Inquest into cold case rape and murder of Bronwynne Richardson hears three prime suspects all dead

A coronial inquest into the 1973 rape and murder of teenage beauty queen Bronwynne Richardson has heard there is little chance of anyone being prosecuted over her death because the three key suspects are dead.

A three-day hearing that ended in Albury, New South Wales on Friday, was the third inquest into the 17-year-old Corowa teenager’s death.

Counsel assisting Sally Dowling said Bronwynne was “violently abducted, brutally physically and sexually assaulted” after she was snatched from an Albury street in October 1973.

Despite lengthy investigations by NSW and South Australian police, no-one has been brought to trial over her death.

“The reality is that her family has been living with the heartbreak and uncertainty about how she died and who is responsible,” Ms Dowling said.

“There is a strong possibility that there will be insufficient evidence for Your Honour to reach a finding.

The third inquest was called following additional information that police said changed their focus since the 2011 inquest.

The first inquest was held in 1975.

Bronwynne’s second cousin, Colin Newey remains the “principal suspect”, according to investigators.

Mr Newey, who died in 2019, was arrested over the rape and murder in 2014, but the charges were dropped weeks before he was to face court.

At the time the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions said there was “no reasonable prospect of conviction” on the evidence available.

During the first day of the inquest Ms Dowling told the court Mr Newey was “a career criminal with a history of sexual and physical violence toward women”.

The court heard the alibi Mr Newey “consistently returned to” over the years had been “conclusively disproved.”

He had told investigators he had been at an army camp the weekend Bronwynne was abducted.

“He gave different version of the weekend on which she died and admitted to being in Smollett Street between 6:00pm and 7:00pm and seeing her,” Ms Dowling said.

Convicted sex offender Max Martin, who had been released from prison on the morning of Bronwynne’s death, was also suspected to have been involved.

He died in 1995.

A third man, Kevin Newman, who investigators say may have been involved in the crime to a lesser extent, is also dead.

The inquest heard two anonymous phone calls made to South Australian Police in 1989 had led the focus of the investigation toward four men, Max Martin, Ross Eames, Geoff Brown, and Kevin Newman.

Investigators said they now believed Mr Newey made the calls.

“Since 2011, it has become apparent the two anonymous phone calls were designed to and succeeded in turning police attention toward those men,” Ms Dowling said.

Police initially thought the calls were made by Mr Eames, who was 14 years old at the time, but that was ruled out.

“The caller named Geoff Brown and Max Martin as being responsible and also stated he (the caller) and Kevin Newman were in the car when Bronwynne was abducted and were present at her death,” Ms Dowling said.

Investigators have since ruled out any involvement from Ross Eames and Geoffrey Brown, who was Bronwynne’s former boyfriend.

A witness who cannot be named told the inquest he was drinking in a bar in the Albury region in the 1980s when he overhead two men discussing Bronwynne’s death.

“I heard Bronwynne’s name mentioned,” he said.

“Because that name is pretty synonymous to the area my ears picked up.

“I only knew about it through the media — I didn’t know her.

“Then I heard him say that he was involved.

He said the man said he and two others had been driving down Smollett Street when they saw Bronwynne standing in the street.

“He said the guy in the back said, ‘Quick, go around the back and if she is there when we come back, we’ll grab her and have some fun,'” the witness said.

He said the man then recounted the events which led up to Bronwynne’s murder.

“He never once wavered in his story — he never backtracked,” the witness said.

Some time after the incident he was shown a picture of Kevin Newman and identified him as the man in the pub.

The witness said he was left “petrified” and tried to leave the pub without the men realising he had overheard their conversation.

On the final day of the inquest the brother of Colin Newey broke down in tears as he gave evidence.

Peter Newey repeatedly apologised and was asked by Ms Dowling why he was upset.

“I am sorry, Colin, with what’s happened … I’m just — I just don’t believe, no, I am sorry,” he said.

Ms Dowling told Mr Newey the investigation was “coming to the end of the line”.

“Three men have died, the opportunities for people to tell what they know are running out and this may be the last opportunity you have to say what you know,” she said.

“Now that Colin is gone, is there anything you can now tell the coroner that you might know?”

Mr Newey apologised again.

“I don’t believe what I’ve heard through the cases and the inquest that Colin could’ve done this,” he said.

Mr Newey agreed that his brother could be physically and sexually violent and said he had suspected at some point that his brother may have had some involvement in their cousin’s murder, but “didn’t press him on it”.

An application to adjourn the inquest for closing submissions to be made in writing was made by Ms Dowling on Friday.

“In our submissions there may be two benefits of the inquest — to clear the names of previous people named in the investigation, and the very real benefit of delivering some degree of closure for the Richardson family,” she said.

The findings are expected to be handed down in Albury at a date to be fixed.

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Lady Gaga’s stolen dogs found tied to pole, dad wants thieves charged with attempted murder, assault

Lady Gaga’s beloved stolen French bulldogs were reportedly found by a good Samaritan in an alley tied to a pole, a long way from where they were yanked from their walker.

TMZ reports the woman who turned in the dogs, Gustav and Koji, to a Los Angeles Police station on Friday night recognised them from media reports.

The woman reportedly found the dogs miles from the Los Angeles neighbourhood where they were violently yanked from their walker Ryan Fischer , 39, who was shot in the process.

Gaga, who is in Rome and offered a $500,000 reward for the return of the dogs, is reportedly ecstatic they were found safely and said she would “gladly” pay the woman who rescued them, TMZ reported.

Now her dad is calling on investigators to throw the book at the thieves.

Joe Germanotta said he wanted the two dognappers charged with assault and attempted murder.

“Letting Koji and Gustav go unharmed was nice but they must be punished for what they did to Ryan,” Germanotta told Fox News.

“Special thanks to the doctors and nurses in the emergency room.”

Fischer managed to wrestle the third dog, Miss Asia, from the attackers and she was safely returned.

“I am relieved that Ryan is going to be OK and Koji and Gusatv were found. Thanks to the LAPD,” Germanotta added.

The Los Angeles Police Department has released a description of the two men. Both of the suspects are described as black males, between the ages of 20 and 25, who were seen in a white Nissan Altima with four doors, cops said in a Thursday night news release.

The suspect who shot the dog walker was armed with a semiautomatic handgun, has blond dreadlocks and was wearing a black hoodie, police said.

The second suspect was wearing dark clothing, cops said.

Mr Fischer, described by Germanotta as a “friend” who “risked his life protecting” the dogs, was walking the celebrity pets on North Sierra Bonita Avenue near Sunset Boulevard Wednesday night about 9.40pm when he was ambushed by the suspects.

They demanded he turn over the dogs and when Mr Fischer put up a fight, he was shot in the chest, cops said.

Mr Fischer was in stable condition late Thursday and has been moved out of the ICU, according to police and Mr Germanotta.

with the New York Post

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Man charged with attempted murder following hotel attack

A man has been charged with attempted murder after he allegedly bashed a young woman with a sledgehammer in a five-star Sydney hotel.

Matthew Donaldson was found hiding in bushland in the Blue Mountains yesterday after allegedly bludgeoning a 25-year-old woman at the Primus Hotel in Sydney on Tuesday night.

Police allege the woman was left unconscious and covered in blood. She remains in an “extremely serious but stable condition” in the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Matthew Donaldson has been arrested over an alleged hammer attack in the Sydney CBD. (9News)
Acting Superintendent Paul Dunstan provides an update on the arrest of Matthew Donaldson, 41, accused of bashing a woman with a sledgehammer inside the Primus Hotel. (9News)

“It’s going to be a very, very long road to recovery for that lady,” Acting Superintendent Paul Dunstan said.

The 41-year-old was charged with five offences this afternoon, including attempted murder, grievous bodily harm and possessing a loaded firearm.

Police allege the man was in possession of the gun during the attack.

Officers said he led police to the weapon today.

The pistol police allegedly found in Matthew Donaldson’s backpack. (NSW Police Force)

“This morning he accompanied us on a search and in the company of police led us to a backpack containing a loaded firearm, pistol, which police allege he had during the offence at Pitt Street,” Mr Dunstan said.

Mr Donaldson was found 500 metres from Lapstone train station in lower Blue Mountains after police and sniffer dogs battled “horrible” conditions to locate him.

Police also raided a Kingswood property yesterday and allegedly seized knives, ammunition and other weapons.

Mr Donaldson was refused bail and will appear in court tomorrow.

Police searching for man responsible for Sydney hotel assault. Last need at Lapstone station in the Blue Mountains. (9News)

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Man charged with murder of his brother after alleged shooting in Victoria

A 39-year-old man has been charged with the murder of his brother after an alleged shooting in Victoria overnight.

Specialist police were called to Boundary Road, where David Arslanian, 31, was unable to be revived by emergency services after suffering a single gunshot wound.

9News understands Mr Arslanian was an award-winning Belmont butcher, remembered as a hard working, loveable larrikin, with those who knew him saying nothing was more important to him than his family.

Police said they arrested the accused shooter, Mr Arslanian’s brother Haig, in the Geelong suburb of Leopold at 6am after a manhunt. He has now been charged.

His brother was unemployed and had struggled with mental health in recent years.

Mr Arslanian’s friend told 9News he was “a kind-hearted man” who had been begging for support to fight his inner demons.

Police said they arrested the accused shooter, Mr Arslanian’s brother Haig, in the Geelong suburb of Leopold at 6am after a manhunt. He has now been charged.

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Jamal Khashoggi: US report expected to blame Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for journalist’s murder | World News

The US government is expected to release a declassified intelligence report that finds the Saudi crown prince responsible for approving the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Three officials familiar with the matter told NBC News that in the report – contributed to mostly by the CIA – an assessment is thought to find Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman likely ordered the killing of the Washington Post columnist.

Mr Khashoggi disappeared in 2018 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he is later believed to have been dismembered.

His remains have never been found.

Mohammed bin Salman previously enjoyed a cosy relationship with Donald Trump

The release of the report, expected later on Thursday, is expected to mark a significant shift in US-Saudi relations, which under Donald Trump’s administration saw the major oil producer given a relaxed ride on human rights issues, its role in the Yemen war, and more.

Mr Trump also rejected calls from politicians and human rights groups to release the then-classified report in 2018 when it was first briefed to Congress.

More from Jamal Khashoggi

He is said to have been keen to keep his Arab ally close amid increasing tensions with Iran – the Saudi’s rival in the region – as well as wanting to promote US arms sales.

Under Joe Biden, however, the new US administration is looking to shift ties to a more traditional approach, starting with the president’s first phone conversation with Saudi King Salman.

On Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Mr Biden would only have communications with the 85-year-old king – another shift away from Mr Trump’s cosy relationship with the crown prince, who is the kingdom’s de facto ruler.

Ms Psaki also confirmed the declassified report on Mr Khashoggi’s killing was being readied for release.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a foreign policy address as Vice President Kamala Harris listens during a visit to the State Department in Washington, U.S., February 4, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner
Joe Biden has pledged to realign US ties with Saudi Arabia

Riyadh has already admitted Mr Khashoggi was killed in a “rogue” extradition operation that went wrong, but has denied involvement from the crown prince, whose policies were often criticised in the writer’s columns.

Five men were eventually sentenced to death for the murder, but their sentences were commuted to 20 years in prison after being forgiven by Mr Khashoggi’s family.

During his 2020 presidential campaign, Mr Biden promised to realign Saudi ties with the US and has already ended offensive arms sales that could be utilised in Yemen.

He has also appointed a special envoy to help diplomatic efforts to bring an end to the Yemeni civil war.

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Gunsmith gives evidence at Domenic Perre NCA bombing murder trial

National Crime Authority bombing accused Domenic Perre went into business with a self-taught gunsmith to convert semi-automatic firearms to be fully automatic in the year before the 1994 explosion, a court has heard.

Allan “Gadget” Chamberlain is giving evidence in the Supreme Court against Mr Perre, 63, and is expected to be on the witness stand for the next two weeks.

Mr Perre has pleaded not guilty to murdering Detective Sergeant Geoffrey Bowen and attempting to murder lawyer Peter Wallis in March 1994.

It is alleged that Mr Perre sent a parcel bomb to Sergeant Bowen at the Waymouth Street headquarters of the National Crime Authority (NCA), which killed the officer and injured the lawyer once it was opened.

Prosecutors allege that Mr Perre’s hatred for the NCA and Sergeant Bowen started when Northern Territory police seized a $20 million cannabis crop at Hidden Valley Station in August 1993 and started investigating organised crime within the Italian community.

It is part of the prosecution case that Mr Perre handed his cache of weapons, bomb-making books and detonators to Mr Chamberlain for “safekeeping” ahead of the blast.

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The aftermath of the NCA bombing.

Mr Chamberlain today told Justice Kevin Nicholson that he first met the accused while working at Central Firearms, in Prospect, when he asked to buy body armour in January 1993.

The 66-year-old said Mr Perre was part of a group of regular customers called “The Backdoor Boys” and he would restore firearms for him.

He said by late 1993, Mr Perre had told him about the police raid at Hidden Valley Station.

“He brought the subject up and he was essentially telling me that he was under pressure — I believe, financial and mental stress,” he said.

Domenic Perre in handcuffs in custody.
Domenic Perre (left) is accused of sending a parcel bomb to the victim.(ABC News)

Prosecutor Sandi McDonald SC asked Mr Chamberlain if he and the accused discussed “going into business together”.

Mr Chamberlain told the court that he gained the skills and knowledge to convert semi-automatic firearms to be fully automatic by using a small plate as a “drop in”.

“I agreed to that. He would arrange to have these items laser cut. For doing that, we would effectively go 50/50 on the profit of the conversion.

“At that stage, I was charging $100 for a conversion on a SKK — it was a very easy conversion.”

Witness imported body armour from US

He told the court that he was nicknamed “Gadget” by the owner of Central Firearms because he was “always tinkering with something” and his firearm conversions were considered “magic”.

A shop with a green and yellow colourway called Central Firearms
Central Firearms in Prospect is where Domenic Perre and Allan Chamberlain met in 1993.(Supplied.)

On Wednesday, Mr Chamberlain told the court that he was a volunteer in the Country Fire Service during the 1980s and became an agent for US companies so he could import fire-fighting and rescue equipment into Australia.

He said over the years, he branched out and was in contact with corrections and police about importing other items, including body armour.

“In all, over the years, I think I was an agent for 167 American companies,” he said.

Geoffrey Bowen was killed by the bomb
Geoffrey Bowen was killed by the bomb at the NCA office in March 1994.

He told the court that in 1990, he reached out to a company called Second Chance — that was based in Michigan — about whether he could have the rights to import body armour to Australia.

“To me, it was exclusive and at that stage, they were higher-priced items than what I was used to,” he said.

He said he was given approval to do a demonstration at the now defunct Hindmarsh police station in front of officers in December 1990.

“I used an officer’s pistol to highlight the fact that, in their job, probably their greatest threat was their weapon being taken and used against them.

“It was pre-arranged that I would demonstrate the vest, but I had not informed them that I was going to shoot myself.”

Mr Chamberlain told the court that the demonstration was “dramatic and successful” because he sold 22 vests worth $28,000.

The trial continues.

Debris from the 1994 National Crime Authority blast on Waymouth Street.
Debris from the blast on Waymouth Street.(Supplied: SA Supreme Court)

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Men accused of ‘barbaric’ toolbox killings plead not guilty to murder of Iuliana Triscaru and Cory Breton

The bodies of Iuliana Triscaru, 31, and Cory Breton, 28, were discovered in Scrubby Creek in Logan by police in February 2016.

The pair was last seen alive 18 days prior.

On the first day of their Supreme Court trial in Brisbane, Stou Daniels, Davy Taiao, Waylon Walker and Trent Thrupp pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder.

Mr Thrupp pleaded guilty to the lesser charges of manslaughter but his plea was not accepted by the crown.

Mr Daniels, Mr Taiao and Mr Thrupp also pleaded not guilty to two counts of torture.

Prosecutor David Meredith said the crown would allege Mr Breton and Ms Triscaru were lured to a unit at Kingston over a drug dispute, where they were physically assaulted and bound with zip ties and tape.

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Youtube streaming of NT police officer Zachary Rolfe’s murder trial raised as concern in court

The murder trial of Constable Zachary Rolfe could be streamed on YouTube to Alice Springs and the remote community of Yuendumu, where 19-year-old Kumanjayi Walker died in November 2019.

At a pre-trial hearing in the Northern Territory Supreme Court today, Chief Justice Michael Grant said the court’s administration was hoping to allow the broadcast of proceedings.

He said it would be streamed to the courthouse in Alice Springs and at the school in the community of Yuendumu, about 300 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains an image of a person who has died.

“There would be a facilitator [in Darwin] who would close down the broadcast whenever court is closed, whenever arguments are being made in the absence of the jury and otherwise, whenever the trial judge ordered,” he said.

Crown Prosecutor Sophie Callan said the prosecution would not oppose the streaming of the trial to Yuendumu, but questioned whether other members of the public could access it.

Kumanjayi Walker was killed in November 2019.(Supplied: Facebook)

Constable Rolfe’s defence lawyer, David Edwardson QC, said he had concerns about whether this would mean witnesses could potentially access the proceedings.

“We’d be most concerned if the public — the wider public — could access it outside of the hall,” he said.

Justice Grant acknowledged the concerns but reminded lawyers that any member of the public would be entitled to come to court and watch the proceedings.

“I imagine it will be possible to have a police officer located in the school hall at Yuendumu, able to give effect to any order the trial judge makes for witnesses to remove themselves from the premises,” Justice Grant said.

He said he would raise the matter with court staff.

The matter will return to court at the end of March.

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Woman charged with murder after man found stabbed to death in Cairns apartment

A woman has been charged with murder after a man was found stabbed to death in far-north Queensland last night.

Police were called to a unit complex on Marchant Street in Manoora in Cairns after reports a man had been injured with a knife.

A 25-year-old man from Cairns was found dead at the scene about 11.50pm.

A woman has been charged with murder after a man was found dead in a unit in Cairns.
A woman has been charged with murder after a man was found dead in a unit in Cairns. (9News)

He had a serious neck injury.

A woman, 21, from Mareeba was arrested at the scene.

She has since been charged with one count of murder and is due to appear in Cairns Magistrates Court on Monday.

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