Murder accused stops in Gympie
THE man accused of murdering eight-year-old Bundaberg school girl Trinity Bates arrived in Gympie early yesterday afternoon – and left again 10 minutes later.
Allyn John Slater, 19, was on his way to remand detention in Brisbane and arrived at Gympie Watchhouse under heavy police guard about 2.35pm.
He was transported in a high security windowless paddy wagon escorted by two unmarked Toyota Prado police vehicles.
Police managed to shield the accused man from a large media contingent and an angry crowd of residents outside Bundaberg Courthouse yesterday, but the police convoy was spotted by a motorist, heading south on the Bruce Highway about lunchtime.
It is likely the brief stopover involved routine refuelling of the vehicles and a break for police and their passenger.
The first escort vehicle arrived about 2.30pm, to request that watchhouse staff prepare to open the detention facility's secure roller-door.
The paddy wagon then arrived, closely followed by the second escort vehicle.
Both slowed at the sight of The Gympie Times photographer Craig Warhurst, but the paddy wagon then accelerated to minimise photographic opportunities and crossed the gutter with a slight chirp of its tyres, before stopping and bringing down the watchhouse garage door.
The first vehicle remained parked outside, while its driver stood guard during the stopover.
The door re-opened at 3.45pm. Slater and his uniformed entourage then resumed their journey southwards.
Slater had earlier been remanded in custody after appearing in Bundaberg Magistrates Court, charged with murder, handcuffed and in a brown prison-issue jumper.
Magistrate Jennifer Batts denied a defence application to have the matter heard in closed court and said she did not have jurisdiction to grant bail on such a charge.
Slater is listed as a friend of Trinity's parents, Amanda Clarke and Damien Bates, on the Facebook social networking site.
Outside the court, about 12 police patrolled the grounds and stood guard in the foyer of the building.
Slater's case was adjourned until May 17 to allow police more time to prepare the prosecution evidence.