in the footage last night.”

Elferink office target of attack

Asked where the Mr Elferink was, Mr Giles answered: “I don’t know.”

“I imagine he’s are probably in his office. I’ve advised John that I am assuming the Corrections responsibility immediately and that occurred five minutes before I walked into this office,” he said.

Mr Giles said Mr Elferink would retain his other portfolios, including Health, Children and Families and Mental Health.

This morning, Mr Elferink’s Darwin electoral office was the target of a vandal graffiti attack with police attending the scene.

Mr Elferink is yet to speak publicly since the Four Corners report, in which he is featured offering ABC journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna a lift on his motorcycle to the Don Dale area where the so-called “riot” took place in 2014.

The ABC revealed the riot never happened and was concocted by prison authorities as an excuse for the use of tear-gassing of six boys.

The report has resulted in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today announcing a royal commission into the Northern Territory’s juvenile justice system.


Evidence of ‘torture’ of children held in Don Dale detention centre uncovered by Four Corners

Video: LANGUAGE WARNING: Watch the video obtained by Four Corners (ABC News)

Vision of the tear-gassing of six boys being held in isolation at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Darwin in August 2014 has been obtained by Four Corners, exposing one of the darkest incidents in the history of juvenile justice in Australia.

The vision is part of an investigation featuring a chilling catalogue of footage revealing a pattern of abuse, deprivation and punishment of vulnerable children inside Northern Territory youth detention centres.

The tear-gassing incident was described as a “riot” at the time, with media reporting multiple boys had escaped their cells in the isolation wing of the prison, known as the Behavioural Management Unit (BMU), and threatened staff with weapons.

But CCTV vision and handy-cam recordings made by staff, obtained exclusively by Four Corners, show only one boy escaped his cell after it was left unlocked by a guard.

Former corrections commissioner Ken Middlebrook last year defended the officer’s actions in the wake of a damning report by the Northern Territory Children’s Commissioner.

“I am not in the business of overuse of force. There were two sprays from an aerosol in the area. Now it wasn’t overuse of gas,” Mr Middlebrook told the ABC at the time.

But CCTV vision from the incident shows 10 bursts of tear gas being sprayed into the enclosed area over the space of one-and-a-half-minutes.

All six boys were exposed to the tear gas, five while still locked in their cells.

Not all the children were misbehaving — two boys can be seen on CCTV calmly playing cards before being exposed to the fumes. Another can be seen repeatedly smashing the wall of his cell with a broken light fitting.

The 14-year-old boy who escaped his cell can be heard repeatedly asking how long he had been in isolation and requesting to talk to staff.

Instead of negotiating with the boy, prison staff can be heard laughing and mocking him, calling the boy “an idiot” and a “little f****r”.

Four Corners has managed to track down several of the boys who were tear gassed. They describe being highly distressed, afraid for their lives, and say that two years on they are now suffering from disturbing flashbacks and nightmares from the ordeal.

The CCTV vision also shows the children’s reactions as they are affected by the gas, running to the back of their cells, hiding behind sheets and mattresses, gasping for air, crying, and bending over toilets.

One boy is left in his cell and exposed to tear gas for eight minutes. He is seen lying face down on the floor with his hands behind his back, before being handcuffed by two prison officers wearing gas masks and dragged out of his cell.

‘Ticking time bomb’ of potentially unlawful solitary confinement

The use of tear gas at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in 2014 came after months of tension, repeated escapes and incidents at the centre, which was staffed with under-trained Youth Justice Officers, in what has been described as a “ticking time bomb” by former staff.

Three weeks before the tear-gassing incident, five boys had escaped from Don Dale.

When they were recaptured, they were placed in the isolation wing of the prison for between 15 and 17 days, in what were described by both children and staff as appalling and inhumane conditions.

They were kept locked in their cells for almost 24 hours a day with no running water, little natural light, and were denied access to school and educational material.

The boys being kept in isolation were accidentally discovered by a group of lawyers, including solicitor Jared Sharp, when they were taken on a tour of the facility in August 2014.

“We all sort of looked at each other in shock that there was kids in these cells, because there was signs of life in there but we didn’t know who was in there or what was happening, or how long they’d been there,” Mr Sharp told Four Corners.

“To what extreme is that, is to my view is torture. To my view that is treating kids in a way that is just entirely unacceptable,” he said.

Human Rights Lawyer Ruth Barson said the isolation of the children was a clear violation of the United Nations Convention against Torture.

“The UN’s expert on torture has said there are no circumstances that justify young people being held in solitary confinement, let alone prolonged solitary confinement,” Ms Barson told Four Corners.

“I think the NT and in particular Don Dale has a long way to go to ensure their practices are compliant with Australia’s obligation on the convention against torture and against the right of the child.”

Government says improvements made

In the days after the tear gassing, NT Corrections Minister John Elferink praised the actions of his staff and the prison security dog used on the night of the incident.

“I congratulate again, and place my support behind, the staff who made this decision. The staff worked hard, Fluffy the Alsatian worked hard and, as far as we are concerned, it was a problem that was solved quickly,” Mr Elferink told Parliament.

In the wake of the incident, the Don Dale centre was closed and the children were moved to the run-down, old Berrimah adult prison.

The NT Government commissioned an independent report into the incident by former Long Bay prison boss Michael Vita, which was released in January 2015.

Mr Elferink told Four Corners the Government had learned from the mistakes of the past.

“It was a system that needed improvement. It was a system that had fundamental problems, which is why I’ve worked so hard to improve it and it has been improved,” he said.

“That was a circumstance that clearly demonstrated to me that something had to be done, which is what the Vita Report was all about.

“Those circumstances have now been changed… we hope that they won’t be repeated.”

NT Children’s Commissioner Colleen Gwynne confirmed to Four Corners there are still ongoing issues with youth detention in the Northern Territory, with many of her 2015 report recommendations still not implemented.

“The response has not been as urgent as we would have liked. The issues raised in that report are extremely serious and I would like to see a more full response,” she said.

“[We need] some urgency and some dedicated resources thrown at this.”

Woman and baby boy in 20th-floor death plunge-Murder Suicide


Woman, child die falling from internal balcony from Docklands apartment

Police tape marks the scene where a woman and child died after a balcony fall in Melbourne’s CBD. Picture: Yuri Kouzmin

Wes Hosking, Anthony Dowsley

A WOMAN and a four-month-old baby have died after an apparent fall from an apartment balcony in Melbourne’s CBD.

The pair were found just after 10.30am in an apartment building at the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets.

Family are at the scene with one yelling “oh no” when told of the news.

It is understood the woman, 31, plunged from a balcony high in the City Point building.

Police are with distraught family. The deaths are not being treated as suspicious.

The bodies of a woman and child were found just after 10.30am. Picture: Yuri Kouzmin

The bodies of a woman and child were found just after 10.30am.

The exact circumstances of where the child was are unknown at this point.

It is believed the woman may have been residing above 20th floor.

Paramedics entered the building to attend to someone who may have become distressed about 1.30pm.

Later, a family could be seen talking with police and social workers in the foyer of the building just before 2pm.

A priest earlier entered the building to console family, and the coroner is on the scene.

A senior police officer has told media they will not be making any comment about the circumstances surrounding the tragedy, but police confirmed the ages of the pair in a statement.

“A 31-year-old woman and a 4-month-old child were located deceased at an apartment building in Docklands this morning,” a statement read.

The Melbourne CBD location where a mother and child have died in a horror fall.

The Melbourne CBD location where a mother and child have died in a horror fall.Source:Herald Sun

The pair are believed to have fallen from an internal apartment balcony. Picture: Yuri Kouzmin

The pair are believed to have fallen from an internal apartment balcony.


A resident, Alex Champ, said he was unaware of the incident. He said families, children and travellers stayed in the high rise.

“You get all people and young ones (living here), he said. “There is an internal area where there is a drop.

“It’s just crazy to think it’s just a few floors above me.”

A small section of the east bound Bourke street lane has been reopened by police near where it meets Spencer St.

Police are working to identify the mother and child. Picture: Yuri Kouzmin

Police are working to identify the mother and child.

Police have been speaking to staff at the Chocolate Frog Cafe, which is in an older building which fronts the tall apartment complex behind it.

Earlier Victoria Police spokesman Alistair Parsons said: “Police are currently at an apartment building on the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets in Docklands where a woman and a child were located.”

“The yet to be identified woman and child died at the scene,’’ he said.

“At this early stage it is believed they may have fallen from an internal balcony.”

The exact circumstances surrounding the incident were yet to be determined.

Police have cordoned off the area and are speaking to witnesses.

Paramedics were called to the area but could not assist the pair.

If you or anyone you know is struggling, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14

The pair died near the corner Spencer and Bourke Streets. Picture Yuri Kouzmin <br />

The pair died near the corner Spencer and Bourke Streets.

Originally published as Woman, baby die in balcony fall


Woman and baby boy in 20th-floor death plunge: ‘Gut-wrenching scream’ as woman, 31, jumps from balcony of her luxury Melbourne apartment holding 4-month-old ‘believed to be her son’

 

  • Woman and baby plunged to their deaths from a balcony in Melbourne
  • The four-month-old boy is believed to have been her son
  • The father ‘collapsed in shock’ when he arrived at the Docklands building
  • Emergency services were unable to revive the woman, 31, and baby
  • The pair’s identities are yet to be determined as investigations continue

Witnesses heard a ‘gut-wrenching’ scream as a woman, 31, and a four-month-old baby boy died in an apparent murder-suicide when they plunged to their deaths from a balcony in central Melbourne.

The woman was carrying the baby, believed to be her son, when she took her own life at the City Point apartment building on the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets in Docklands.

Police confirmed they were not looking for anyone else in relation to the deaths and a report would be prepared for the coroner

Witnesses heard 'gut-wrenching' screams after a woman, 31, and a four-month-old baby died when they plunged to their deaths from a balcony in central Melbourne. Police speak to a witness

Witnesses heard ‘gut-wrenching’ screams after a woman, 31, and a four-month-old baby died when they plunged to their deaths from a balcony in central Melbourne. Police speak to a witness

They say the pair fell from a balcony inside the 35-storey building about 10.30am on Thursday and died at the scene.

Police have also said a damaged balcony was not the cause of the woman and baby’s fall.

Their bodies were discovered in a courtyard of the building, where apartments have sold for more than $400,000.

The 31-year-old woman lived on the 20th floor with the baby boy’s father who is said to be devastated, according to Herald Sun.

He collapsed in shock when he arrived at the scene and was taken to hospital, 7 News reported.

Police are looking to establish if she had leapt to her death from a sixth-floor balcony, according to the ABC.

She is believed to have been holding the baby at the time.

Witness Christine Harms told The Age she heard someone yell out, ‘Oh no, oh no’, after the incident.

‘A lady went into the alleyway and then there was some screaming,’ Ms Harms said.

‘It was gut-wrenching to hear.’

The woman was carrying the baby when she took her own at the City Point apartment building on the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets in Docklands. Pictured are police at the scene

The woman was carrying the baby when she took her own at the City Point apartment building on the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets in Docklands. Pictured are police at the scene

Police say the pair plummeted from a balcony inside the 35-storey building about 10.30am on Thursday and died at the scene

Police say the pair plummeted from a balcony inside the 35-storey building about 10.30am on Thursday and died at the scene

Relatives and friends visited the apartment block early on Thursday afternoon.

A man who knew the woman said they were left shocked by the incident, adding: ‘We don’t know what happened.’

A Victoria Police spokesperson said initial investigations led them to believe the pair fell from an ‘internal balcony’.

‘The exact circumstances surrounding the incident are yet to be determined,’ she said.

Police were unable to confirm the relationship between the woman and baby.

Paramedics were also called to the scene but they were unable to revive the pair, a Victoria Ambulance spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia.

More than a dozen uniformed and plain-clothed police and eight police cars closed off the scene – at one of Melbourne’s busiest intersections – with some taking bagged items out of the building.

Investigators started to leave shortly after 3pm and the footpath at the front of the building was reopened as police tape was removed.

Traffic detours were in place until about 1.30pm.

For confidential help, call Lifeline at 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

Pictured is an apartment inside the City Point building on Bourke Street

Pictured is an apartment inside the City Point building on Bourke Street

She reportedly lived on the 20th floor but police are looking into if she leapt to her death from a sixth-floor balcony. Above is an image of another apartment at City Point

She reportedly lived on the 20th floor but police are looking into if she leapt to her death from a sixth-floor balcony. Above is an image of another apartment at City Point

The foyer inside the City Point building, where apartments have sold for more than $400,000

The foyer inside the City Point building, where apartments have sold for more than $400,000

The family of the woman, who lived on the 20th floor, are said to be devastated by the tragedy. Pictured is the City Point apartment building

Online dating site victim conned out of $127k, Robyn Clare Pearce jailed for 14 months-Has form


Robyn Clare Pearce jailed for 14 months-Has form so why a shitty short sentence.What about repayment, no remorse she will get out after learning a few more scams in jail to get out there and  rip them off for more money more often. Get real

Sandford woman Robyn Clare Pearce walks from the Hobart Magistrate's Court.

Sandford woman Robyn Clare Pearce walks from the Hobart Magistrate’s Court.

Online dating site victim conned out of $127k, Hobart woman jailed for 14 months

A Hobart woman had been jailed for 14 months for conning $127,000 out of a New South Wales man she met through an online dating site.

Robyn Clare Pearce, 62 of Sandford, pleaded guilty to dishonestly acquiring a financial advantage.

Pearce met the 60-year-old retired public servant online in August 2007 and by October that year was spinning elaborate lies to get him to lend her money.

He did so on 122 occasions, lending a total of $127,000.

She gave him several reasons for needing money, including legal fees incurred pursuing her ex-husband for child maintenance, furnishing a flat and buying a car for her daughter and paying for her elderly mother’s medical treatment.

In truth, Pearce spent the money on gambling.

The court heard Pearce put $2 million through poker machines at Wrest Point Casino between July 2007 and December 2010.

By November 2008, her victim was selling assets to fund the loans to her.

Victim sold home after mortgage default threat

He extended his mortgage but the retiree was unable to keep up with the payments.

When his bank threatened to default on the mortgage, he sold his house and moved into a modest home in rural Victoria.

The court heard Pearce repeatedly promised she would move there to join him and would get a job to pay him back.

But Pearce’s physical and mental health meant she knew at the time she was making promises that she would never be able to keep.

Justice Helen Wood accepted that Pearce did not befriend the man with the intent to defraud him.

“I accept that the relationship the defendant had with the complainant was a friendship and she valued that,” Justice Wood said.

“She did not set out to prey on him.” I say absolute bullshit to that

History of similar offences

But Justice Wood said Pearce had taken advantage of her victim’s kind and generous nature and spun him elaborate lies repeatedly in order to convince him to lend her money.

Pearce had originally also been charged with defrauding a 92-year-old American man she met through a Christian dating site of about $122,000 between 2011 and 2015.

But that charge was dropped after her plea of guilty in the current case.

In 2012, she was jailed for convincing a Queensland man she met through a dating site to part with almost $80,000.

The court heard Pearce had previously also received suspended, or partly suspended sentences, for other dishonesty matters.

She was sentenced to 14 months’ jail for the latest offending, with Justice Wood noting Pearce’s anxiety and agoraphobia, and her poor physical health, would make the sentence more burdensome for her.

Pearce will not be eligible for parole until she has served seven months.


Online love fraudster Robyn Clare Pearce behind bars after fleecing lonely NSW man of $127,000

A GAMBLING-addicted Sandford woman has been jailed for defrauding a lonely pensioner of more than $120,000 in an online love scam.

Robyn Clare Pearce, 62, pleaded guilty to dishonestly obtaining a financial benefit by deception.

In the Supreme Court in Hobart this morning, Justice Helen Wood said Pearce met a 60-year-old New South Wales man through an internet dating site in August 2007.

Although the pair never met, they exchanged messages and Pearce asked the man for money to pay bills.

After he transferred $1500 to her account, she continued to make demands every few days for money for medical care, to buy a vehicle or furniture and to pay debts.

When he tried to refuse her demands, Pearce became insistent. In all she received $127,000 from the man.


A lonely NSW man targeted in an online dating scam was relieved of $127,000 by a Tasmanian woman, who has been jailed for fraud.

Justice Wood said as a result of Pearce’s actions, the man had been forced to sell his home and move to a more modest abode in rural Victoria — holding out hope that she would move to be with him.

He had been left in financial trouble, depressed and socially isolated by her actions and had trouble trusting people, the court heard.

Pearce had lost $200,000 after putting $2 million though the poker machines at Wrest Point Casino, Justice Wood said.

The judge noted Pearce has a long history of fraud offending and had breached three suspended sentenced by her actions.

She said the offending has taken advantage of the victim’s kind and generous nature and Pearce’s moral culpability was high, despite a number of mental and physical problems which made prison a tough environment for her.

She sentenced Pearce to 14 months in prison, with a seven month non-parole period.

Pearce was also accused of stealing $122,000 from a 91-year-old American man she met via a Christian dating website but those charges were discontinued by the Crown.


Sandford woman Robyn Clare Pearce pleads not guilty in Hobart court to alleged online dating fraud

A SANDFORD woman has pleaded not guilty to fraud offences relating to an alleged internet dating scam.

Robyn Clare Pearce, 61, appeared in the Hobart Magistrates Court this morning.

She is charged with dishonestly acquiring a financial advantage.

Police allege Ms Pearce defrauded tens of thousands of dollars from a 64-year-old New South Wales man between April 2011 and January this year.

Magistrate Simon Cooper granted Ms Pearce bail and ordered her to appear in the Supreme Court on June 9.


Woman admits internet ‘love fraud’

Updated 16 Oct 2012, 10:40am

Sandford woman Robyn Clare Pearce walks from the Hobart Magistrate's Court

Sandford woman Robyn Clare Pearce walks from the Hobart Magistrate’s Court

A Hobart court has ordered a woman to seek counselling after she convinced a Queensland man to give her nearly $80,000 over the internet.

Robyn Clare Pearce from Sandford in southern Tasmania admitted dishonestly acquiring money from a Queensland man she met through an internet dating site in 2007.

During a three-year phone and email relationship, Peace convinced the man to lend her nearly $80,000.

The Hobart Magistrates Court heard she made up a variety of reasons for borrowing the money but never paid it back.

She also got the man to falsely email that she had repaid some of the money.

Pearce was sentenced to 10 months’ jail for dishonestly acquiring a financial advantage relating to $22,600.

Eight months of her sentence was suspended, provided Peace is of good behaviour and undergoes psychological treatment.

She also has to pay back the money.


 

What happened to Melbourne woman Karen Ristevski

Featured


Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at crimestoppersvic.com.au.

Search continues for Melbourne mother Karen Ristevski

Update 21/07/16

Karen Ristevski at her Bella Bleu business at Watergardens Town Centre in Taylors Lakes. Picture: Kylie Else

A MELBOURNE woman who went missing three weeks ago was at risk of losing the family home.

The financial sufferings that surround Karen Ristevski’s mysterious disappearance have been revealed and the family has been in about $600,000 in debt for the past decade.

Mrs Ristevski had a fight with her husband Borce about their financial problems on June 29 and left her $1.1 million home in Avondale Heights, in Melbourne’s northwest, about 10am to clear her head.

The 47-year-old has not been seen since.

The Ristevski family owns the Bella Bleu boutique at the Watergardens Town Centre in Taylors Lakes in Melbourne’s northwest and another store in Broadmeadows in Melbourne’s north.

The Australian reports property records show a shopping centre lodged a caveat over the Ristevski family home earlier this year, believed to be due to unpaid rent.

A caveat is a document that can tag another person’s land and stop it from being sold or transferred into another name.

The Ristevskis’ home. Picture: Ellen Smith

The Ristevskis’ home. Picture: Ellen SmithSource:News Corp Australia

Mr Ristevski and his brother Vasko previously owned clothing manufacturer and wholesaler Blue Laser Jean Co, according the The Australian, and the company racked up $600,000 of unsecured debts after one of its major customers restructured.

Real estate group Vicinity and financial company Perpetual are believed to have lodged the caveat over the family home. The Australian understands Vicinity is the landlord at the Broadmeadows shopping centre where one of the Bella Bleu stores operates.

Victoria Police said investigations around Mrs Ristevski’s disappearance were ongoing and officers previously expressed grave concerns for the woman’s welfare.

Karen Ristevski’s daughter, Sarah, and husband, Borce. Picture: Tracey Nearmy/AAP

Karen Ristevski’s daughter, Sarah, and husband, Borce. Picture: Tracey Nearmy/AAPSource:AAP

Karen Ristevski went missing without a trace after going for a walk from her home on June 29.

Karen Ristevski went missing without a trace after going for a walk from her home on June 29.Source:Supplied

She hasn’t used her phone or accessed her bank accounts since she went missing.

Police were searching the Maribyrnong River last week, which snakes behind Ms Ristevski’s home.

There has been a wave of support on social media to find the popular dress shop owner.

“We’ve laughed together, dressed and undressed together, and shared our highs and lows,” friend Connie Johnson posted on the Love Your Sister Facebook page.

Police questioned Mr Ristevski earlier this month over the disappearance and he has been released pending further inquiries.

SES searching behind the Ristevski's house at Avondale Heights for missing Karen Ristevski. Picture: Hamish Blair

SES searching behind the Ristevski’s house at Avondale Heights for missing Karen Ristevski. Picture: Hamish BlairSource:News Corp Australia

Last week the family shut down a press conference after a Channel 7 reporter asked Mr Ristevski if he killed his wife.

Ms Ristevski’s aunt, Patricia, was upset by the question.

“That’s really not appropriate at the moment … honestly, I have to say, that is really inappropriate … this is about Karen, this is not about anything else, this is about finding Karen,” she said.

Ms Ristevski is 160cm tall, with a slim build and shoulder length brown hair.

She was last seen wearing a black jacket and jeans and is known to frequent Taylors Lakes.

Police say her disappearance is out of character.

Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at crimestoppersvic.com.au.


Karen Ristevski: Police search riverbanks

Combing the banks of the Maribymong river, police and SES crews search for missing Melbourne mother Karen Ristevski. Courtesy Seven News Melbourne

Mr Ristevski, who was questioned by police and released without charge, was asked directly by a Channel 7 reporter in a press conference on Thursday if he had killed his wife.

Mr Ristevski, arm-in-arm with his wife’s visibly distressed 21-year-old daughter Sarah, did not answer, with Ms Ristevski’s aunt Patricia interjecting, saying Mr Ristevski was too distressed to speak.

Karen Ristevski's daughter Sarah, and husband Borce have appealed for help.

Karen Ristevski’s daughter Sarah, and husband  Borce have appealed for help.  Photo: Penny Stephens

“That’s really not appropriate at the moment … honestly, I have to say, that is really inappropriate…This is about Karen, this is not about anything else, this is about finding Karen,” she said.

The family then left immediately.

Before the exchange, which occurred near the banks of the Maribyrnong River where police are searching, Patricia pleaded with the public to come forward if they have any information.

“We’re hoping that today we will find something that will lead us to Karen,” she said.

Karen (centre) and Borce Ristevski with their daughter Sarah.

Karen (centre) and Borce Ristevski with their daughter Sarah. Photo: Supplied

“We have nothing so if you have something that you know, something that you have seen, you’ve heard something, someone has spoken to you about something, anything, please, we’re asking you to help us.

“It’s not possible for someone to just disappear, it’s not Karen, Karen would not leave us.”

The police and SES are searching Avondale Heights and along the Maribyrnong River for missing woman Karen Ristevski.

The police and SES are searching Avondale Heights and along the Maribyrnong River for missing woman Karen Ristevski.  Photo: Penny Stephens

She described the last 15 days as a “nightmare”.

She said she did not know anyone who would want to harm her niece.

Police have released photos of a handbag and purse like Karen Ristevski's in case someone finds them.

Police have released photos of a handbag and purse like Karen Ristevski’s in case someone finds them. Photo: Supplied

“If that was the case, we would already know something about that, it would be an ongoing thing,” she said.

Police and State Emergency Service volunteers are searching a 60 hectare area between Canning Reserve, off Canning Street, and Afton Street, which runs along the Maribyrnong River.

<br>

The family home, which backs onto the river, sits in between.

Inspector Stephen Dennis said police have “grave concerns” for Ms Ristevski’s welfare, with her phone still off and her bank account untouched.

He said she was last seen at her home.

“We can’t say what route she may have taken from the house, so it’s still up in the air for us at this stage,” he said.

Inspector Dennis said Ms Ristevski may have had a gold-coloured Coach handbag and purse with her. Earlier, police released a photo of the items in the hope someone may come across them.

SEARCH AREA

Ms Ristevski ran formal wear shop Bella Bleu in Taylors Lakes, which she owned with her husband.

Her daughter made an emotional plea for help to find her mother last week.

Sarah told radio station 3AW she had reached out to her mother’s friends on Facebook but to no avail.

“There’s no leads at all, no sightings, nothing,” she said.

“I’ve logged onto her Facebook and contacted all of her friends. No one has seen her.”

Ms Ristevski is described as 160cm tall, with a slim build and shoulder length brown hair.

She was last seen wearing a black jacket and jeans.

Anyone who sees Ms Ristevski is urged to contact triple zero or anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report to http://www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.


abc.net.au

Relatives plead for information about missing Melbourne woman

Updated Thu 14 Jul 2016, 1:56pm

The aunt of missing Melbourne woman Karen Ristevski has made an impassioned plea for information as police search the Maribrynong River for her niece’s belongings.

Ms Ristevski, 47, was last seen leaving her Avondale Heights home in Melbourne’s north-west on June 29 after having an argument with her husband about financial issues relating to their family-run business.

Her family said she had medical issues and it was out of character for her to be away for so long without contacting her husband and daughter.

About 20 SES crews joined police on dirt bikes to search the banks of the Maribyrnong River and water police were out on the water.

Officers were looking for Ms Ristevski’s handbag, a Coach brand gold bag, and her Coach brand wallet.

Ms Ristevski’s aunt, Patrice (who did not want her surname used) pleaded for help from the public.

“We have nothing, so if you have something that you know, something that you’ve seen, you’ve heard something, someone’s spoken to you about something, anything, please, we’re asking you to help us,” she said.

“Whatever you’ve got even just a suspicion it doesn’t matter. We have nothing.

“Somebody knows something out there. It’s not possible for someone to just disappear like this.”

Victoria Police Inspector Stephen Dennis said her disappearance was being treated as suspicious and they were still hopeful of finding her alive.

“There has been nothing from Karen to date,” he said.

“We have grave concerns for her welfare because she’s been gone for just over two weeks now,” he said.

“She maintains regular contact with her family and it’s out of character, from everything we’ve been told to this stage for her to just vanish.”

A reporter asked her husband Borce Ristevski, who was also present, if he murdered his wife.

Patricia said the question was inappropriate and the family walked away.

First posted about 7 hours agoThu 14 Jul 2016, 7:23am


Disappearance of Melbourne woman Karen Ristevski ‘highly irregular’, police say

Updated 2 Jul 2016, 2:22pm

Police in Melbourne are concerned for the welfare of a 47-year-old woman who has not been seen since Wednesday, calling the behaviour “highly irregular”.

Karen Ristevski of Avondale Heights, in Melbourne’s north-west, was last seen leaving her home on Wednesday morning, wearing a black blazer, jeans and carrying a silver handbag.

She works in retail at the Watergardens Shopping Centre but did not turn up for work at the family business.

Senior Constable Ante Sandric said Ms Risteveski has health problems but her family is worried because her disappearance is out of character.

“Our main concerns are that she hasn’t been seen since leaving her house at about 10:00am on Wednesday,” he said.

“Family haven’t been able to contact her and she hasn’t turned up to work and this is highly irregular.”

Ms Ristevski’s mobile phone is turned off and police said they had very few leads about her disappearance.

Ms Ristevski is described as being Caucasian, about 160cm tall, with a slim build and short brown hair.


Police believe missing Melbourne woman Karen Ristevski could have been murdered

THERE are still no answers into the mysterious disappearance of Karen Ristevski, but police now think she could be dead.

The Melbourne woman left her luxury home in Avondale Heights, in Melbourne’s northwest, about two weeks ago.

She had just had a fight with her husband Borce and she needed to get some fresh air.

They had been arguing about financial issues affecting the family business.

Since she walked out the door, nobody has heard from the woman.

Her husband and daughter are broken and hope is fading with no confirmed sightings.

The 47-year-old went missing about 10am on June 29 and concerns for her safety came after she didn’t show up to work at the Bella Bleu boutique at the Watergardens Town Centre in Taylors Lakes in Melbourne’s northwest.

Her daughter Sarah broke down following Ms Ristevski’s disappearance as she called for the public to help find her mother alongside her father.

“I just want my mum to come home,” she told media.

“It’s not like her to miss work as well.

“It’s not like her.”

It was not out of character for Ms Ristevski to leave the house to clear her head, but she always came home.

“That was the last thing she said to me: ‘I’m going to go and clear my head’,” Mr Ristevski told media.

“She has always walked back in the door after calming down.”

Earlier this week police questioned Mr Ristevski over his wife’s disappearance.

A Victoria Police spokesman told AAP on Tuesday they interviewed the man as part of an ongoing investigation into the woman’s disappearance. He was released pending further inquiries.

The couple’s luxury home and surrounding areas were also searched by police.

Police have grave concerns as the mother has not used her ATM card and her mobile phone is switched off and detectives from the Missing Persons Squad are now investigating the mysterious disappearance.

The Herald Sun reports Ms Ristevski’s brother-in-law, Vic Ristevski, made another call to the public to help find her on Tuesday.

“It’s terrible … we are all shocked,” he told media.

“If you are still alive talk to us.

“If you don’t want to talk to your husband, give me a call or my wife.”

He said the family was close and the missing woman was happy while celebrating her daughter’s 21st birthday just a few weeks ago.

“It’s not like her. I don’t talk to her much but when we get together she is happy. He (Borce) is feeling awful, he can hardly talk,” he said.

“It is heartbreaking. I can hardly sleep at night. I wake up at 2am … it’s a nightmare.”

Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at crimestoppersvic.com.au.


theage.com.au

 July 3 2016

The daughter of a missing Avondale Heights woman has pleaded for public help to find her

Alexandra Laskie

The daughter of missing Avondale Heights woman Karen Ristevski has made an emotional plea for public help to find her mother.

Sarah Ristevski, 21, told 3AW she had reached out to her mother’s friends on Facebook but to no avail.

Karen (centre) and Borce Ristevski with their daughter Sarah.
Karen (centre) and Borce Ristevski with their daughter Sarah. Photo: Supplied

“There’s no leads at all, no sightings, nothing,” she said. “I’ve logged onto her Facebook and contacted all of her friends. No one has seen her.”

Sarah said she was desperate for her mother to return home.

Ms Ristevski, 47, has been missing since Wednesday.

She was last seen at her home in Oakley Drive, Avondale Heights, about 10am.

Police are focusing their search on an area of parkland in Avondale Heights, near a walking track to the rear of her property, which backs onto the Maribyrnong River, where Ms Ristevski is known to walk regularly.

It has been reported she went for a walk to “clear her head” after an argument with her husband, Borce, over financial issues. The couple own Taylors Lakes formal wear business Bella Bleu.

Senior Constable Adam West said police have grave concerns for Ms Ristevski’s because her disappearance was out of character.

Her mobile phone is switched off and she has not used her debit card.

At the time Ms Ristevski went missing, she was wearing a black jacket and dark pants. She has shoulder-length dark hair, is about 160 centimetres tall and has a slim build.

View to a kill: the death of Jamie Gao


Jamie Gao murder: Rogerson and McNamara should be jailed for life, prosecutor says

Updated about 2 hours ago

The notorious corrupt former detective Roger Rogerson and his co-accused Glen McNamara should be jailed for life for the murder of drug dealer Jamie Gao, a Sydney court has been told.

Rogerson and McNamara are facing a sentencing hearing today, after being found guilty of murdering Sydney man Mr Gao during a drug deal at a Padstow storage facility on May 20, 2014.

Rogerson, 75, and McNamara, 57, pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Gao and dumping his body in waters off Cronulla the next day.

New South Wales Crown prosecutor Christopher Maxwell QC told the hearing in the NSW Supreme Court, life sentences have been applied in the past for contract killings.

“They together executed a young drug dealer for their financial gain. The contract killing is a category for which a life sentence can be given and has been given by this court over the years,” he said.

“There is no distinction between killing for payment … or killing for the purpose of financial gain, which is what this was about.

“This was a killing to enable both offenders to obtain the drug … colloquially known as ice … a drug that results in much crime itself.

“The attitude that both accused had towards the deceased after the murder amounted to a completely cold, calculated, lack of feeling, which was all about making him disappear.”

Mr Maxwell said the pair had used their “experience and training for the complete antithesis of what was intended”.

“There is nothing to suggest they would..not be a danger to society.”

Mr Maxwell told the judge the offence was made even more serious because of their intention to “obtain and distribute a drug that is a scourge of our society”.

The crown said the both men were part of a joint criminal enterprise and a great deal of thought was put into it.

“There is nothing ludicrously incompetent about this,” he said.

“There’s a boldness in Mr Rogerson’s attitude.”

He told the judge they planned to make sure Mr Gao’s body would disappear.

“They did everything to make that happen.”

Differing accounts of Gao’s death heard during trial

During the trial, both men denied pulling the trigger and instead pointed the blame at each other.

McNamara’s defence told the trial it was Rogerson who shot and killed Mr Gao before threatening McNamara and his family, forcing him to help dispose of the body.

Rogerson claimed the 20-year-old was killed during a struggle with McNamara and the student was dead on the floor when he entered the shed.

The trial was told by prosecutors both had given “far-fetched and unbelievable” versions of what happened.

Mr Gao told his cousin Justin Gao he was going to be involved in a massive drug deal with a man called ‘Glen’ that was going to make him rich.

He held a number of meetings with McNamara in the months before his death — McNamara claimed these meetings were for a book he was writing about Asian crime gangs.

This explanation was dismissed by prosecutors, who said McNamara and Rogerson were preparing for the killing.

Prosecutors told the court the crown did not have to prove which of the defendants killed Mr Gao, just that there was an agreement to kill or seriously injure the victim.

It took the jury just under a week to reach the verdicts.

Justice Geoffrey Bellew thanked them for their service and excused them from ever serving again, unless they wished to do so.


Surveillance camera footage creates a detailed timeline of the 2014 killing of Jamie Gao. 

Jamie Gao and Glen McNamara cctv stillEarly January, 2014 Jamie Gao and Glen McNamara meet up at least 27 times in the lead up to Gao’s death, often at the Meridian Hotel in Hurstville.

Rent a Space unit 803Early March, 2014  Roger Rogerson obtains keys to storage unit 803 at Rent a Space, Padstow, from a friend called Michael McGuire. Rogerson says he wanted to look at office furniture. Gao is eventually killed inside the shed.

April 27, 2014  A white Ford Falcon station wagon with number plates BV67PX is purchased ­at Outback Used Cars in Lethbridge Park. The car is later used to transport Gao’s body. Rogerson and McNamara deny involvement in the car’s acquisition, but Rogerson’s fingerprints are found on the receipt.

McNamara removes his 4.5 metre boat cctv stillMay 19, 2014  McNamara removes his 4.5 metre Quintrex boat from Hunter Self Storage at Taren Point without notifying staff. This is later used to dump Gao’s body at sea.

Rogerson and office chairs cctv stillMay 19, 3.15pm CCTV footage from Rent a Space captures Rogerson removing office chairs from storage unit 803 and placing them in the back of his silver Ford station wagon.

A white Nissan Silvia, consistant with Gao's car cctv stillMay 19, afternoon A white Nissan Silvia, consistent with Gao’s car, does a U-turn outside Rent a Space.

Jamie Gao and Glen McNamara Meridian Hotel, Hurstville cctv stillMay 19, 7.50pm  The night before Gao is killed, McNamara and Gao meet at the Meridian Hotel, Hurstville. The meeting lasts about 30 minutes.

McNamara walks to Cronulla Mall cctv stillMay 20, 11.37am McNamara uses a payphone in Cronulla Mall to call Gao. CCTV from Cold Rock Ice Creamery captures him walking towards to the phone.

McNamara opening and shutting the door cctv stillMay 20, 1.17pm Rogerson and McNamara drive in separate cars to Rent a Space. McNamara is seen opening and closing the door four times in nine minutes.

Gao walking down Arab Road cctv stillMay 20, 1.35pm Gao is seen walking down Arab Road, Padstow, dressed in dark-coloured clothes, towards a white Ford station wagon that McNamara is in.

McNamara at front gate cctv stillMay 20, 1,42pm McNamara drives to the front gate of Rent a Space and enters the gate code – his hood is up and sunglasses are on.

Gao getting out of a white Ford station wagon cctv stillMay 20, 1.46pm Gao is seen getting out of the back of a white Ford station wagon and shielded by McNamara as he slips into storage unit 803. It is the last time he is seen alive.

Rogerson opens the door cctv stillMay 20, 1.49pm Rogerson opens the door to storage unit 803 exactly three minutes and 16 seconds after Gao and McNamara entered.

McNamara comes out of unit cctv stillMay 20, 2.03pm McNamara comes out of the storage unit, retrieves a silver Ocean & Earth surfboard bag from the white Ford station wagon, and returns to the storage unit.

McNamara and Rogerson are both seen dragging surfboard cover cctv stillMay 20, 2.18pm McNamara and Rogerson are seen dragging a surfboard cover containing Gao’s body, and load it into the boot of the white Ford station wagon.

Rogerson and McNamara are seen buying a two tonne chain block cctv stillMay 20, about 4pm Rogerson and McNamara are seen at Kennards Hire in Taren Point, buying a two-tonne chain block that was later used to lift Gao’s body into McNamara’s boat.

Rogerson and McNamara share a six pack of James Boag's cctv stillMay 20, about 5.15pm A few hours after the killing, Rogerson and McNamara share a six-pack of beer at McNamara’s unit in McDonald St, Cronulla. (McNamara claims he only helped to dispose of Gao’s body because his life was threatened by Rogerson.) 

Quintrex Boat being towed cctv stillMay 21, 7.28am A Quintrex boat carrying the body of Gao and a blue tarpaulin leaves McNamara’s Cronulla unit block.

McNamara and Rogerson are seen in the lift cctv stillMay 21, 7.32am McNamara and Rogerson are seen carrying fishing rods in the lift of McNamara’s unit block.

Quintrex boat being towed cctv stillMay 21, 11.05am After disposing of Gao’s body, McNamara brings his Quintrex boat back to Hunter Self Storage at Taren Point.

McNamara at Kmart cctv stillMay 22 McNamara says he was so worried when he found 3kg of ice in his car that he went to Kmart and bought two pillowslips, a measuring jug and a spoon. He claims this was to “seal” the drugs to stop them from exploding.

detectives arrest McNamaraMay 25, 6.30pm Robbery and Serious Crime Squad detectives arrest McNamara at a vehicle stop at Kyeemagh. He is refused bail and appears at Kogarah Local Court the following day.

Jamie Gao afloat inside a surfboard bag 2.5 kilomtres off the shoreMay 26 Fishermen spot the body of Jamie Gao inside a surfboard bag wrapped in blue tarpaulin about 2.5 kilometres offshore of Shelley Beach, Cronulla.

Rogerson arrested at Padstow Heights homeMay 27, 11am Police swoop on Rogerson’s Padstow Heights home. He is escorted out in handcuffs and taken to Bankstown police station, where he is refused bail.

Bikie taskforce Echo raid Seabrook home in Melbourne’s west


 an hour ago

Bikie taskforce Echo police are currently executing warrants on a home in Melbourne’s west. Picture: Nicole Garmston

A SENIOR Mongol bikie has been arrested and a 3D printer seized during a raid in Melbourne’s west this morning.

Echo Taskforce detectives arrested two men and a woman, all with links to the Mongols OMCG, after raids in Seabrook and Oakleigh South earlier today.

A man arrested at the Seabrook property. Picture: Nicole Garmston

A woman is arrested during raids at the property. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Homes in Mintaro Way in Seabrook and Fleming Court in Oakleigh South were raided at 6am.

Ammunition, 3D printers, equipment for manufacturing firearms and a small amount of drugs were seized from the Seabrook property.

A 26-year-old Seabrook man and a 27-year-old Seabrook woman were arrested.

An allegedly stolen motorbike was seized from the Oakleigh South property and a 29-year-old man was arrested.

Middleton was bailed last month after he was arrested for drug and violence offences.

He was released with conditions a magistrate described as the “strictest she’s ever set”.

The 26-year-old’s partner Renee Comeadow was also arrested.

Evidence gathered in relation to bikies. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Police leave the scene with evidence. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Middleton was granted bail last month by magistrate Margaret Harding, who said he needed to be reunited with his family after five months on remand.

Ms Harding had wanted Middleton to hand in his bikie colours as a condition of bail, but backed away after she was told other bikies could threaten Middleton’s family because that was a “sign of disrespect”.

Police seized his Mongols vest this morning.

A police officer carrying a Mongols jacket leaves the scene. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Visitor outside the property. (black top)  Picture: Nicole Garmston

Middleton had told the magistrate he would not wear the club’s colours while on bail.

Other conditions included a $300,000 surety, daily reporting to police, a strict curfew, non association with witnesses and bikies.

Middleton, a father of a two-year-old, also promised to stay out of parts of Port Melbourne and Werribee as a condition of release.

Middleton and his partner Comeadow turned up at Sunshine Hospital at 8.15pm on November 1 last year after the OMCG member was shot in the knee.

Police arrived and searched Comeadow’s car where they allegedly found around 500 grams worth of ecstasy, a rubber gun grip and 4.2mm ammunition cartridges.

Middleton was charged with trafficking a commercial quantity of ecstasy and possession of ammunition.

Detective Senior Constable Andrew Broad, a member of the Echo Taskforce, told Melbourne Magistrates’ Court at the time that a search carried out at the couple’s home in Seabrook also resulted in officers finding a gun and a “substantial” amount of drugs.

Comeadow was charged with possessing a commercial quantity of ecstasy and storing ammunition after police searched her car at the hospital.

The search of the couple’s home allegedly uncovered a handgun and more drugs, the court heard.

Defence lawyer Sarah Pratt, representing Comeadow last year, said: “There is no allegation Ms Comeadow is in an OMCG.”

Police spokeswoman Melissa Seach said: “The warrant is part of an ongoing Echo Taskforce investigation in relation to perverting the course of justice.”

david.hurley@news.com.au

VISAS cancelled: Bikies protest at Federation Square

FEATURE: How we’re smashing outlaw bikie power

TARGETED: Outlaw bikie gangs feel heat

DRIVE-BY: Bikie war link to strip club shooting

SPECIAL: More outlaw bikie reports


 

Police Raids seize more than $1.5 million worth of prohibited drugs in Central Coast


Police raids net $1.5m in drugs across the Coast

May 26, 2016 12:54pm

 

MORE than $1.5 million worth of drugs has been seized including 30,000 ecstasy pills and 1.5 tonnes of precursor chemicals following a string of raids across the Central Coast and Sydney yesterday afternoon.

Four men — including one linked to the Mongols outlaw motorcycle gang — will appear in court this morning while a woman, 34, of Woy Woy was granted conditional bail to appear at Gosford Local Court on June 21.

The sting, one of the biggest in recent memory on the Coast, recovered so much drugs and other contraband police ran out of evidence bags.


Police search a car opposite Point Clare train station on the Central Coast. Picture: NSW Police

Brisbane Water police established Strike Force Bamberry in December 2015 to investigate the manufacture and distribution of prohibited drugs across the Coast.

After ongoing investigations detectives yesterday conducted a number of searches on the Coast as well as properties in western Sydney and the North Shore where they seized a large quantity of prohibited drugs with an estimated potential street value of more than $1.5 million.

A storage unit on Bourke Rd at Waterloo was also searched with police locating 1.5 tonnes of precursor chemicals police believed was destined to be used in the large-scale manufacture of drugs.


the woman is escorted into the police station.

A woman arrested by Strike Force Bamberry

Brisbane Water police were assisted by other northern region general duties officers, along with the Tactical Operations Unit, Operations Support Group, Dog Unit, PolAir and Gordon Region Enforcement Squad.

The series of orchestrated raids began at 11am with a vehicle stop at Kariong where detectives arrested a 26-year-old who police will allege was a senior figure in the wholesale drugs supply on the Woy Woy Peninsula.

During a subsequent search of the vehicle, police located amounts of MDMA, MDA and cocaine — all of which was seized for further forensic examination.


One of the arrested men arrives at the police station.

One of the men arrested is taken in for questioning.

The man was later charged with seven offences including supplying large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs, supplying indictable quantity of prohibited drugs and knowingly participate in a criminal group.

Two 20-year-old men, both of Umina Beach, were arrested a short time later with one charged with eight offences including supplying a large commercial quantity of prohibited drug and participating in a criminal group.

The other man was charged with a total of 19 offences including supplying a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and knowingly participate in a criminal group.


A third man is arrested.

A second man is arrested.

The men were all refused bail to appear before Gosford Local Court today.

Following the arrests, police executed 11 search warrants across the state’s Central Coast — including properties at Umina, Woy Woy, Horsfield Bay and Ettalong — as well as a number of Sydney properties at St Ives, Stanhope Gardens, Hornsby and St Clair.

They also conducted a search at a home in Pickett’s Valley, on the state’s Central Coast — in accordance with a Firearms Prohibition Order.

While executing the warrants, police located and seized amounts of MDMA, MDA, GHB, cocaine, cannabis, methylamphetamine or ‘ice’ and steroids — with a combined estimated potential street value of more than $1.5 million.

A number of further items were seized from the properties, including two vehicles and an extendable baton, which will undergo forensic examination.


Thousands of dollars in cash was also seized in Strike Force Bamberry. Picture: supplied.

Strike Force detectives also identified a storage unit on Bourke Road, Waterloo, during the operation where they executed another search warrant.

Officers will also allege they located Mongols OMCG jackets — during the Stanhope Gardens search warrant — that were stashed with some of the $125,000 in cash seized across the raids.

Another man, 21, of Umina Beach, was charged with 18 offences and is due to face Hornsby Local Court today.

A 34-year-old woman, of Woy Woy, was charged with five counts of supplying an indictable quantity of prohibited drug but was granted conditional bail to appear at Gosford Local Court on June 21.

Brisbane Water Superintendent Daniel Sullivan said the operation targeted alleged offenders who thought they were “untouchable”.

“Once we get information that you’re dealing drugs in our community we will be relentless, we will hunt you down and we will bring you before the court,” he said.


Some of the drugs seized. Picture: NSW Police

“Strike Force Bamberry detectives have been working incredibly hard for six months, all of which has culminated in yesterday’s search warrants and numerous arrests.

“It’s clear that those arrested during the operation were members of an elaborate syndicate that had been operating across the Central Coast peninsula for some time.”

Supt Sullivan also urged people to never underestimate the impact one anonymous call to Crime Stoppers could make.”

“Many people say, yeah, you’ve seized a large quantity of drugs, so what,” he said.

“Let’s think about this, there’s 7kg of MDMA equating to neary 30,000 pills, we all see the damage that these pills do particularly at dance concerts and on the weekends in our emergency hospitals across the state.

“That’s 30,000 kids that don’t have to play that game of Russian roulette with this poisonous substance that we’ve taken off our streets.”

Sources close to the strike force said those arrested allegedly represented the “top of the pyramid” with the blitz striking fear into a lot of “bottom feeder” dealers on the Peninsula.

“There will be a lot of drugs flushed into the sewerage system today,” one senior officer said.

Strike Force detectives are continuing their investigations.


Some of the seized cash.

The raids follow two searches at Morisset on Tuesday morning in which police seized 31 mature cannabis plants, 42 cannabis clones, 27 hydroponic lights and transformers, numerous carbon filters and fans, as well as an amount of cannabis leaf.

Police entered the two units at 9.20am on Kalaf Ave where they located three large and sophisticated hydroponic tents.

Each of the tents contained cannabis plants, lights, fans, transformers and ventilation ducting.

Police arrested a 39-year-old leaseholder at the location.

He was taken to Belmont police station where he was charged with possess prohibited drug, cultivate prohibited plant and alter or add to electricity installation for metering.

He was granted conditional bail to appear at Toronto Local Court on June 8.