Bundaberg has had its share of horrific crimes.
Bundaberg has had its share of horrific crimes.

30 horrific murders and deaths that have rocked Bundaberg

BUNDABERG is a bright, productive and positive city.

But like all places, it has a dark side.

Throughout the years, myriad violent and horrific acts have shocked the normally peaceful community.

These are a selection of those stories compiled from various staff over the years.

This article contains incidents of suicide. If you or anyone you know is feeling depressed, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

1. Bank clerk gunned down, killer sentenced to execution sparks protest against death penalty

A GAYNDAH bank clerk was murdered late on October 18, 1908, in the first such crime in the town in 30 years.

A passing porter heard four shots at the commercial Bank of Sydney about 9pm and police found James Muir lying on the floor of the bedroom with gunshot wounds to the body and one to the head.

The safe was untouched and a stranger's hat and boots were found in the room.

Muir, 19, had been sleeping on the premises in the absence of the manager Mr Arthur Walker.

He had been in Gayndah for just two months after moving from Unanderra where his mother was post mistress.

The suspect was tracked to Ideraway after stealing food and clothing from a farmhouse two miles from Gayndah.

A group of armed civilian horsemen, Messrs Connolly, Brewer, Rock and Nagel, disarmed and captured the suspect, Arthur Ross, as he was washing in a creek early on October 20.

They trussed Ross with belts and handed him over to police outside Gayndah.

Two weeks earlier Arthur Ross had been discharged as a first offender at the Circuit Court in Bundaberg.

On October 6 he was sentenced to three years' hard labour, suspended in favour of 100 pound good behaviour bond on a charge of forgery at Childers.

Ross was remanded in custody when he appeared in the police court at Gayndah on October 21.

The town was "full of detectives, constables, black trackers and a bloodhound".

Muir was buried on October 20, the Gayndah Gazette reporting the lowering of the coffin into the grave was delayed after it was discovered the grave had not been made long enough.

The bank defrayed the funeral expenses.

In July 1909, Muir's remains were exhumed and relocated to Unanderra at his mother's request.

A month earlier, 20-year-old Ross was executed at Brisbane jail after he was found guilty at a second trail in the district court at Maryborough on April 30 and sentenced to death.

Several deputations urging that the death sentence be commuted to life in prison were rejected.

Hundreds of people, including 40 ladies, demonstrated at Parliament house on June 6.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop said he had received letters from nine of the 12 jurors opposing the carrying out of the death penalty and a petition carrying 3000 signatures was presented to the Lieutenant Governor.

Seeming resigned to his fate, on the scaffold Ross thanked the people of Queensland for the interest they had taken in his life, adding in lower tones that he was "very sorry for the deed I committed and hope to be forgiven".

After the June 7 execution, a confession Ross made six days earlier was released showing he planned the bank robbery while in jail on another charge.

 

2. Woman kills two young children then drowns in Burnett River

THE district was stunned to discover a woman had drowned her two young children and taken poison in a bizarre murder-suicide bid carried out in 1912.

The Bundaberg Mail and Burnett Advertiser reported on September 23 that Emma Bugden, 21, was the night before being treated in the Bundaberg Hospital for poisoning after she reportedly drowned her two children in a tub of water in her bedroom.

Mrs Bugden's brother Henry Hair discovered her unconscious, after taking spirits of salts, lying with the children on the bed of their home at Waterloo Plantation.

Gordon, 3, and Alice, 2, were fully clothed, wet and "quite dead and stiff" according to reports at the time.

The Mail said Mrs Bugden and her husband George had been married about four years and were quite a happy couple.

The children were scheduled to be buried at the Bundaberg General Cemetery that afternoon.

Despite an around-the-clock police guard on the private ward where Mrs Bugden was being treated, she fled the hospital early that day.

A search of the grounds discovered her body floating in the Burnett River.

It was retrieved about 6am and placed in the morgue alongside the two children.

The funerals of all three were held on September 24.

Two days later Constable Frank Morton was advised by Inspector Short of his discharge from the Queensland police force for leaving Mrs Bugden alone for eight minutes and enabling her to escape.

A magisterial inquiry heard Mrs Bugden told Nurse Ruby Pollock she had drowned the children because "one had the staggers and the other was delicate and I thought they would be cripples".

Dr Thomas May said he examined Mrs Bugden and found her insane.

She was also pregnant and some women in that condition become so that "their nerves were unstapled".

Dr May said all three had died from drowning.

On September 30, a petition signed by 118 business and professional men was sent to the Commissioner of Police asking for Morton's reinstatement to the force.

But on October 2 Home Secretary J George Appel refused the request, saying Morton had been negligent in leaving the room without telling the nurses or locking the door.

In addition, he was guilty of cowardice for not making any attempt to swim to the woman's rescue and possibly saving her life, Mr Appel said.

 

 

 

The Palace Hotel, Bundaberg.
The Palace Hotel, Bundaberg. File

3. Stranger dies face down in Bundaberg's CBD

IN 1923, a tragic death occurred in the Bundaberg CBD.

Between 10 and 11pm on January 30, 28-year-old Jason Burke was found face down in the act of crossing the gutter outside the Palace Hotel.

An ambulance took Mr Burke to a local doctor surgery, but he was pronounced dead.

The Mail said it was believed the deceased, who was staying at a city hotel, was a comparative stranger to the district.

The paper reported on February 1 that police had arrested two young men, Thomas Coonan and John Henry Ward, and charged them with murdering Mr Burke.

"The deceased, whose death was caused by a fracture of the base of the skull, was about 28 years-old and was a man of fine physique," it said.

"It appears that the accused had thrown an object at Burke, which caused the injury."

 

 

A map showing the location of Ten Mile Road.
A map showing the location of Ten Mile Road. File

4. 'I am glad I killed my husband' woman tells court

AS THE result, it is alleged, of a domestic quarrel on a Wednesday evening in 1927, a farmer named Thomas Schieb, 49, was killed in an especially brutal way.

On November 11, the Bundaberg Daily News and Mail reported on the grisly death.

"At 5.30am on November 10, Mrs Schieb walked into the South Kolan Police Station and, it is said, informed, Constable Dwyer, the officer in charge, that she had killed her husband on the previous evening by striking him with an axe," the paper read.

"The police officer immediately realised that something had happened, for the blood-bespattered face of the woman told its own story.

"Mrs Schieb then told the constable her story of what took place at their home. She was fairly calm and collected. Constable Dwyer accompanied her back to her home where the dead and much-battered form of a man was found lying on the bed."

Bundaberg police and the News and Mail were telephoned about 6am and officers, a doctor and a reporter went to the scene at Bingera.

Speaking from the verandah of her Ten Mile Road home, Mrs Schieb drew the reporter's attention to marks of violence on her face.

She declared she also was bruised about the body, the result of ill treatment by her husband the previous night.

"He was a good husband except for the drink," she said.

Mrs Schieb expressed satisfaction that the situation had been brought to an end "and was about to speak further when the police intervened".

The paper said the couple was known to quarrel and family troubles had caused public talk, with friends intervening to stop court action.

During the committal hearing, Mrs Schieb appeared in mourning dress with her face covered by a heavy veil.

The court heard Mrs Schieb told plain clothes Constable R Argus that she had killed her husband, striking him three times on the head with an axe while he was sleeping.

"I hit him so he would not wake up," she said.

"After I struck him he never moved or spoke. I meant to kill him... I am glad I killed my husband; I am not a bit sorry."

Const Argus said the blows had cleaved open Mr Schieb's head, knocked out his right eye and broken both jaws.

Mrs Schieb showed him facial injuries - under the bloodshot and discoloured left eye and a cut on the bridge of her nose - which she said her husband had inflicted when he bashed her in a nearby cane field after getting drunk on gin.

Tom Burns had come to her assistance and pulled her husband off.

In her statement, Mrs Schieb said her husband had rowed with her "all the time" because he wanted her to sign over her half of the farm, which was in both their names.

After she was shown her husband's body at Brown and Co's funeral parlour, Mrs Schieb cried.

"He had a beautiful disposition, only for the drink," she said.

Several other witnesses said they had either never seen Mr Schieb drunk, or that he was quiet and happy while under the influence.

Mrs Schieb was ordered to stand trial in the circuit court and remanded in custody.

She was ultimately acquitted on the grounds of self-defence - scuttlebutt at the time said this was because she and Justice Brennan were Catholics.

Neighbour Lewis Croswell, later on in his 90s, recalled the events.

He still had a tattered, yellowing copy of The Truth, published on November 27, 1927, which reported on the committal hearing.

Mr Crosswell's brother Frank was riding his motorbike home on the night of November 9 when he saw Mrs Schieb striding along the road.

She waved at him to stop, but he kept going.

Frank walked into the kitchen several minutes later and told family members he had just seen Mrs Schieb and she looked like she had murder on her mind.

Mr Croswell said Mrs Scheib returned to the farm after the release.

She worked it for a short time before selling up and moving to England.

While in England she wired solicitor Charlie Thorburn, asking him to send her 1000 pounds.

"I don't know where she thought I'd get 1000 pounds from, "Mr Thorburn told Mr Crosswell.

Several weeks later, Mrs Schieb was run over by a tram and died.

 

5. Murder-suicide on George St

In 1928, the Bundaberg community was rocked 1928 by news of a murder-suicide involving a former Bundaberg mayor.

Mr Lewis Holden Maynard, 67, shot his 55-year-old second wife Alice with a revolver and then turned the weapon on himself in front of a visitor on February 4.

The Bundaberg Daily News and Mail reported Mr Maynard had spent the morning in town with friends when he appeared to be in his usual spirits.

He returned to the two-storey family home in George Street about 12.30pm and less than half and hour later shot his wife in the mouth as she was eating an apple in the sitting room.

A neighbour, Mrs Auer, heard the shot but thought nothing of it because Mr Maynard often shot sparrow.

Several minutes later, an unfortunate, traveller, Mr NJ Lomax, chose to call at the house and rang the front door bell.

Mr Maynard responded, said to him "I have just shot my wife, watch me shoot myself"' put the revolver muzzle in his mouth, pulling the trigger.

The stunned visitor hailed a passing motorist, Mr R Whittled, who drove to the Melbourne Hotel and called the police who were already on their way to the scene.

The police station received two telephone calls about the shootings.

The first caller said "Maynard speaking. I have just shot my wife. Send the police down at once."

Despite misgivings that it was a hoax, Senior Sergeant Gunn despatched the available officers to the Maynards' house at South Bundaberg.

The second call confirmed the first message and added the that Mr Maynard also was dead.

The police found the bullet which had penetrated Mr Maynard's skull on a side board where it had fallen after striking the ceiling.

Mr Maynard was survived by six children from his first marriage: Mr Joe Maynard, Mr Harold Maynard, Mrs TB Harte, Mrs Fred Gill, Nurse A Maynard and Miss Nora Maynard.

There were no children from his second marriage.

 

6. Pineapple grower shoots wife dead

Twenty years later, in 1948, Bundaberg was struck by another murder-suicide tragedy.

A mother of eight was shot dead and her husband taken to hospital with a bullet wound to the chest after an apparent murder-suicide attempt in the early hours of January 12.

One of the six children home that night ran to an uncle's house a mile away and said, "Daddy has shot mum with a rifle".

When police arrived they found Martha Annie Hall, 36, on her back in a paddock with two bullet wounds in her chest and one in her left arm.

Beside her stood a lit hurricane lamp and on the ground a few feet away was a .22 rifle.

Her husband Arnold Victor Delray Hall, 45, was found inside the house on his hands and knees on the floor.

He asked for a drink of water and it was noted he was bleeding profusely from the chest and in a weak condition.

The NewsMail said Mr Hall was taken by ambulance to the Bundaberg Hospital and was in a critical condition under police guard.

The family, which included children aged from five to 18, had been living in a two-storey house near Coonarr Creek for several years.

Mr Hall was a labourer and grew pineapples, the paper said.

After five weeks in hospital, he finally appeared in Bundaberg Magistrates Court on February 18.

During the committal hearing Mr Hall admitted shooting his wife, but said she had been coming at him with a knife.

He shot her a second time to put her out of her pain, he said.

Hall pleaded not guilty before Mr Justice Sheehy in the Circuit Court at Bundaberg on March 15.

Thelma May Hall, 12, gave evidence she heard her parents fighting.

Everyone got out of bed and went to the kitchen where her father threw a piece of tin which hit her in the mouth and nose and made them bleed.

Thelma said her father went outside and she heard him say "I'll shoot you" and her mother and the children went out the side door.

When they got near the fig trees her father came round with a gun and said again "I'll shoot you".

Her mother said "you would not be game" and then he shot her and she fell down.

Her mother screamed and the kids got down to see what was wrong with her, but he told them it was no good looking, their mother was dead.

Then the six children who were at home that night all ran towards their Uncle Herb's.

On the way she heard two more shots, Thelma said.

Plainclothes Constable BJ Madden gave evidence the injured Hall told him he had shot himself.

"I shot her. I had a shot at my heart but I must have missed," Hall allegedly said.

"We had a row. She is a bad tempered woman. I won't say anything more about that now. She is dead.

"She was coming at me with a butcher's knife, not a bread knife."

Detective AJ Byrne told the court he interviewed Hall in hospital.

Hall had said he was dressing to go to work about 3am "when the missus chased me around the house and told the kids to hit me over the head with a log of wood".

Outside he thought to put the breeze up her when he saw her running at him with a knife.

"I said "stop or I will shoot".

I fired a shot thinking I would frighten her.

She screamed and fell," Hall allegedly told him.

"I did not know what I had done for the minute.

"I sent the kids over to Uncle Herb to tell them Daddy shot Mummy.

"I then went back inside for a while. I then got the lamp and went out to her.

"I could see she was still kicking in pain and I said 'Mum, I will not see you in pain'.

"I gave her another one.

"I then shot myself, but I did not make a good job of it".

Const AW Berghoffer said Hall told him, "she was a good wife to me for 19 years, but she was bad tempered. I shot her - I shot her twice.

"I had to do it. She made the kids hit me. They all belted me."

The jury deliberated for 35 minutes before finding Hall guilty.

He was sentenced to life.

In May, the Court of Appeal refused an application for leave to appeal against his conviction and life sentence.

 

7. Death and kidnapping mystery endues

IT WAS 1952 when police reopened the 40-year-old Turkey Station Tragedy murder case but the mystery remained.

The NewsMail reported on May 6 that Detective Sergeant Bill Cronau interviewed a suspect at Cloncurry the previous week, but it was found the man would have been eight years old at the time Arthur Cogzell was shot dead and Edith Anderson kidnapped.

Police had worked on two theories.

One was that Miss Anderson had been kidnapped by the killer, taken to the river and murdered.

The killer could have then suicided and fallen into the river -which police and civilian volunteers spent weeks dragging without success.

Some thought both bodies had been swept out to sea.

The second theory was that the killer had succeeded in getting out of the country.

Investigations spread to Canada when a man answering the suspect's description was reported there, but Canadian police met a dead end.

Det Cronau's investigations at Cloncurry had the same result, but the case of Arthur Cogzell, murdered, and Edith Anderson, missing, is still open, the paper said.

 

 

Neville Pressler (right) being led by police.
Neville Pressler (right) being led by police. NewsMail Archives

8. One of Bundaberg's most ghastly murders happened at Kalkie

THE victims of "one of the most ghastly murders in Bundaberg's history" were found in their home in Kalkie in May 1959.

Clifford John Golchert, 33, and his wife Marjorie Frances, 30, had been savagely battered about the head and body before being shot.

When police went to the house they found the walls and ceiling were spattered with blood, but there was no sign of a struggle according to the May 20 edition of the NewsMail.

Autopsies revealed the truly brutal nature of the couple's deaths.

They had both been shot in the head after being savagely bashed.

Police were baffled in their search for a motive - the Golcherts, who had no children, were well liked in the community and had been married several years.

The couple was laid to rest at the Bundaberg General Cemetery on May 21 and were so popular that 500 mourners turned up to St John's Lutheran Church to pay their respects.

Mourners were not to know that one of the pallbearers for Mr Golchert's coffin was the man who would be accused of killing them.

The community of Kalkie waited nervously as police worked to solve the case.

Seven local detectives had been given the task of tracking down the Kalkie killer or killers, joined by five more from Brisbane led by Detective Inspector William Cronau.

Local church pastors appealed to the public to come forward with any information that could help find the killer.

By May 30, Insp Cronau said he believed detectives were closing in on the Kalkie killer and had already interviewed him.

However, it took another month before an arrest could be made.

In the meantime, Insp Cronau put forward the theory that the couple was murdered after the killer tried to "force himself on Mrs Golchert".

It is believed the killer waited for Mr Golchert to return from a fishing trip before attacking the couple.

In a bid to solve the case, Deputy Premier Kenneth Morris announced a reward of 1000 pounds on June 19 and a week later stepped it up by offering immunity to any accomplice who came forward to reveal the killer's identity.

Cane farmer Neville William Pressler was arrested on July 2 after contacting police.

A length of piping and a key which fit the Golcherts' back door were later found in a Kalkie paddock.

Pressler was refused bail and committed for trial on August 19 after a three-day hearing in the police court.

He returned from Brisbane jail by train under police escort on October 26 for his trial in the Circuit Court at Bundaberg.

In a confession read to the court, Pressler admitted to police he had hit the couple with something in his hand.

"They were both howling so I shot them to put them out of their misery," he allegedly told police.

On November 6 he was found guilty of murdering Mrs Golchert and sentenced to life in prison.

Pressler was never tried for Mr Golchert's murder.

After his conviction, Mr Pressler offered a reward of 5000 pounds for the arrest and conviction of "the real killer".

Six months after Pressler was sent to Boggo Road jail, his uncle Henry Pressler, 67, was found shot dead in a Bundaberg house.

Pressler's widowed mother, Enid Pressler, was charged with the murder but a jury acquitted her after a lurid trial that shook the state.

Police claimed she murdered Henry Pressler after having forced him at gunpoint to sign a confession that he had killed the Golcherts and that her son was innocent.

Mr Pressler served 16 years in prison and was 45 when he was paroled.

He remarried and returned to farming in Baffle Creek and Emerald, becoming a millionaire in the process.

He died in 2006 aged 76, and protested his innocence to the end.

 

9. Man found insane in killing of his brother

A SUPREME Court jury found a Bundaberg man not guilty on the grounds of insanity of murdering his brother at a South Brisbane hotel.

Max Ellis Carter, 40, was charged with murdering Raymond John " Jack" Carter, 46, at the Terminus Hotel on October 26, 1960.

The brothers were partners in Carter Brothers, one of the state's biggest earth moving and clearing contractors.

A two-day committal hearing in December 1960 heard there had been no bad blood between the brothers.

Detective Sergeant E Horan said Max Carter told him he had shot Jack in silence and "my brother would not have known what happened. We never had a bad word at all."

But police alleged Max Carter also said he had built up the business from"one rotary hoe" while his brothers were at war.

He took them on as partners when they returned, but Jack overextended the business to the stage where he borrowed 170,000 pounds.

Hastings Deering Qld Pty Ltd manager Mr Les Brandon said Carter Brothers owed his firm more than 44,000 pounds on the day of Jack's death and he was about to issue notices of repossession and termination of leases.

Mr Brandon was the first person Max told about the shooting. Sgt Horan told the court police arrive at Mr Brandon's office where Max had been lying on his back on the floor. He admitted then that he shot his brother in the head with a .32 calibre rifle.

Asked if he understood he did not have to answer questions, Max said, "Yes, thanks you. I know I'll have to be charged".

"I've always co-operated with and helped the police and I will help you now.I'monly sorry I've caused all this trouble," he said.

Max told the detective he had not shot his brother from malice-"I loved my brother and I love him still"- but he had been an uncontrollable spendthrift.

"I have suffered torment overt the past few days. I could have borne it myself, but there were others involved - my wife and children," he said, beginning to cry.

Max cried again on the second day of the hearing when his brother's blood stained clothes were produced as evidence.

Carters Brothers managerJeffrey Charles Cook told the court the three Carter brothers - John, Max and Colin - had jointly owned a Bundaberg sugar plantation Promised Land, which netted them a profit of

10,000 pounds a year.

The plantation and an insurance policy on the life of Raymond John Carter were included in security for a Carapark Finance Company loan of 175,000 pounds.

Mr Cook worked for Carapark at the time the loan was extended, and was employed by Carter Brothers six months later.

Mr Cook said he investigated Carter Brothers accounts and found it had assets of 37,000 pounds over liabilities, unsecured creditors for 80,000 pounds, a 44,000 pounds overdraft, and owed hire purchased and finance companies 550,000 pounds for plant and equipment, with repayments amounting to 23,000 pounds a month.

Legal and General Assurance Society manager Robert Nightingale gave evidence the policy, with a commuted value of 500,000 pounds was issued in February.

Mr Nightingale said Max Carter had called at the office 80 minutes before the shooting to check the previous month's premium had been paid.

At his trial in Brisbane Supreme Court in January 1961, psychiatrist Dr William Tait said Max Carter had become acutely paranoic and actively dangerous about two hours before the shooting.

Dr Tait said Max believed the only way out was to kill his brother, which would make everything right for everyone but himself.

Max was still of unsound mind when he visited him a week ago, Dr Tait said.

On January 20, after a marathon 175 minute summing up by Mr Justice Stable, the jury took two hours to decide.

Max Carter's wife, Audrey, remained calm when the verdict was announced but his sister, Miss May Carter, broke down.

"We are overjoyed at the finding," Mrs Carter said later.

"The past three months have been a terrible strain."

Mrs Carter, who had spoken with her husband in a cell bellow the courtroom, said she would arrange to see him in jail as soon as she was allowed.

She wanted to return to Bundaberg as soon as possible because their seven-year-old son,Robert, had to go to school.

Mr Justice Stable sentenced Max Carter to be kept in strict custody at Brisbane Jail until Her Majesty's pleasure was known.

"Her Majesty's pleasure" was an indefinite period which could range from months to years and depend on medical certification of recovery.

In October 1971 the Governor-In-Council ordered his release from detention.

Mr Carter died on March 5, 1984, and was buried at the Bundaberg Lawn Cemetery a week later. He was 63.

- Sandra Godwin

 

10. Woman charged with father's murder

A MOTHER of three was charged with murdering her father after he died from a shotgun blast to the chest at Booyan on November 11, 1962.

Mrs Estelle Myrtle Supple, 29, who lived on the farm with her parents and two sisters, was charged with murdering William Stanley Victor Dorron, 54, farmer.

The court heard Mrs Dorron was the mother of three girls, aged 5, 2, and 10 months and had separated from her husband.

Detectives Sergeant Trost told the court his inquiries had revealed Dorron was given to drinking liquor and had argued with his wife and threatened Mrs Supple.

Mrs Myrtle Elizabeth Dorron, told a hearing on December 19 that before the fatal shooting her husband had twice tried to run her down in a panel van and twice she hid from him because he was in "an ugly mood".

Mrs Dorron said her husband also had pushed her down some steps and she saw him strike another daughter, Judith.

Mrs Dorron said she turned to her husband and said, "What a terrible thing you are doing to us all, Jack, with this cursed drink".

Her husband replied, "If you don't get off the verandah, I'll kick you".

Hiding in long grass outside, Mrs Dorron said she heard Mrs Supple screaming and her father screaming back.

She heard Mrs Supple say, "Now you have had your say, Dad, I'll have mine. You have always hated me. One night your nearly broke my back through your drunken temper".

Mrs Dorron said her husband had his daughter by the arms and she heard whacking sounds.

Mrs Supple broke away and screamed, "Dad, I can't take any more of this life".

Mr Dorron said, "I'll kill you if I chase you all night ... I'll kill, I'll kill, I'll kill, and I don't care how long it takes".

He then turned to his wife and said when he had killed Mrs Supple he would come back for her.

"You'll be dead and I'll follow you," he told her.

Later she heard a shot from the barn and Judith ran back to the house.

Mrs Dorron went to the barn where she found Mrs Supple crawling on her hands and knees screaming.

"Mummy, I've done a terrible thing." she said.

"I have killed Dad, but he made me do it."

Mrs Dorron said her husband had repeatedly threatened her, shot at her and brandished a knife which he stabbed into the wall over her head when he came home drunk from town on Friday nights.

When her husband was drunk he also would "pick at" Mrs Supple and "hound and hound her" about getting a divorced and maintenance for her children.

Police were called to the farm three weeks before the shooting when Mr Dorron tried to run into the panel van with a tractor.

On December 20, Mrs Supple was committed to trial at the March 19 sittings of the Circuit Court. She pleaded not guilty.

After a two-day trial, the jury took less than half and hour to return a not guilty verdict on March 20.

Loud sobs of relief broke out in the public gallery where Mrs Supple's sisters Shirley and Judith and their mother were seated.

The women had to be helped from the court room to a witness room where they accepted the congratulations of friends.

 

11. Three shot dead on Baffle Creek farm

THREE people were found shot dead on a farm at Baffle Creek after a bizarre murder-suicide on February 2, 1965.

Bundaberg police said it appeared Reuben Richard Pershouse, 40, shot Mrs Eunice Gertrude Polotynski, 39, and her daughter Theresa Helen Polotynski, 17, as they were doing the weekly wash.

He then went to the rear of the house and killed himself with the same single barrel shotgun.

The three lived on the farm, about eight milesfrom Rosedale, with four children: a seven-month old baby, boys aged six and eight, and a 12 year old girl.

The NewsMail reported on February 3 that the girl and the baby were at home at the time of the tragedy, but the two boys had already left for school.

The bodies were found about 7.45am by neighbour Miss Joyce Cross aftershe heard three shots two, of them in quick succession from the direction of the Pershouse farm.

Miss Cross then contacted another neighbour, Mrs Lydia Finger, who telephoned police.

The contingent that swooped on the farm included Bundaberg police district Chief Inspector A Day, officer in charge of the Bundaberg station Senior Sergeant T Cavanagh, Detective Senior Constable FC Swindells and Constable J Waugh as well as Rosedale Constables DG Helmore and J Kolence.

The bodies were brought to Bundaberg where post mortem examinations were conducted by government medical officer Dr Leonard McKeon.

Police said neighbours were taking care of the couple's four young children.

 

12. Manhunt launched after murder of Goodwood grandmother

A DRIFTER was jailed for the July 21 stabbing murder of Goodwood grandmother, Mrs Emily Annie Sommer, 79, in 1967.

An intense state-wide manhunt followed the discovery of Mrs Sommer's body slumped across her bed and her distinctive two-tone green Holden sedan missing from the garage.

The widow, who lived alone in a four-room cottage on a 65-acre sugarcane farm, was clad in her nightgown and had a stab wound above the heart.

A horrified grandson, Mervyn Sommer, 17, ran to Mr HD Bugden's store and gave the alarm.

Police suggested the murderer had alighted from a train at Goodwood station, only a short distance from the house, and was disturbed by Mrs Sommer as he was looking for money or food.

Mrs Sommer was apparently struck over the head before she was stabbed.

Niece Margaret Leeson, 17, cried when she talked to reporters about the murder.

"She was a wonderful old lady," she said. "Why would anyone want to kill her?"

A force of 15 police officers and detectives, headed by Bundaberg police district chief Inspector W Powell, conducted house-to-house interviews at Goodwood and along all roads between Bundaberg, Childers and Woodgate.

On July 26, police arrested Peter Martin, 27, of no fixed address, and charged him with the murder after he showed them where he had left the car off Moolboolaman Road when it ran out of petrol as he was fleeing north.

After a four-day trial which heard from 30 witnesses, the jury deliberated for three hours before finding Martin guilty on October 5.

Mr Justice Skerman sentenced him to life imprisonment with hard labour.

 

13. Gin Gin woman acquitted in husband's death

A GIN GIN woman accused of murdering her husband during an argument in 1975 was acquitted of all charges four months later.

Catherine Ann Jenkins, 23, of 5 Campbell Street, was originally charged with murdering David Jenkins at Gin Gin on March 24.

The charge against the expectant mother was reduced to manslaughter at a preliminary hearing before Stipendiary Magistrate Ron Tulley on May 7.

The court was told a neighbour called the ambulance after Mrs Jenkins ran screaming across the road.

Mrs Delphine May Pearce, who knew David Jenkins as "Mick", said she heard raised voices.

Shortly afterwards Mrs Jenkins raced across to the Pearce house screaming "Del, Del, get the ambulance. I threw a knife - I stabbed Mick".

There was blood on Mrs Jenkins' hand and she was very upset.

Gin Gin doctor Keith Reye said a post mortem on Mr Jenkins showed a deep laceration at the base of the throat was the only wound. It was his opinion that the cause of death was blood loss.

Police prosector Sergeant AT Pointing said he recovered a blood stained knife from under a bed.

The bed clothes were blood spattered and there were spots of blood on the floor and one wall of the room.

Mrs Jenkins had told him she threw the knife at her husband but she had not meant to kill him.

"I was mad - he was abusing me," she allegedly said.

Mrs Jenkins said she arrived home about 6.30pm and as she peeled onions in the lounge room doorway while he lay on the bed watching television he accused her of "being out again".

"We were still arguing and he swore and told me to get tea," she told Sgt Pointing.

"I don't know what happened then. I just threw the knife at him."

After her trial in the Circuit Court at Bundaberg, a jury decided on July 23 that Mrs Jenkins was not guilty of manslaughter.

 

 

Bryan Hodgkinson.
Bryan Hodgkinson. Contributed

14. Bodies of victims, brutally murdered, found within hours of each other

WITHIN hours of each other, two violent deaths were uncovered: the body of taxi driver Bryan Hodgkinson was found at a quarry on Goodwood Road and that of Paula Peters was found in a burnt cane field on Rosedale Road, the NewsMail reported in 1987.

Mr Hodgkinson, 48, of Dunn Road, had been bludgeoned and stabbed and Mrs Peters, 48, an invalid pensioner, of Stedman Street, was strangled with a knotted nylon cord.

Mr Hodgkinson's body was found at 7.40am by a school bus driver at a quarry near Goodwood, 30km south of Bundaberg, about the same time as the alarm was raised by his wife Elaine when he had not returned home from work on September 11.

"I thought he had been somehow injured, so I went up to see if I could help. But it was obvious he was dead," the driver said.

"I turned the bus around and phoned the police. I also told the kids (there were about 15 on the bus at the time) not to tell anyone at school what they had seen until it was on the news."

Mr Hodgkinson was last seen alive early on Thursday, September 10, when he refuelled his taxi.

He was due to finish his shift about 1am but was thought to have accepted a fare.

The taxi, with blood on the door and bumper bar, was found in Beatrice Street.

Robbery was thought to have been an unlikely motive.

A coin dispenser had been taken but most of the money was still in the taxi and Mr Hodgkinson still had money in his shirt pocket.

Mrs Hodgkinson said she could not imagine why anyone would want to kill her husband.

"We talked about the dangers of cab driving when Bryan took it up two years ago, but you never think these things will happen to you, especially in Bundaberg," she said.

It took several days for police to confirm Mrs Peters' identity after she was found about 10.30am by cane harvester operator Mr Selwyn Cronin and haul-out driver Mr Andrew Maughan.

"I got a hell of a shock when I saw the girl," Mr Cronin said.

"She was partially burnt but she would have been dead before the paddock was burnt."

On September 11, police released a photograph of Mrs Peters and asked if anyone had seen her in the past 10 days.

The body was identified from dental records and fingerprints found in her home.

A NewsMail editorial called the murders "a sad and wasteful loss".

The loss was doubly felt at the paper where Mr Hodgkinson worked part time as a photographer.

By September 19 more than a dozen young men had begun riding shotgun in taxis during the midnight to 7am shift.

The observers included sons of cab drivers and their friends who were providing security for taxi drivers afraid for their own safety and trying to cope with the grief of their friend and workmate's death.

There was speculation that the deaths were linked - one theory was that Mr Hodgkinson might have seen or heard something which might identify Mrs Peter's killer.

Mr Hodgkinson's death is currently the subject of an inquest.

Paul Vincent Sutherland was eventually arrested over Mrs Peters' death.

 

15. Mother of five stabbed to death

A Gayndah mother of five was stabbed to death in an apparent murder and suicide attempt on December 21, 1989.

Kathleen Joyce Dowsett, 35, of Capper Street, was dead when police and ambulance officers arrived at the scene about 9.45pm. Her defacto husband Terry William Wall, 39, was later found with gunshot wounds to the head beside the Gayndah Mundubbera road about 6km from the town.

He underwent surgery at Maryborough Hospital and appeared in a special Christmas Day session of the Maryborough Magistrates Court charged with murder

 

16. Woman gunned down at Boundary St service station

A 43-YEAR-OLD woman was gunned down in the driveway of a Boundary Street service station after a dramatic car chase on Friday, September 2, 1996.

Ursula Feuerhammer was shot by her husband as she sought help at the Bundaberg Cab Company BP Service Station in Boundary Street about 6.40pm.

Hours later, after a tense stand-off, the body of Alvin Charles Feuerhammer, 50, was found at the rear of their Mimnagh Street convenience store.

 

17. Life sentences for planning murder of Booyal man

TWO men who executed the premeditated murder of a Booyal man were sentenced to life imprisonment on June 14, 1995.

Rodney William Bouchardt, 30, and Gregory William De Jong, 30, were found guilty of murdering Christopher Steven Dunlea at Bonnydoon on August 28, 1994, the attempted murder of his girlfriend Kimberley Barber and producing marijuana.

In sentencing the pair, Mr Justice Lee said they had been willing participants with Mr Dunlea - who he described as despicable and a standover man - in numerous drug-related activities, including the ripping off of other people's marijuana crops and the production of marijuana at Goodnight Scrub.

The judge said he accepted the men feared Mr Dunlea, but said that was no excuse for their actions.

During the trial, the court heard De Jong had told his fiancée and his brother Byron of the plan to shoot Mr Dunlea, and admitted the shooting to them afterwards.

Sandra Dodd said her fiancé returned about four hours later and said "that they had shot Chris" and shot at Ms Barber but missed.

Asked for reasons why De Jong had wanted to shoot Mr Dunlea, Ms Dodd said: "Because he was sure Chris was going to kill him and hurt me and the kids."

In a video-taped interview with police, Bouchardt admitted to shooting Mr Dunlea twice in the back as he was turning off a generator in a shed and then twice in the back of the head with a Chinese made SKS semi-automatic assault rifle.

The committal hearing in December 1994 was told Mr Dunlea was heavily involved in the drug world, both locally and in north Queensland.

He carried unlicensed concealable pistols, one small enough to hide in a cigarette packet, and made his living by ripping off drug crops and money from dealers.

Mr Dunlea was a suspect in the unsolved 1992 murder of Millaa Millaa man Frank Gilbert Byatt whose body was found in a marijuana plantation on the Atherton Tablelands, had boasted of contacts with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and of being an AFP "hitman", had prior convictions and was known to "make fast trips to north Queensland and back."

Childers police officer in charge Sergeant Marty Joy said all police in the area had been warned to use "extreme caution" in dealing with Mr Dunlea after he moved to Booyal in June.

Bouchardt escaped from Rockhampton Correctional Centre on November 7, 1995, and spent the next two-and-a-half years on the run.

In July 1997, Crimestoppers received 12 calls concerning Bouchardt's whereabouts after his case was featured on Australia's Most Wanted.

He was tracked to a Bruce Highway farmhouse, 12km west of Apple Tree Creek, and after a two-day surveillance operation was recaptured on May 13, 1998.

During his time at large he had grown his hair and wore a long full-faced beard

 

18. Family tragedy strikes Bundaberg

SAD news was reported in 1988 that a woman and her two teenage children were found dead in their family sedan after a tragic double murder-suicide on March 10.

Delphine Edith Hurst, 34, of Riedy Street, Charlene Ann McGarry, 14, and Ronald McGarry, 13, were discovered in the car parked at Clayton Road.

The inquest heard Mrs Hurst had left a suicide note.

 

 

Teresa Smith was tragically murdered in Bundaberg.
Teresa Smith was tragically murdered in Bundaberg. File

19. Primary school teacher found dead in unit

IN BUNDABERG'S third murder in less than five months, a pre-school teacher was found dead in her McVeigh Street flat on February 1.

Teresa Margaret Smith, 21, was found naked on a bed with her head immersed in a bucket of water by two other teachers who went to check on her after she failed to arrive for the first day of school at the Walkervale Pre-School Centre.

The government pathologist confirmed Miss Smith died from asphyxiation, not drowning, and had been sexually assaulted.

Miss Smith was last heard from by her boyfriend Simon Dash in Brisbane whom she called from a public phone at 4.30pm on January 31.

Neighbours reported hearing screams about 7.30pm but saw nothing unusual when they went out to investigate.

Miss Smith had lived in Bundaberg for a year and moved into the flat less than a week earlier.

An active member of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church, she also taught Sunday School.

Bundaberg Police Inspector George-Seib described Miss Smith as a clean-living girl who was unlikely to have any enemies.

Bundaberg Mayor Ald Allan Stewart said the whole town was fearful, particularly since police had been unable to solve the murders of Bryan Hodgkinson and Paula Peters in September 1987.

"Everyone is asking: "Have we three killers on the loose, or just one madman who has killed three people?" he said.

Ald Stewart urged everyone to lock their doors, stay at home and pay attention to where their children were.

The last time he recalled such widespread fear was after the Kalkie murders in 1959.

On February 7, police issued a description of a heavily tattooed man they wanted to interview.

By February 17, the team of 14 police and detectives working on the case had been scaled down.

They launched national campaign to track down a suspect, whose photograph was published in newspapers around the country, prompting several reported sightings.

The 30-year-old man, who was not named, had lived in the unit adjoining Miss Smith's flat before her death.

He left Bundaberg unexpectedly on February 2 when he was driven by an acquaintance to the Bruce Highway and hitchhiked south.

On April 22, the NewsMail reported police had rejected rumours the suspect was in Bundaberg.

They said the reports related two men living in the city who fitted the description - one of whom had been pulled over eight times by police.

On May 13 Bundaberg man Paul Vincent Sutherland was named in Queensland's Top 10 most wanted list.

Sutherland, ranked fourth, was wanted for questioning over the murder of Teresa Smith.

He also was wanted on a warrant for failing to appear in Bundaberg Magistrates Court on charges of rape, attempted sodomy, indecent assault and deprivation of liberty.

He had been questioned over the murder of Mrs Peters.

In August $50,000 rewards were offered for information which led to the conviction of those responsible for the murders of Mr Hodgkinson, Mrs Peters and Miss Smith.

Eventually, after year on the run, Paul Vincent Sutherland was arrested in Adelaide following a tip-off from a member of the public who saw his description on Channel Seven's Australia's Most Wanted.

He was extradited from South Australia and arrived in Bundaberg under police escort on February 8.

The next day he appeared in Bundaberg Magistrates Court charged with the murders of Paula Pauline Peters in 1987 and Teresa Margaret Smith in 1988.

 

20. Teen murdered dad then went camping

A TEENAGER accused of murdering his sleeping father tossed the bloodied axe into the back yard and went camping in nearby bushland, a court heard.

In 1996, the NewsMail reported that Shane Robert Riley, 17, was giving evidence against Luke Michael Allison, 17, formerly of Ringwood Road, who was charged with murdering Bruce David Allison at Booyal on April 9, at 1995.

Mr Riley, who had been granted immunity from prosecution as an accessory in exchange for his testimony, told the court he and Allison smoked about 10 to 15 cones of marijuana and he fell asleep.

He woke when Allison punched him in the chest and told him to listen.

Allison said he had just chopped off his father's head but he was still breathing and Mr Riley heard a gurgling noise.

The pair went into the bedroom and Allison put a pillow over his father's head and said "shut up, shut up".

They left the house and returned after daybreak, smoked more marijuana and listened to Metallica's Enter the Sandman after Allison telephoned the police to say he'd just found his father's body.

The jury of seven men and five women took less than an hour to find Allison guilty on February 29, 1996, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Crown Prosecutor John Coustanzo said he hoped the parole board would "consider the interests of the community" and not release Allison if or when he became eligible for parole.

Four days after the verdict, Allison's pregnant girlfriend announced plans for the couple to marry.

With the consent of her mother, Liz Brown, Sherrie-Lee Graham, 15, said she would marry Allison as soon after he celebrated his 18th birthday on March 9 as the authorities would permit.

Miss Graham, who met Allison in December 1994, said she was prepared for the backlash to her decision to marry the convicted killer but said she was not worried about what other people think.

"I don't care what they think... I just haven't got time for people like that," she said. "They just don't know what he was like."

She described Allison, her first boyfriend, as quiet, caring and loving with a good sense of humour.

They became close after he was released on bail and when he proposed to her in a Brisbane park on January 25, she accepted without hesitation.

During his time on bail they decided to name their unborn son Cody David William.

Allison's appeal against his conviction was rejected in September by the Court of Appeal, which said the trial was not unfair and there had been no substantial miscarriage of justice.

 

21. Body found in locked car on Woongarra Scenic Drive

In 1996, the NewsMail reported that police investigated a murder after a body was found in a locked Ford Laser parked on Woongarra Scenic Drive, near Crawford Park.

Matthew Alan Clark, 18, of Brisbane, had been shot in the back.

Several days later a second man, Paul Thomas McGrath, 43, was found dead at Kellys Beach with a .22 calibre sawn-off rifle nearby.

He had a wallet and the Ford Laser's keys in his pocket.

 

 

Caroline Stuttle.
Caroline Stuttle. Contributed

22. Heartbreaking murder of young traveller

In 2002 Bundaberg made international headlines for all the wrong reasons when British backpacker Caroline Ann Stuttle was thrown to her death from the Burnett Traffic Bridge.

North Coast regional crime co-ordinator Detective Inspector Jeff Oliphant said Caroline Ann Stuttle had gone from the caravan park where she had been staying since April 7 to the post office to make an international call sometime before 9pm.

A police media spokeswoman said the call to her boyfriend was interrupted by a call on her mobile phone from a friend asking her when she was coming back.

At 9.15pm, Ms Stuttle rang the friend on her mobile and said she was on her way.

Perry Street residents reported "blood-curdling" screams between 9.15pm and 9.30pm that night.

Police were approached by the girl's friend at 10.10pm after the friend became concerned when Ms Stuttle failed to meet her.

A police search for the backpacker found her body at 11.45pm.

Insp Oliphant released a comfit of a man police were searching for to help solve the mystery of the backpacker's death.

The post mortem results showed Ms Stuttle died from "massive head and spinal injuries due to and as a consequence of a fall from a height and due to and as a consequence of a possible or probable assault".

It appeared Ms Stuttle fought for her life before being thrown from the bridge.

Insp Oliphant said three scratch marks on Ms Stuttle's right thigh were "indicative of some kind of struggle".

Half a world away, Ms Stuttle's mum Marjorie was inconsolable, having spoken to her daughter on the phone only a few days before she was pushed to her death.

Ms Stuttle's father Alan closed his York art gallery, as her 24-year old brother Richard travelled home from France.

On April 15 the NewsMail reported the city's residents, many in tears, paid their respects to the dead girl and her distraught family by leaving flowers and signing condolence books at the bridge where her body was found.

Exactly three months after Ms Stuttle was killed, her father, his partner Janet Elliot and son Richard touched down in Bundaberg.

In September, detectives ordered police divers back to the Burnett River in a fresh bid to find Ms Stuttle's handbag, mobile phone, purse and credit cards that had gone missing on the night she was pushed from the bridge.

On November 9, NewsMail reported that her missing handbag was found in a cane field on Mt Perry Road on October 30, sparking another manhunt and further intense investigations, including a doorknock of more than 150 houses.

Thousands of hours of police work paid off when Ian Douglas Previte, 30, was arrested and charged with her murder.

A tribute to Ms Stuttle can be found in Buss Park, with a link to Caroline's Rainbow Foundation's website - set up by her family to help young travellers stay safe.

 

23. Two charged with separate murders in 2003

Gin Gin man Clinton Allan Wilmot, aged 29, was charged with murder after a street attack claimed the life of a 54-year-old truckie, who suffered serious head injuries near his parked B-Double semi-trailer on the south-bound lane of the Bruce Highway.

Also in 2003, the NewsMail reported that in a separate incident in September, 36-year-old woman Debbie Lee Duggan was charged with murder after she allegedly shot her 57-year-old partner in their Blackall Street home.

 

24. Drug-user killed Agnes Water man who lived in a Nazi-decorated home

A DRUG-using charity worker was sentenced to 11 years' jail for shooting dead Agnes Water man Rogan Matthews, NewsMail reported on October 20, 2006.

Robert William Budd looked to the heavens in relief after a jury in Rockhampton Supreme Court decided he had not murdered Matthews, but had killed him.

Matthews, whose home was decorated with Nazi symbols, died after he was shot in the back at his Agnes Water home in Avocado Drive about midnight on January 13 the previous year.

Before retiring, the jury was told by Justice Peter Dutney that Budd could be found guilty of manslaughter if they believed he had not killed in cold blood, but rather in self-defence.

He said the jury had to consider whether Budd had no choice but to shoot to defend himself from certain death or bodily harm.

In summing up Justice Dutney told the court the shooting did not seem like an accident.

"On the evidence it seems likely that Mr Budd shot him," he said as he delivered his final instructions.

Justice Dutney said on the evidence presented, Budd had been assaulted by three other men, including the now-dead Matthews after he went to Matthews' home in the middle of the night to confront him.

The court was told that Budd worked for various charities, including the Endeavour Foundation and St Vincent de Paul, and was well-known for his community work in the Agnes Water area.

Budd was also sentenced for drugs, weapons and traffic offences.

He was charged with possessing methamphetamines, possessing a bolt-action rifle, unlawful use of a motor vehicle and possessing a hupodermic syringe.

His punishment for those offences did not alter his 11-year jail term.

During the trial, the jury heard how Matthews was shot with a .303 calibre rifle.

 

25. Man sentenced to life over toddler's killing

Attempts to portray Alan Craig as an out-of-control schizophrenic on the night he slit his nephew's throat were not enough to stop a jury from finding him guilty, the NewsMail reported on May 2, 2009.

A jury in the Bundaberg Supreme Court found the 26 year old guilty of murdering two-year-old Liam Craig outside the Craig family's Yandaran home on March 25, 2006.

Judge Duncan McMeekin sentenced Craig to the mandatory life term in prison.

 

 

 

Trinity Bates who was found dead in Bundaberg on February 22.
Trinity Bates who was found dead in Bundaberg on February 22.

26. Community's heart breaks for murdered little girl Trinity Bates

TRINITY Bates spent her final hours having dinner with her family, watching a movie and playing an electronic game.

Her mother, Amanda Clarke, had to tell the eight-year-old to go to sleep because it was a school night.

That was about 9.30pm on February 21, 2010, and the last time the Bundaberg mum would see her daughter alive.

The little girl - wearing only the three-quarter pyjamas she had slept in - was found face down, twisted and bruised, 22m inside a concrete storm water drain not far from her Walker St home.

Allyn John Slater, 22, was sentenced to life imprisonment - a minimum of 20 years without parole - when he faced Brisbane Supreme Court for murdering the girl.

Trinity's dad, Damian Bates, who was working for a house removal and demolition company at the time, rose at 4.45am on February 22.

Amanda got up to make his lunch and they sat together while he had breakfast at the back of the house.

She later went back to bed and Damian walked up the driveway to wait for a lift to work as he did every morning. But he noticed two things were unusual.

One of the three sets of windows to Trinity's room, at the front of the house, was open - and there was a green plastic outdoor chair directly beneath it.

After a frantic and fruitless search of the house and yard for their missing daughter, Trinity's parents phoned 000.

Police, family and friends began a search of the neighbourhood just after 6am and a police dog soon found the girl's lifeless body in a culvert running behind Walker St.

Prosecutor Todd Fuller said pathologists determined she had drowned from the water running through the pipe where she had been dumped face down.

Police found Slater's fingerprints and drops of Trinity's blood at the window to her bedroom.

Mr Fuller said Slater could not explain why he had gone to the child's room and killed her. He said he had no real memory of what occurred inside the bedroom or going to the drain.

But he did remember he found it difficult to manoeuvre or stand up in the drain, and he remembered choking Trinity and dragging her as he crawled through the pipe.

"He indicated he hadn't been upset with Trinity. She was his brother's best friend," Mr Fuller said.

"He had no idea why he chose to go to their house that night or indeed remove the child from the room. He denied any sexual motivation for what had occurred."

Mr Fuller said the murder could "only be described as a senseless crime that strikes at the heart of the community".

"The motivation for it will never be known," he said.

Defence barrister Carl Heaton said his client had expressed "great regret for what he had done".

"In a childish way, perhaps reflecting his personality generally, he wished for the capacity to be able to turn back time and take back what had happened," Mr Heaton said.

"The circumstances of it are difficult for him to even reconcile in his own mind with the person he knows himself otherwise to be."

Justice Duncan McMeekin said the murder was "simply inexplicable" and "every parent's worst possible nightmare".

"You took an eight-year-old child from her bedroom where she was sleeping, strangled her and left her to drown in a drain," he told Slater.

"It has horrified the community in which Trinity lived and devastated a family.

"They live every day with the appalling loss you've inflicted on them."

North Coast regional crime co-ordinator Detective Superintendent Maurice Carless said outside court the sentencing was the conclusion of a long investigation.

"As you can imagine, this is not solved for (the Bates family)," he said.

"This is not over for them; this is just a legal conclusion. It is certainly not a conclusion in what is a human tragedy."

 

 

Samantha Ann Brownlow, 45, is arrested in connection with the murder of her stepfather Robin Behrendorff.
Samantha Ann Brownlow, 45, is arrested in connection with the murder of her stepfather Robin Behrendorff. Nev Madsen

27. Burnett Heads man killed in plan to collect inheritance

IN 2013, the NewsMail reported on the shocking murder whereby Samantha Ann Brownlow, then 45, and her son Corey James Lovell, then 21, killed Brownlow's stepfather in April 2011 in a plot to collect his inheritance.

They viciously bludgeoned and stabbed him, leaving him to die alone in a pool of his own blood.

Bundaberg Police Detective Sergeant Andrew Self told media about the investigation and how police cracked the chilling case.

"She (Brownlow) was very focused on money, all she cared about was money," he said.

According to the investigation, Brownlow had masterminded the plot to kill her stepdad with the help of her son, mistakenly believing she was in his will.

The plan was to collect $200,000 from the sale of his Baldry St home - $50,000 of which would be given to her son Corey for his role in the killing.

"For these people who had basically lived off welfare their entire life, 200 grand or 50 grand was a tremendous amount of money for them to obtain in one hit," Det Sgt Self said.

According to detectives, the pair drove to Mr Behrendorff's home in the early hours of the morning with the intention of smothering him in his sleep - but there was one problem in their plan.

After breaking in through a back door at about 2am, Brownlow hid in the shower while Lovell attacked Mr Behrendorff as he was leaving the toilet.

Corey Lovell then smashed a wooden stool over Mr Behrendorff's head, knocking him down to the ground.

A glass door was smashed in the struggle, but Mr Behrendorff would end up being beaten so severely with a leg from the stool that his face was beyond recognition.

When Brownlow could only hear one person breathing, she crept out from the shower, inflicting further injuries to Mr Behrendorff's body and took a knife from the kitchen for Lovell to stab his step-grandfather four times.

When interviewed by detectives, Brownlow first denied the crime, then tried to blame it on her son before admitting it had been her plan all along.

"How am I supposed to have done it to Rob? He's not exactly a little man," she said in a police interview.

Det Sgt Self said Brownlow had been "very calm and collected" when being interviewed over the horrendous crime.

On the fatal night, Brownlow and Lovell were spotted on CCTV at service stations both before and after they had killed Mr Behrendorff.

And it was the need for a sugar hit that Det Sgt Self says was helpful in the investigation.

Brownlow had purchased Mars Bars and bottles of Coca Cola at several stops along the way, providing valuable CCTV evidence in the investigation.

"It was probably her undoing in the end," Det Sgt Self said.

One video, from before the pair killed Mr Behrendorff, shows Lovell wearing a brown shirt and full length pants, but when they are seen again after the murder is committed, his pants had been cut off to form shorts.

Police would find these items of Lovell's clothing in the pair's Housing Commission wheelie bin.

Lovell's girlfriend's name had even been written on his pants, and there was blood on his shirt.

Brownlow's clothes were found in a washing basket, along with a pair of Target sandals that matched a bloody partial footprint at the crime scene.

"Eventually we were able to force our way into the house and Samantha Brownlow was found hiding in the ensuite," Det Sgt Self said.

"I guess they were two peas in a pod.

"Neither of them cared about Mr Behrendorff at all."

Det Sgt Self said after Brownlow admitted to the murder, detectives were able to reveal that Mr Behrendorff's estate had actually been left to his brother, not to her.

"She obviously realised at the point that what she did was all for nothing," he said.

Det Sgt Self said Brownlow's self interest had taken over from any maternal instincts.

"A narcissist would probably be the term that springs to mind," he said.

"To not only kill a family member for money but also to involve your children I wouldn't think you could get a lower act."

In Supreme Court sentencing in 2013, Brownlow placed a hand on her son's shoulder, but he pushed it away so hard the police guards had to intervene.

At the time, Justice Duncan McMeekin said the violence inflicted on the older man was "substantial".

"It's chilling," he said.

"It is beyond the comprehension of most of us.

"What you did was simply evil."

The pair will be eligible for parole after serving 15 years.

A documentary film crew came to Bundaberg to tell the story.

 

28. Man alleged to have killed his father

A SON allegedly murdered his father in front of his mother at a property north of Bundaberg in 2017.

A 57-year-old man was found with at least one stab wound to the heart just before 10pm on September 5.

His son, 34, was found 2km away in his own car and surrendered to police.

He has been charged with murder and unlawful wounding.

Police allege "a family related domestic situation" broke out at the family home on Monduran Rd, Yandaran.

 

 

Luke Turnbull leaving the Bundaberg Police Station.
Luke Turnbull leaving the Bundaberg Police Station. Mike Knott BUN271017TURNBULL4

29. Man freed over death of Bundaberg boxer

FINALLY a free man at 4.20 on the afternoon of October 27, 2017, Luke Turnbull walked from Bundaberg Police Station with his mum and dad.

After nearly two years spent in limbo facing a murder charge over the stabbing death of Bundaberg boxer Landon Delinecort, the face of Mr Turnbull could not be seen when a Supreme Court jury pronounced his innocence.

As he stood in the dock before Justice Peter Applegarth and the jury to receive its verdict, 37-year-old Mr Turnbull was isolated from public gaze by a wall.

He was alone with his thoughts at what would likely be the most significant moment of his life.

His fate in the hands of 12 ordinary Bundaberg citizens.

But there would be no doubting the emotional impact their words would have made when fully absorbed by him.

Mr Turnbull had been in custody since his arrest at his lawyer's office on November 30, 2015.

The Bundaberg courtroom was packed and silent in expectation - Justice Applegarth moments before the jury returned had given a stern warning that he would not tolerate any emotional outbursts from the public gallery as the verdict was handed down.

Mr Turnbull's parents Steve and Debbie Turnbull, and his partner Naomi Terare, were among his supporters seated on one side of the small courtroom.

Seated across from them were the Delinecort family and friends of Landon, including his father Calvin, brother Brock, and Mikael Atkins - Landon's girlfriend at the time of his death in November 2015.

The day before had been the eighth day of the trial in which the Crown case was put by Crown prosecutor Greg Cummings.

Both the Crown, and Mr Turnbull's defence counsel Saul Holt QC had made their final address and Justice Applegarth had given his legal directions.

The jury retired at 10.48.

At 11.33 the five women, seven men of the jury walked back in to give their unanimous verdict.

About 10 happy and relieved Turnbull family and supporters gathered for a while in an upstairs waiting area to digest their welcome news, his mother Debbie saying only - "the truth came out".

The Delinecorts left court immediately after the verdict.

Confronted by waiting media and cameras outside the courthouse, father Calvin Delinecort and his son Brock kept their silence.

Mr Turnbull, successfully defended by counsel Saul Holt QC, pleaded not guilty to three charges: the murder of Landon Delinecort, 24, on November 27, 2015; causing grievous bodily harm to Calvin Delinecort; and assault to Brock Delinecort.

There had been no contest that Landon died from a stab wound to his heart that night at 41 Cummins Rd outside his family home in suburban Avoca.

Mr Turnbull agreed he stabbed Landon, defending the murder charge on the grounds of self-defence.

Mr Turnbull maintained there had been a dispute over a $200 drug debt he owed Calvin Delinecort after buying ice, methylamphetamine, from him.

Electing for Mr Turnbull to give evidence and take the witness stand, his counsel Mr Holt made a considered legal decision.

In opening defence argument before the Bundaberg jury Mr Holt said Luke Turnbull had been attacked by weapons, and not taken the knife to the scene that ultimately killed Landon.

The knife that killed Landon Delinecort was never found by investigating police.

Mr Holt was a former Chief Counsel at Victoria Legal Aid and appeared in some of Victoria's most significant high profile criminal cases, including acting for Adrian Bayley - a serial rapist who also raped and killed ABC Melbourne employee Jill Meagher.

In Queensland Mr Holt successfully defended Gable Tostee in his murder charge over the death of New Zealand tourist at Surfers Paradise after she fell from a high rise balcony.

 

Bruce Saunders.
Bruce Saunders. Contributed

30. Popular Bundaberg butcher in woodchipper death

FORMER Bundaberg butcher Bruce Saunders's death, originally thought to be an accident, became a criminal investigation in 2018.

Police are investigating a love triangle motive in the grisly murder of the popular man.

Mr Saunders, 54, died after he became trapped in a woodchipper while clearing a female friend's property at Goomboorian near Gympie in Queensland last November.

It was around 7.40pm on Sunday, November 12, and Mr Saunders was mulching branches with the woodchipper when it was just beginning to get dark.

It was his third weekend helping out "as an act of goodwill' to a woman who had been recently widowed.

Working with Mr Saunders on the property, which is around 200km north of Brisbane in a diverse farming district, were two other adult males.

Police say the woman who owned the property on which Mr Saunders was helping out when he died is not linked to his death.

The investigation continues.



OPINION: Deep down, you know vegans are right

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Criticism of vegans only furthers their cause

Election candidate says our borders are at risk

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Ellul questions attitude towards Christians

AJP candidate puts focus on climate

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Fears species will be wiped out