The killer we've invited into the lounge room

When winter arrives there’s nothing like curling up in front of a fire heater with a glass of wine.
But there’s something disturbing in this cosy picture.
As Alison Branley discovers, there’s a huge risk to our health that we seem determined to ignore, even though it’s estimated to kill hundreds of Australians every year

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New search for Jodie Larcombe amid reports of parole bid by killer Daryl Suckling

New South Wales Police have begun a new search for the body of murdered Melbourne woman Jodie Larcombe.

Daryl Suckling was sentenced to life in prison in 1996 over the murder of the 21-year-old, who was last seen in late December 1987.

Though her body has never been found, NSW detectives arrested and charged Daryl Suckling over Ms Larcombe’s murder in June 1994.

Police say they will conduct a coordinated land search around Mourquong, an area they have already searched extensively, over the next few days.

Officers established Strike Force Turret earlier this year after receiving new information relating to the possible location of Ms Larcombe’s remains.

Last month police travelled to the NSW town, near Mildura in Victoria, to conduct initial inquiries.

Some media is reporting that Suckling has given police information on where to find her remains in a bid to be released on parole.

Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty said detectives would use all available resources to search the area.

“It has been more than three decades since Jodie’s murder and detectives would like nothing more than to return her remains to her family so they may finally lay her to rest,” the Homicide Squad Commander said.

Ken Larcombe has waited more than 30 years to find his lost daughter, but he is not sure how he will feel if the search finally ends.

“At the moment I’m a bit blank, but who knows?” he said from the side of Arumpo Road, just off the Silver City Highway near Mildura.

“I’m not here to bullshit.

“It just depends on what they find and when they find her.”

Mr Larcombe said he had already found closure for the loss of his “fantastic daughter” in the form of a roadside memorial he created for her and her late mother along the side of Arumpo Road.

Mr Larcombe said the reports that Suckling was angling for parole were a matter of “speculation” from his point of view, but either way he did not want the outcome of the search to lead to the killer’s release.

“If it means him getting out of jail, they can stop the search today because me and the family, we do not want to see him out of jail,” Mr Larcombe said.

“It’s not going to change anything, so why should it change his status and let him out?”

The search involves various agencies and some volunteers.

“It’s not a cheap operation to get this done, so I’ve got every bit of respect for the police and those concerned involved in arranging it,” Mr Larcombe said.

“The homicide squad and the police we’ve had to deal with have been fantastic.

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Lavington killer Adam Azzi had shank, drugs, after jail attack | The Border Mail

news, court-and-crime,

A violent offender responsible for the death of a Lavington man won’t serve any more jail time despite being caught with a prison shank and drugs following an attack on an inmate. Adam Jay Azzi was just two days away from being sentenced for manslaughter when he punched the victim at Junee jail and kneed him on the ground. The 47-year-old drug addict had been transferred from Bathurst jail to a holding cell in Junee prison on March 4 last year. He was with three other criminals in a holding cell and had a conversation with the 35-year-old victim, Daniel Carter. The Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday heard the pair moved to the back of the cell to continue talking. “The offender punched the victim to the right side of the face with a closed right fist and continued to punch the victim to the head and face using both hands multiple times until the victim fell to the ground,” the prosecution said. “Whilst the victim was on the ground, the offender kneed the victim twice to the head and continued to punch the victim to the head and face.” Carter was kicked twice in the face before prison officers broke up the fight. Azzi was placed in a different holding cell. He was belligerent and made multiple threats to the corrections officers, who noticed he had something in his buttocks. “The offender initially volunteered to remove the item from his buttocks, however when given the opportunity attempted to push the item further into his anal region,” the court heard. Officers tried to secure Azzi with wrist locks and put him against a wall, at which point blue plastic was noticed in his hair. His hair was cut and a 14 centimetre prison shiv was found. It took Azzi about an hour to comply with the officer’s requests, and 16 Suboxone strips were located. Just two days later, Azzi was sentenced to at least eight years and three months in jail for the stabbing death of Lloyd Kennedy in Lavington on November 6, 2016. He had been tried on a charge of murder, but was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter. The 47-year-old will be eligible for parole on February 6, 2025. Azzi faced three charges before magistrate Rodney Brender on Wednesday for the prison attack. Mr Brender imposed a conviction with no penalty, including no jail time.


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EXCLUSIVE: Horrifying moment grandmother is grabbed off street by her suspected killer and forced into bush where her body was found next day – as police release image of man they want to speak to

Horrifying footage has captured the moment a woman was grabbed off the street by her suspected killer and forced towards the bush where she was later found dead.  

The body of Maria Jane Rawlings, 45, who lived in Chelmsford, Essex, was found in shrubbery near Little Heath in Romford at around 2pm on Tuesday.   

Security camera footage obtained by MailOnline captures the final moments of mother-of-two Ms Rawlings before she was bludgeoned and strangled to death.  

It comes as the Metropolitan Police released images and video this evening of a man they want to speak to in connection to the killing.

In the clip, the man is seen travelling on the 364 bus towards Dagenham at around 12.16am on Tuesday, around an hour after Ms Rawlings was last seen in the CCTV footage. 

Police said they believe the man has ‘significant information’ that could help with their ‘fast-paced investigation’. 

The CCTV of the alleged abduction, taken from a nearby house on the day before Ms Rawlings’ body was found, shows the grandmother walking on Barley Lane at 11.17pm on Monday. 

She had just left the nearby King George Hospital in Goodmayes.

Footage shows a male in dark clothing walking behind Ms Rawlings and quickening his step to catch up with her. When he reaches her, he forces his arm around hers.

She resists slightly but he forces her towards the shrubbery on a green near the busy A12. Just as they disappear from view a white car drives past.

Ms Rawlings’ body was found in the bush at 2pm on Tuesday by a man out walking his dog.

Detective Chief Inspector David Hillier, who is leading the murder investigation, said after releasing the latest footage of the man on the bus: ‘I would urge anyone who recognises this man to contact police immediately. 

‘We are carrying out a fast-paced investigation and I believe this man may have significant information to help us with our enquiries. If anyone sees this man, I would ask them not to approach him but to call 999.’

A post-mortem examination at Walthamstow Mortuary gave the preliminary cause of death as neck compression and possible blunt force head trauma.

The homeowner who gave MailOnline his security footage did so in order to help trace the man seen with Ms Rawlings in the minute-long clip.

He has also appealed to the driver of the white car to contact police if he has a dash cam or if he saw anything untoward as he drove past.

The homeowner has given the footage to the Metropolitan Police and believes the man was seen walking away from the area at about 11.43pm.

Ms Rawlings lived 20-miles away from Little Heath in Chelmsford, Essex.

Her devastated family yesterday left flowers by the bush where her body was found, with a message attached to one bouquet reading: ‘Mummy. I love you now, forever and always. 

‘In this s*** world you made things brighter. Forever my angel. Your Big Baby.’

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Man arrested in hunt for PCSO Julia James’s killer

Detectives hunting the killer of PCSO Julia James have arrested a man in his 20s, they revealed on Saturday.

The arrest came 11 days after Mrs James, 53, was found bludgeoned to death in woodland near her home in Snowdown, Kent, on April 27, shortly after leaving the house with her Jack Russell dog.   

It emerged on Saturday evening that a woman from Canterbury claimed her daughter recognised the man in the photograph, which had been posted on the force’s Facebook page.

Her comment was spotted by Mrs James’s daughter, Bethan Coles, 31, a police officer, who wrote: “Please go to police if you have any information. We would be so grateful x”. 

The woman, who did not want to be named, later posted to say that she had been contacted by officers.

A Kent Police spokesman said: “Officers investigating the death of Julia James have arrested a man in connection with her murder.

“A man in his 20s from the Canterbury area was arrested at 9.30pm on Friday 7 May 2021, and remains in custody.”

The man held by police is understood to be a British national. A house in the former mining town of Aylesham, close to the scene of the killing, was later seen taped off by police, with forensics officers undertaking a search of the property in Sunshine Corner Avenue.

Officers with clipboards were seen going door to door, speaking to people living in surrounding houses on the new build estate, close to the outskirts of the village.

Kent Police repeated their appeal for any information that might help them in their hunt for Mrs James’ killer, with the force so far unable to establish what the motive for the attack was.

Assistant Chief Constable Tom Richards said: “We continue to urge anyone with information, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, to contact us.

“If you were in the Snowdown area between 1pm and 4.30pm on Tuesday 27 April please contact us. This includes anyone local who may have seen something out of place at the time, or who came across someone who made them feel uneasy – such as feeling compelled to cross the road or change the route they were walking.”

The arrest came after Kent Police said they were no longer seeking information about a man following the release of an image by the force.

Officers had released a photograph on Friday of a man they said could be of “crucial importance” to the investigation.

But later in the day the force said the man had been identified and they were no longer appealing for information about him.

ACC Richards said: “I can confirm we have identified the man in the photo and we no longer need the media to run his image, nor do we need further information about him at this time.

“Despite identifying this individual, we are still keen to hear from those who have information that may help us.”

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Kelly Wilkinson’s alleged killer Brian Johnston formally charged with murder, wakes from coma

The accused killer of mother-of-three Kelly Wilkinson has been formally charged with murder after spending 10 days in a coma.

Police visited Brian Earl Johnston at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital where he has been under guard and in an induced coma for 10 days.

Ms Wilkinson’s burned body was found in the rear of a Gold Coast house on April 20 while Johnston, 34, was located nearby shortly after, police say, suffering serious burns to his hands and airway.

Johnston’s lawyer Chris Hannay confirmed to NCA NewsWire police had formally charged his client with murder of the 27-year-old mother on Friday.

He said he instructed Johnston, who was heavily medicated and struggling to talk, not to be interviewed.

“I saw him this morning, with two police officers, and wanted to talk to him and confirm what has happened so far with his charges and was told he had been charged with murder,” Mr Hannay said.

“Police wanted to interview him but we obviously rejected that as he wasn’t in any position to do an interview.

“He was able to speak to me in a whisper, obviously his throat is sore and I understand he has been out of a coma since yesterday and was coherent.

“He nodded and whispered ‘yes’, and police had informed him he had been charged with murder and he said ‘yes’, but made no comment about it and he didn’t even mention the incident to me.

“He was wrapped up like a newborn baby and he was really in a bad way and highly medicated for pain.’

Mr Hannay said Johnston wanted to retain him as his representative.

It is likely to be a week before Mr Hannay will be able to see Johnston again.

“He is going to in there for a while and, when I say a while, he’s not going to be out for the next week or so,” Mr Hannay said.

“He’s in custody and for all intents and purposes he is in jail.

“He is in no fit state to talk and I’ve asked him to contact me when he is and I will make the appropriate application to see him through corrections.”

Mr Hannay said no questions were put to Johnston and it was an “advisory” conversation and police cautioned him.

Johnston was given watch-house bail on other charges a week before Ms Wilkinson’s death and was due to face court on four serious matters on Friday (April 30).

In the weeks leading up to her death, family members said Ms Wilkinson had contacted police at least twice to complain about Johnston.

Natalie Wilkinson, one of Kelly’s three sisters, said she drove the 27-year-old to the police station “almost every day” to report alleged breaches of the court order.

“I would drive her to the police station almost every day to make breaches and reports and still nothing had moved any further,” Natalie told Seven News in the days after her death.

It was deemed Johnston’s alleged actions did not breach the conditions of a court order, Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd said.

“There was some contact made by Kelly with the police subsequent to an order,” Commissioner Codd said.

“Attention was drawn to police about the concerns raised about fearing for her safety and articulating her concern that he hadn’t been kept in custody.

On the same day Johnston was charged a vigil was held on the Gold Coast in honour of Ms Wilkinson and Lordy Ramadan.

Hundreds of domestic violence survivors and allies gathered at rallies around Queensland to mourn the women, allegedly murdered at the hands of their partners.

Dressed in black and armed with a single red rose, mourners gathered in the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Ipswich, bowing their heads in a minutes silence to pay their respects to Kelly Wilkinson and Lordy Ramadan, and to rail against a system leaders say ‘failed’ them.

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Police didn’t link cop killer with reports of machine gun fire

The team leader of the squad hunting for paranoid gunman Ricky Maddison said he “never made the link” between reports of machine gun fire on the edge of the Lockyer National Park despite the park being a “specific target area” of their search.

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Brett Forte’s killer Ricky Maddison was ‘shocked’ to hear the police officer died

Senior Constable Forte died after Ricky Maddison fired two full magazines at police cars during a pursuit from Toowoomba to the Lockyer Valley in May 2017.

Maddison was later shot by police after at least 85 attempts to have him surrender during a 20-hour siege.

Coroner Terry Ryan is investigating the circumstances of both deaths.

Detective Senior Sergeant Anthony Buxton from Ethical Standards Command was the investigating officer who focused on Maddison’s death.

He told the court that after Senior Constable Forte’s death, Maddison was walking around the property discharging a gun.

“Thirty rounds at a time … indiscriminately,” Detective Senior Sergeant Buxton said.

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How police may have missed a chance to catch serial killer Bruce McArthur in 2013

Toronto police didn’t check Bruce McArthur’s criminal record in 2013 before or after interviewing him — despite possessing evidence connecting the now-convicted serial killer to three missing men whose disappearances officers were then investigating.

That’s just one of many serious investigative flaws former judge Gloria Epstein identifies in her independent review of Toronto police’s handling of missing-persons cases — including the victims of McArthur — released Tuesday. 

Epstein argues proper preparation for the McArthur interview, an understanding of his 2003 assault conviction, and his connection to the three missing men should have resulted in greater police scrutiny of his conduct as early as November 2013. He was eventually arrested and charged with murder in January 2018. 

“Someone with a connection with all three missing persons who had attacked another member of the LGBTQ2S+ communities and been banned from the Village for a period should have undoubtedly have qualified as a person of interest,” Epstein wrote, referring to the gay community’s downtown neighbourhood. 

The 1,100-page report marks the first time some of these details — of what police did and knew when — have come to light. The service has previously refused to “dissect the investigation” despite questions about how police handled the investigations into missing men who turned out to be McArthur’s victims. 

Retired judge Gloria Epstein released her final report on Toronto police service’s handling of missing-persons cases, including McArthur’s victims, on Tuesday. (Submitted by Shelley Colenbrander)

“I cannot say that McArthur would necessarily have been apprehended earlier if these investigative steps had been taken,” Epstein wrote. “But the Toronto police did lose important opportunities to identify him as the killer.”

McArthur went on to kill five more men after police first interviewed him as part of Project Houston.

In a news conference, acting Toronto police chief James Ramer told reporters Tuesday “the shortcomings [Esptein] identified are inexcusable” and that the service is going to implement her recommendations “as quickly as possible.”

The 16-minute interview

The Project Houston task force was launched in November 2012 to probe the disappearances of Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi and Majeed Kayhan — all of whom were connected to Toronto’s Gay Village.

Almost a year into that investigation, police discovered McArthur was connected to Navaratnam and Faizi through his online username “silverfoxx51.” A detective on the project scheduled an interview in November 2013. 

But Det.-Const. Joshua McKenzie did not prepare questions, look into McArthur’s background or do a Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database search on him before the interview, according to Epstein’s report. 

If he had, McKenzie would have found McArthur’s 2003 assault conviction, which Epstein argues could have then been used to obtain the synopsis of the serial killer’s unprovoked pipe attack on a gay man in the Village in 2001. 

Project Houston, a police task force, was created to probe the disappearances of Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi and Majeed Kayhan.

Instead, the interview with McArthur lasted only 16 minutes and McKenzie didn’t ask McArthur about his known connection to Faizi after McArthur denied knowing the missing man. McArthur also admitted to having had a sexual relationship with Kayhan — who police had yet to connect to McArthur — but McKenzie didn’t ask follow-up questions about the relationship.

‘Important fact went unnoticed’

After the interview, police had a connection between McArthur and all three missing men.

“However, this important fact went unnoticed,” wrote Epstein. “McKenzie’s summary of the interview failed to include it.” 

In the report, Epstein references and agrees with a summary of the implication of those connections from an unnamed police investigator provided to the review.

“[McArthur] would have been the one and only person who was linked to all three disappearances at that point from all the information we had,” the investigator said. 

WATCH | Report ‘hard to read,’ interim chief says:

Interim Police Chief James Ramer said there have been mistakes and missteps in the way Toronto police handled missing persons cases, especially when it came to the city’s LGBTQ community. 0:51

“He would be on the top of the list of finding out what more is he capable of and what he does. The prime suspect, if you will.” 

Instead, it looks like no supervisor reviewed McKenzie’s interview or instructed any follow-up action because of it, according to the report. Epstein said McKenzie was a relatively junior officer at the time and told the review that he did what he was told. 

Neither the video of the McArthur interview nor the summary McKenzie wrote were added to Toronto police’s records system, Versadex, or the major case management system, PowerCase. 

In her report, Epstein outlines how those omissions had ramifications on how police investigated McArthur when he was arrested, but not charged, for an assault in June 2016.

CBC News has previously reported on the attempted choking of a man, in the back of McArthur’s van, who was able to escape and called 911. 

Afterward, McArthur went to the police and said the incident was consensual. He was let go, as police believed his story was credible.

Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to killing these eight men. Top row, from left to right: Skandaraj Navaratnam, Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen and Abdulbasir Faizi. Bottom row, from left to right: Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi and Majeed Kayhan. (John Fraser/CBC)

The investigator, Sgt. Paul Gauthier, is facing police disciplinary charges in connection with the case. He told the independent review that had he known McArthur had been identified as someone in contact with three missing persons in Project Houston, Gauthier would have contacted officers from the task force before making his decision not to charge McArthur. 

“[Gauthier] saw this situation as a counterproductive siloing of relevant information. I agree with him,” Epstein wrote.

However, the report also notes that Gauthier’s 2016 investigation failed to turn up McArthur’s 2003 assault conviction. 

By that time, McArthur had received a record suspension from the Parole Board of Canada in connection with that conviction, but that didn’t mean police couldn’t find a record of the assault. 

‘Easily discoverable’

“We do know this information, which turned out to be relevant, was easily discoverable during Project Prism,” Epstein wrote in relation to the task force that looked into the disappearances of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen and eventually led to the arrest of McArthur.

Without the information on McArthur’s pipe assault, Epstein said that investigators in Project Houston and the 2016 choking investigation saw McArthur “as a 64-year-old man with no prior violent history.”

“What became obvious to me during this Review is that officers have varying (and sometimes inaccurate) understandings of what is available to them on their own databases.”

McArthur murdered five men — Soroush Mahmudi, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Dean Lisowick, Esen and Kinsman — after he was interviewed as part of Project Houston in 2013. 

Esen and Kinsman were killed after the 2016 attempted choking investigation. 

McArthur is currently serving a life sentence for the first-degree murder of all eight men. He will be 91 by the time he can apply for parole.

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Brett Forte’s killer was ‘paranoid’ and had history of threatening police

New details into the “paranoid” psyche of slain cop-killer Ricky Maddison have today been put under the spotlight.

Speaking at the second day of an inquest into events that led to Senior Constable Brett Forte’s shooting death, Maddison’s friend Adam Byatt gave a peek into his friend’s mind.

Byatt, a convicted drug trafficker himself, said Maddison hated police and was convinced a husband and wife in the Queensland Police Force had it in for him – those being Brett and Susan Forte.

Byatt said Maddison was paranoid the couple was following him, insisting that he should follow them instead.

Byatt would often shoot and drink at Maddison’s bushland hideout near Wallers Road outside Toowoomba, with locals often complaining about the sound of automatic gunfire coming from the property.

It was the same property Maddison lured and killed Senior Constable Forte at in May 2017 before holing himself up for 20 hours and being shot dead by police.

One of the reasons for the two-week inquest is to investigate if police could have done things differently in the lead up to Senior Constable Forte and Maddison’s deaths.

The inquest heard that weeks before the shootout, fellow officer Andre Thaler had been leading the search for Maddison, believing the wanted man was armed and dangerous enough that he carried his own rifle during the search.

Maddison had a history of threatening police, previously making threats to ambush and shoot another police officer about 10 years before Senior Constable Forte’s death.

The coronial inquest will not proceed tomorrow due to last-minute legal action launched by lawyers representing the police officers involved in the ordeal, following an attempt to remove Ms Forte from the courtroom temporarily.

State Coroner Terry Ryan denied the first attempt before police lawyers made a second application to the court requesting Ms Forte write a new statement for the inquest.

Witnesses who were due to give evidence this afternoon and tomorrow will now be called to testify on Thursday.

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