Trio ‘came out of nowhere, on a dinghy’, man tells court

Written by admin on 28/09/2019 Categories: 广州桑拿

Hairdressers have an eye for detail. But rarely is a hairdresser’s eye as significant as it could be for convicted murderer Sue Neill-Fraser.
Nanjing Night Net

Neill-Fraser is serving a 23-year prison sentence for killing her partner, Bob Chappell, in 2009.

She faced the Tasmanian Supreme Court in Hobart on Monday in a final bid to overturn her conviction.

Her legal team must convince Justice Michael Brett there is new and significant evidence for an appeal to proceed.

A hairdresser who saw a teenage girl and two men in the area where Mr Chappell went missing on the night he disappeared provides such evidence, Thomas Percy QC, for Neill-Fraser, argues.

The hairdresser, Brent Brocklehurst, saw the trio with his neighbour.

He was told the neighbour had picked them up after they had been on a dinghy near the Marieville Esplanade foreshore.

Mr Chappell went missing from the Four Winds, a yacht he and Neill-Fraser owned which was moored 300 metres off the same esplanade in Sandy Bay.

“[The neighbour] said ‘I bumped into these guys, they’ve come out of nowhere, on a dinghy’,” Mr Brocklehurst told the court on Monday.

Neill-Fraser claims she left her partner of 20 years alone on the boat about 2pm on January 26, 2009 as he worked on repairs.

His body has never been found, and, apart from a blood sample found to belong to Mr Chappell, there was no forensic evidence relied upon for Neill-Fraser’s conviction.

But a DNA sample from Meaghan Vass was found on the Four Winds.

Mr Brocklehurst could not be sure, but believes the girl he saw the night Mr Chappell vanished was Ms Vass, who was 15 at the time.

It was about 7pm, and the girl was not wearing shoes, he said.

He is more certain that one of the men the girl was with was Stuart Russell, who committed an unrelated murder two years later.

His evidence adds weight to a theory developed by Neill-Fraser’s legal team: that locals who were known to steal from yachts in the area boarded the Four Winds with Ms Vass and killed Mr Chappell after he disturbed them.

Earlier this year, Ms Vass signed a statutory declaration that also supported this theory, but in court on Monday she withdrew it in sensational fashion.

Police could not confirm how Ms Vass’ DNA had been found on the Four Winds, and Ms Vass has also been unable to explain its presence.

Neill-Fraser was found to have bludgeoned Mr Chappell with an unknown object, used rope and a winch to lift his body from the cabin to the deck, and then weighed it down with a fire extinguisher before dumping it in the Derwent River.

She was motivated by the knowledge the relationship was over, and that Mr Chappell – a wealthy Hobart doctor – was worth more to her dead than alive.

An attempt was then made to sink the Four Winds to destroy evidence.

Neill-Fraser has maintained her innocence, despite police finding significant inconsistencies in her alibi.

She has sat quietly in court during Monday’s hearing, even during the evidence of Ms Vass, who screamed, and repeatedly stood and banged the witness box, while she was questioned by Mr Percy.

She said during Neill-Fraser’s trial that she did not know how her DNA had come to be on the yacht.

But in April, lawyers for Neill-Fraser obtained a signed statutory declaration from Ms Vass saying she was on the Four Winds on the night Mr Chappell went missing.

She also said she was with other people she would not name.

But she recanted that statement in dramatic fashion, leaving the courtroom in tears after requesting a five-minute break.

“I had been made to sign that statement out of fear,” she said.

“I was threatened to be put in the boot of a car.”

Ms Vass told the court she is still homeless, as she was when Mr Chappell disappeared.

Shortly before asking for a break, she cried out for her mother and a senior Tasmania Police officer.

She told Prosector Daryl Coates she had been offered money to make the statement, but later conceded that could have been a reference to a $40,000 reward for information offered by Neill-Fraser’s supporters.

Ms Vass said a woman who met Neill-Fraser in prison and was an associate of a Devil’s Henchmen bikie.

Victoria Police forensic scientist Maxwell Jones, said the DNA sample belonging to Ms Vass that was found on the Four Winds was far more likely to have come directly from her saliva or blood than a secondary transfer or via contact with her skin.

Another witness, who claims he was on the foreshore on the night of the disappearance also gave evidence on Monday, saying that he believed a former friend who was living on a yacht at the time had murdered Mr Chappell and three other people.

But he also claimed he was working for ASIO at the time of the disappearance and admitted he would lie to help Neill-Fraser.

The appeal before Justice Michael Brett will continue on Tuesday. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},’#pez_iframe’);

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