Killer blamed drug overdose despite stab wounds

Craig Andrew Holzberger. Photo: Darryn Smith / NewsMail
Craig Andrew Holzberger. Photo: Darryn Smith / NewsMail Darryn Smith BUN280814HOL1

WHEN 24-year-old Tenille Hass's lifeless body was discovered in the shower of an Avoca home in March, 2011, her boyfriend of 10 years spent hours trying to convince detectives she had died of a drug overdose.

But the stab wounds on her pregnant body, the trails of blood at the scene, the knife in the kitchen and the bottles of drugs and alcohol strewn throughout the house told a very different story.

They told the story of a man with a history of violence who had "flipped out" at the young woman who had fallen pregnant to his friend while he was serving time in prison.

They told the story of a man trying his best to distance himself from the fact he had committed a brutal murder and, in the process, destroyed the life of an unborn child.

Not even the killer himself, Craig Andrew Holzberger, can say what caused him to carry out the atrocious crime.

But he will have plenty of time to contemplate it after he was sentenced yesterday in Bundaberg Supreme Court to life in jail, the mandatory sentence for murder in Queensland.

Justice Duncan McMeekin, who presided over the trial in March this year and over yesterday's sentence, set Holzberger's parole eligibility date at February 18, 2027 - 15 years after he was arrested for the murder.

Throughout the trial, the court heard Holzberger had forgiven Tenille for falling pregnant to his friend and the pair had still planned to continue their relationship and raise the child together.

The couple had begun seeing each other 10 years earlier when Tenille was just 14 years old.

Were it not for the events of that autumn night, Tenille's baby would now be three years old.

Tenille, Holzberger and Christopher Green, the father of her unborn child, were all under the influence of a cocktail of prescription drugs and alcohol the night of the murder.

Holzberger was 36 at the time of the offence but the man in the docks yesterday appeared far older than his 40 years after spending 923 days in jail.

At the very least, he still has 4556 more days behind bars ahead of him, and that is only if he is able to secure parole release on the day he is eligible, a decision only time will reveal.

If anyone knew the danger of knives, it was Holzberger, who himself had been stabbed previously on two different occasions.

In 2007, he died three times on the way to hospital after being stabbed in the neck during a brawl.

The man who stabbed him was acquitted in 2009 due to a lack of evidence because Holzberger's version of events was unreliable.

Yesterday the convicted murderer showed little emotion as his fate was read out to a court filled with media, detectives from Bundaberg's Criminal Investigations Branch and a handful of supporters including his mother.

Holzberger briefly nodded and waved to his mother, who stood by him throughout the trial and now visits him in prison, before being led from the court by two uniformed police officers.

The trial in March ran for six days with 26 witnesses called including police investigators, paramedics, health experts, Tenille's father Darryl, and eye-witness Mr Green.

It took the jury less than half an hour to return a verdict and seal Holzberger's fate as a long-term inmate at the Maryborough Correctional Centre.

Topics:  avoca editors picks murder

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