Two men wrongfully sent to death row for rape and murder in 1983 awarded $75 million in damages




A jury in a North Carolina federal civil rights case has awarded US$75 million to two Black, intellectually disabled half-brothers who spent decades behind bars after being wrongfully convicted in the 1983 rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl.The eight-person jury on Friday decided Henry McCollum and Leon Brown should received $31 million each in compensatory damages, $1 million for every year spent in prison, The News & Observer reported. The jury also awarded them $13 million in punitive…

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Ex-cops charged in George Floyd murder accuse prosecutors of witness coercion, leaks – National


Attorneys for three former Minneapolis officers awaiting trial in George Floyd’s death will be in court Thursday to argue pretrial motions, including a request that prosecutors be sanctioned after media reports that Derek Chauvin had planned to plead guilty a year ago, and allegations that they haven’t disclosed information about the alleged coercion of a witness.

Attorneys for Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao have said they want the court to require prosecuting attorneys to submit affidavits under oath that they aren’t responsible for the leak to the media. In a filing late Wednesday, Thao’s attorney also alleged that the Hennepin County medical examiner was coerced to include “neck compression” in his findings — and that prosecutors knew of it.

The former officers waived their right to appear at Thursday’s hearing. Their trial is set for Aug. 23.

Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office is prosecuting the officers, has said allegations that his office was involved in a leak are false. His office had no immediate comment on the allegations of coercion. A spokeswoman for Dr. Andrew Baker, the medical examiner, said they could not comment due to the pending case.

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Read more:
‘Gives us hope’: George Floyd’s family grateful for former cops’ federal indictment

Chauvin, who was seen in widely viewed bystander video pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck as the Black man said he couldn’t breathe, was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. He’s to be sentenced June 25.

Lane, Kueng and Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Their trial was separated from Chauvin’s to comply with COVID-19 courtroom spacing restrictions.

Bob Paule, Thao’s attorney, said in a court filing Wednesday that Baker initially said there was no physical evidence that Floyd died of asphyxiation. But after talking twice to Dr. Roger Mitchell — a former medical examiner in Washington, D.C. — he amended his findings to include neck compression as a factor, according to Paule.

Paule said that in one of the conversations, Mitchell called Baker and told him he was going to submit an opinion piece critical of Baker’s findings to the Washington Post. When Baker released final autopsy findings June 1, they included neck compression, Paule wrote, and Mitchell never submitted his piece to the newspaper.


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Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin asks judge for new trial


Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin asks judge for new trial – May 4, 2021

Mitchell, now chairman of the Department of Pathology at the Howard University College of Medicine, did not immediately respond to a phone message left at the department after hours.

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Paule also took aim at Mitchell’s criticism of Dr. David Fowler, a key defense witness for Chauvin who testified that the former officer was not responsible for Floyd’s death. Mitchell sent a letter — signed by 431 doctors from around the country — to the Maryland attorney general, saying Fowler’s conclusions were so far outside the bounds of accepted forensic practice that all his previous work could be questioned.

Maryland officials then announced they would review all in-custody death reports during Fowler’s tenure. Paule said Mitchell’s accusations had a chilling effect on Thao’s ability to find medical experts unafraid to testify on his behalf.

He said prosecutors have yet to give the defense evidence about Mitchell’s actions. He’s asking that the case against Thao be dismissed.

Paule also said in a court filing in February that he wants an order sanctioning the state for “its role _ directly or indirectly _ in the leaking of highly prejudicial information related to potential plea agreements of co-defendants.”

Read more:
Ex-cop Derek Chauvin, convicted in murder of George Floyd, asks judge for new trial

The New York Times reported Feb. 10 that Chauvin was ready to plead guilty to a third-degree murder charge last year but then-Attorney General William Barr rejected the agreement. The Associated Press published a similar report the next day, citing two law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the talks. Paule alleged that the leaks came from the state, and asked that anyone who did so be barred from participating in the trial. Tom Plunkett, Kueng’s attorney, echoed his statements.

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Ellison earlier dismissed Paule’s motion as “completely false and an outlandish attempt to disparage the prosecution.”

Earl Gray, Lane’s attorney, has a motion asking Judge Peter Cahill to compel the state to disclose all use-of-force reports over the past 50 years in which a Minneapolis police officer used force and another officer intervened verbally or physically. Gray said it’s necessary to show the jury that no such intervention has been made in the past 50 years, which would call into question the state’s expert testimony about the duty of officers to intervene.

Prosecutors have said that request should be denied. They’ve noted that department policy requires officers to intervene when excessive force is used, and say Gray hasn’t shown how the testimony of experts could be called into question by a lack of interventions.

All four officers have also been indicted on federal charges alleging they violated Floyd’s civil rights.




© 2021 The Canadian Press



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Man who announced murder plans on Facebook sentenced to at least 20 years for killing ex-wife’s boyfriend


Warning: This story contains details that readers may find distressing.

Osmond Roy Greig, 43, was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Supreme Court today for the murder of Daryl Corcoran at Alexandra Hills in 2016.

Greig pleaded guilty to murder, burglary in the night and breaching a court order.

Crown prosecutor Dzenita Balic said it was a “premeditated murder” in which Greig went to the house armed with an axe and two knives.

Ms Balic said he used the axe to break into the house, went straight to the bedroom and started attacking Mr Corcoran with knives.

Mr Corcoran, 37, was stabbed 86 times in the face, throat, abdomen and back and died from blood loss.

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Maria Rawlings death: Man charged with murder of mother whose body was found in bushes in East London


20-year-old man has been charged with the murder of a mother-of-two who was attacked “after leaving a hospital”.

The body of 45-year-old Maria Rawlings was found in bushes in Little Heath, Romford on May 4.

Police believe she was attacked after leaving the King George Hospital in Goodmayes, Ilford the previous evening, walking to Barley Lane in the direction of the A12.

Valentin Lazar from Barking was charged on Monday evening and is due to appear in custody at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

A post-mortem examination found that Ms Rawlings had been strangled and had suffered head injuries.

Detective Chief Inspector David Hillier, who is leading the murder investigation, said: “My thoughts remain with Maria’s family at this incredibly difficult time.”

Anyone with information can contact the incident room on 020 8345 3865 or by calling 101 or tweeting @MetCC, and quoting the reference CAD3551/4May.

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Kelly Wilkinson was in contact with police daily before her alleged murder, sister says


The sister of Kelly Wilkinson, who was allegedly murdered by her estranged partner, says the mother of three was in contact with police and support services on a daily basis in the last few weeks of her life.

“I know she was in contact with somebody daily and making statements nearly every second day, just going to the station,” Danielle Carroll told 7.30.

Queensland police had previously revealed Ms Wilkinson had gone to local Gold Coast police stations at least twice before she was allegedly set on fire by her former partner Brian Earl Johnston on April 20.

Ms Carroll also revealed her sister was “absolutely scared” after police released Mr Johnston on bail just over a week before her death after he was charged with a number of serious offences.

“That’s when she was really getting into police contact daily and just asking, screaming for that help,” she said.

“If their hands were tied for him, why was there no safeguard for her? She was never offered a safe house, she was never offered some sort of security, she was basically left to fend on her own.”

The Queensland Police Service has launched an internal review into the matter.

Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd acknowledged the family’s claims that Ms Wilkinson’s pleas for help were effectively ignored.

“That’s not how it’s recorded with us, but I want to be open to the examination of revealing just exactly what did occur,” he told 7.30.

“The system has let her down and failed her because she came to us seeking assistance, and we did provide her with assistance.

“We immediately responded to her needs, and immediately implemented a police protection notice,” he said.

“She did reach out to us to express some concerns about potential breaches … that were related to contact being made with her by phone, [but] the determination by the investigating police was it didn’t meet the threshold warranting prosecution for a breach.”

Assistant Commissioner Codd admitted it was a difficult situation.

“I don’t want to add to any trauma by the family because they’re fully entitled to ask questions,” he said.

The Assistant Commissioner said one of the critical elements for his review will be the decision by police to release Mr Johnston on bail.

“It quite rightly needs to come under scrutiny,” he said.

“And of course now with hindsight … that certainly calls that into question.”

Ms Carroll and her husband Reece are now caring for Ms Wilkinson’s three children, in addition to their own five children.

“The best thing about it all is just seeing those kids interacting together and knowing that they’re safe and happy and that really is helping us through the whole thing as well,” Reece Carroll said.

The family have set up a GoFundMe page to help with the support of the children. 

Ms Carroll says she finds strength through her sister Kelly.

“Kelly has done her part, she’s told the whole world, she was a strong woman,” she said.

“I just look at those children and I think we’ve got to change things for those kids — future generations.”

Watch this story on 7.30 on ABC TV and iview.

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Men to face trial over alleged stabbing murder in a Plainland car park during $10,000 drug deal


It is alleged Beau Smith stabbed Paul “Red” Rock as many as 13 times in a scuffle that broke out during a $10,000 drug deal in Plainland, west of Brisbane, nearly two years ago.

Ipswich Magistrates Court heard Mr Rock was attempting to buy 3 ounces of methylamphetamine, or ice, from Mr Smith and Kye Enright when the fight began outside the Porters Plainland Hotel on July 1, 2019.

Mr Rock was stabbed from behind into his left shoulder and right thigh. One of the thrusts to his shoulder severed an artery.

The victim was stabbed with such force it broke a bone, the court heard.

He died from his wounds.

Angela Terrie was present at the time of the stabbing and told the court that when the fight broke out, she grabbed a knife from Mr Rock’s car and ran away to a nearby bottle shop.

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Bradley Welsh murder accused says he suffered “bad luck” and “sheer coincidence” to be implicated over shooting


The man accused of shooting T2 Trainspotting star Bradley Welsh said he’d suffered from “bad luck” and “sheer coincidence” at being implicated over the murder, a trial heard.

Sean Orman denied telling a “desperate tissue of lies” to try and avoid guilt over the slaying of the boxing gym boss outside his home in Edinburgh’s New Town.

Orman branded a witness who told police of his alleged plot to kill Welsh a month before the shooting a “liar”.

He called suggestions he carried out the murder after being paid by George Baigrie “ridiculous”.

And the 30-year-old admitted lying to his lawyers when he told them last year he’d been on a motorbike journey when Welsh was gunned down.

Orman is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh where he denies murdering Welsh on Chester Street on April 17 2019. He claims he was on a pedal cycle ride from the city to West Lothian at the time Welsh was shot.

Orman further denies the attempted murder of Welsh’s long-time pal David McMillan, 50, in the city’s Morningside on March 13 2019 using a machete or similar instrument.



Welsh played the character of Doyle in the Trainspotting sequel.

Advocate depute Richard Goddard QC asked about ‘Omar’, the man Orman said gave him a job moving stolen cars after his release from jail in February 2019 but who Orman said died two months ago.

The prosecutor said it was “bad luck he’s not around to give evidence”. Giving evidence on Wednesday, Orman replied: “It’s a shame, yeah.”

Mr Goddard brought up witness Dean White who spoke to police on March 20 2019, telling them Orman had a shotgun and bragged about his plan to kill Welsh. He asked how White would know about that.

Orman replied: “You’d need to ask him that.”

Mr Goddard said: “He knew because he heard it with his own ears.”

Orman replied: “Liar.” He added: “As far as I’m concerned he’s lied.”

Mr Goddard asked how White’s description of a shotgun which was “double-barreled, old, with engraving on it” matched a firearm recovered from a garden shed in Lanarkshire in June last year.

Orman replied: “Don’t know. Ask him. Maybe he had knowledge.”



Welsh was a former boxing champion.
Welsh was a former boxing champion.

Asked about White describing seeing a Ford Kuga outside his brother Robert White’s Duddingston home, which Orman admitted visiting, Mr Goddard said White “couldn’t see the future” and “didn’t have a crystal ball”.

Orman replied: “Maybe he’s got a crystal ball.”

Later Mr Goddard said the jury had heard about ballistic matches between shot and plastic wadding recovered from Welsh’s body, a hole made by a shotgun blast in Robert White’s living room floor, and .410 shotgun cartridges found by cops in a Lochend flat which Orman visited a number of times.

Mr Goddard asked: “What are the chances?”

Orman said: “I don’t know. I’m not a bookmaker.”

Later Mr Goddard said the court had heard evidence a call was made on April 21 2019 to a phone belonging to Orman’s mum Shona and a male voice said Orman was “OK”.

The prosecutor said there had been evidence the caller was George Baigrie and asked the accused why Baigrie was calling his mother.

Orman said: “Maybe someone had asked him to do it.” Orman said he’d asked a “couple of people” to pass on messages to his mum, adding: “If they’ve asked (Baigrie), they’ve asked him.”



Welsh died in 2019.
Welsh died in 2019.

Mr Goddard asked if it was just “chance” that making the call had landed on Baigrie’s “plate”. Orman replied: “Yeah.”

Asked why Baigrie had used a call box to contact Shona Orman, Orman said: “Ask him.”

Mr Goddard suggested it for Baigrie to avoid being traced. Orman replied: “But he did get traced.”

Witness Dean White had told police in March 2019 that Orman was “doing these jobs for George Baigrie”, added Mr Goddard. Orman answered: “Okay.”

Mr Goddard said White was able to tell police that Baigrie was a person involved and “low and behold” it’s Baigrie who calls Orman’s mum. He added: “How did (White) know you knew George Baigrie?”

Orman replied: “Ask him.”

The court heard how Orman used the stolen Ford Kuga in April 2019 and the vehicle had a tracking system which recorded its movements. Mr Goddard asked if it was ”total coincidence” and “bad luck” that the Kuga travelled along Chester Street and visited Welsh’s boxing gym before the shooting while someone else was driving.

Orman replied: “Yes. Very.” He then agreed it was “sheer coincidence”.

With the Kuga’s movements, Mr Goddard later asked “if all of this was coincidence then you are a very, very, very unlucky man”.

Orman replied: “It would seem that way, yeah.”



Welsh ran a boxing gym in Edinburgh.
Welsh ran a boxing gym in Edinburgh.

Mr Goddard asked who was driving the Kuga at those times. Orman said: “I don’t know. I don’t ask questions, that’s the reason.”

Mr Goddard asked if it was a “mystery person” driving the Kuga to Chester Street and Welsh’s gym. Orman replied: “Yep.”

The prosecutor asked: “A mystery person who knows where the Kuga was parked and has possession of the keys and in interest in Chester Street and Bradley Welsh’s gym?”

Orman said: “People knew where the car was.”

Mr Goddard suggested the “getaway car” wound up in Kirknewton and “in all of the places in the world you also ended up in the very same village on the very same night”. “Bad luck?” he asked.

Orman replied: “Yeah. Unfortunately yeah.” He added: “I would say this whole episode is bad luck from start to finish.”



Welsh was shot dead outside his home in Edinburgh.
Welsh was shot dead outside his home in Edinburgh.

Later Mr Goddard put it to the accused he’d been “almost unbelievable unlucky”.

Orman answered: “Almost. But it’s not.”

Orman was asked about a forensic scientist giving evidence that firearms residue was found in the pocket of his joggers. He said it “definitely never came off me”, adding: “I don’t know. Ask the police. Scientists. Whoever put it there.”

Mr Goddard asked if he was suggesting the evidence was “planted”. Orman replied: “I don’t know.”

Mr Goddard suggested Orman had suffered “unbelievable bad luck”.

Orman answered: “Not unbelievable. It’s believable because I never did any of these things. It’s not unbelievable. It’s bad luck.”

The jury was shown a written statement of Orman’s alibi for trial submitted to the court last June. In that document Orman claimed he was on a motorbike alone between Longstone and East Calder on the A71 road at the time Welsh was shot.

Shortly before the trial, Orman’s legal team submitted a new defence that he was cycling from Edinburgh to Kirknewton.

Mr Goddard asked where the first “story” came from.

Orman said: “I made it up to my lawyers.” He added he didn’t want prosecutors to know about his cycling defence before the trial and was “keeping it close to his chest”.



Orman is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Orman is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Later the accused was asked if he knew the Kuga had a tracking device inside it. Orman replied: “I wouldn’t pay attention to that.”

Mr Goddard said: “You didn’t know did you?” Orman answered: “I didn’t pay any attention to it.”

Mr Goddard asked about Orman leading police on a high speed “chase” in the early hours of April 22 2019.

Orman accepted he drove at speeds up to 123mph, including over 100mph on the wrong side of the road on Edinburgh streets with 30mph limits, and the incident could have resulted in himself or pedestrians being killed.

Mr Goddard said Orman was “going to any lengths to escape” police.

Orman replied: “I was, yeah.”. He added: “I felt like I was in control at the time.”

Asked about the fatal shooting in the New Town, Orman said: “I can assure you I never shot Brad Welsh.”

Mr Goddard asked if George Baigrie had paid him. Orman said: “No, that’s ridiculous.”

Mr Goddard said: “You shot and murdered Bradley Welsh.” Orman said: “I can assure you I never.”

Mr Goddard accused him of telling a “desperate tissue of lies” in a bid to escape responsibility for the crime. Orman replied: “That’s not true.”

The trial continues.



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Derek Chauvin asks judge for new trial after being convicted of George Floyd’s murder



Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin asked a Minneapolis judge on Tuesday local time for a new trial, court records showed, two weeks after he was found guilty of second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd.

In a series of motions filed to District Court Judge Peter Cahill, Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, said his client was deprived of a fair trial, adding there was prosecutorial and jury misconduct, errors of law at trial and that the verdict was contrary to law.

On 20 April, a 12-member jury found Chauvin, 45, guilty on all three counts he faced after considering three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, including bystanders, police officials and medical experts.

The rare verdict against a police officer is considered a milestone in the fraught racial history of the United States and a rebuke of law enforcement’s treatment of black Americans.

In a confrontation captured on video, Chauvin, a white veteran of the police force, pushed his knee into the neck of Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old black man in handcuffs, for more than 9 minutes on 25 May, 2020.

Chauvin and three fellow officers were attempting to arrest Mr Floyd, accused of using a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a grocery store.

More to come.

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Soldiers walk free as landmark Troubles murder trial collapses



Starmer begins damage limitation amid Tory poll lead

Sir Keir Starmer has begun his damage limitation before the ballot boxes even open, after a new poll put the Conservatives 17 points ahead in the critical Hartlepool by-election. Tory candidate Jill Mortimer is in the lead with 50pc, while Labour’s hopeful Paul Williams has slipped nine points to 33pc, according to Survation. The same poll showed a 4pc bump in personal favourability for Boris Johnson in Hartlepool, with Sir Keir sliding the same amount. Ahead of local elections on Thursday, read how Labour MPs have warned Sir Keir’s leadership is “not cutting through” and called for a “major change in direction”. Michael Deacon sketches how the Labour leader is acting as if his party has already lost.

Meanwhile, a leading expert on the SNP has said that the nationalists had been “blessed” with weak opposition parties and the fact independence was a dominant campaign issue. The comments from James Mitchell, professor of public policy at Edinburgh University, came as the latest opinion poll registered a dip in support for Scottish independence. Former chancellor Alistair Darling has been drafted in to write to Tory voters urging them to cast their second, regional, vote for Labour but Alan Cochrane outlines why the plea has come too late.

Meghan to publish first children’s book ‘The Bench’

The Duchess of Sussex has written a children’s book about the “special bond” between father and son which evolved from a poem she wrote for Prince Harry on Father’s Day. The story, called The Bench, is Meghan’s first foray into children’s literature. It was inspired by the relationship between her husband, the Duke of Sussex, and their son, Archie, who turns two on Thursday. See images from the 40-page book, aimed at children aged three to seven, illustrated by San Francisco-based artist Christian Robinson and due to be published on June 8.

At a glance: Coronavirus evening briefing

Holiday hopes | Portugal and some Greek and Spanish islands have been declared safe for travel by the Foreign Office, raising hopes they could be on the travel green list. The Foreign Office has quietly dropped its advice against non-essential foreign travel to several destinations and declared the Canary Islands and Israel, one of the most highly vaccinated nations in the world, are safe. Read on for details and follow our liveblog.

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Around the world: Metro overpass collapses in Mexico

An elevated metro line collapsed in the Mexican capital on Monday, leaving at least 23 people dead and dozens injured as a train came plunging down, authorities said. Carriages were seen hanging from the overpass in a tangle of twisted cables with the ends pointing towards the ground in a V-shape. Watch shocking footage of the scene.

Tuesday interview

Tim Henman: My fears for how lockdown will damage kids

 

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Police look interstate to domestic violence handling in wake of Kelly Wilkinson’s alleged murder


Queensland Police have revealed Kelly Wilkinson contacted authorities over domestic violence concerns on at least two occasions and also spoke to an outreach group in the weeks before her alleged murder.

Despite this, police said they did not have “any skerrick of an idea” this would occur.

It comes as police look interstate at alternatives to police stations in a bid to encourage women and children to report domestic violence following the Arundel woman’s death last week.

The charred remains of the 27-year-old’s body were discovered in the backyard of her Gold Coast home after neighbours allegedly saw a woman on fire.

Ms Wilkinson’s ex-partner, Brian Earl Johnston, 34, has been charged with her murder and breaching a court order.

Last week, it was revealed Ms Wilkinson had contacted police several times in the weeks before she died.

Speaking on ABC Radio Gold Coast, Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd said Ms Wilkinson reached out to police at the end of March, three weeks before she died.

“On at least two occasions and there may be more … Kelly made contact with police both at Runaway Bay and Southport, and then an outreach group,” Commissioner Codd said.

Commissioner Codd defended police actions, saying the Queensland Police Service responded immediately and determined the accused had complied with “the conditions” in those instances.

“All of that has happened within three weeks.”

Commissioner Codd said police must act within the extent of the law.

“The rule of law has a presumption of innocence,” he said.

“It requires the establishment of evidence to certain thresholds in order to take certain action. And that’s a really difficult space to be in.”

Commissioner Codd said part of the issue around domestic violence was a worrying “don’t dob” culture among Australians.

“Domestic and family violence still in 2021 seems to be a taboo subject,” he said.

Now Queensland police are considering a “multi-agent centre” model for the state, where women and victims of family and domestic violence can go to report offences.

“Sometimes police stations are not necessarily the most welcoming environment in those circumstances [where people want to report a domestic violence incident],” Commissioner Codd said.

“It can be confronting where there may well be offenders and other activity going on.

“We are very open … to looking at establishments or centres where victims can come and be supported in a far more welcoming environment, where we’re not adding to the trauma these victims feel.”

Assistant Commissioner Codd will travel to Victoria next month to determine how a multi-agent centre might work for Queensland.

He said the challenge will be rolling out the model in a much larger state.

Queensland police said there were currently 79,000 domestic violence orders in place across Queensland.

It comes as the member for the Gold Coast electorate of Bonney, Sam O’Connor, has organised a sunset community vigil in honour of Ms Wilkinson this evening, with more than 1,000 people expected to attend.

He said the community was still reeling from the alleged murder.

“It really has sent shockwaves through our area,” Mr O’Conner said.

“We cannot believe that this would happen in our part of the Gold Coast and people are just wanting to support any way they can.”

The vigil will be held at the Parkwood International Golf Course at 4:45pm.

“We are hoping it’s a good showing of support,” Mr O’Conner said.

A statement from the school chaplain where Ms Wilkinson’s children went to school will be read at the twilight gathering, along with “a very heartfelt statement” on behalf of Ms Wilkinson’s family.

Mr O’Connor said the online fundraiser, which has raised over $210,000, has “given options” to her family.

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