Ashley Dyball found not guilty of murdering Samuel Thompson in drug-related robbery

Former anti-Islamic State fighter Ashley Dyball has been found not guilty of murdering Samuel Thompson after a plan to rob the cannabis dealer of money.

Dyball, 28, was also found not guilty of manslaughter, but was found guilty of the charge of interfering with a corpse.

The jury took five hours to reach a verdict.

Ashley Dyball (left) fought alongside Reece Harding, who was killed in June. (Facebook)
Ashley Dyball (left) fought alongside Reece Harding, who was killed in June. (Facebook)

Mr Thompson was killed on March 7, 2018 at Bald Hills.

The jury heard during the trial Mr Thompson had been looking for a new cannabis supplier on the day he met another man, Roberto Vincenzo Boscaino, at his Bald Hills home.

The court was told of a plan between Boscaino and Dyball to rob Mr Thompson and to then kill him.

Mr Thompson was most likely killed after a blow to the face with a tomahawk or strangled before he was stuffed into a toolbox and buried in a shallow grave at the Beerburrum State Forest, the court heard.

Boscaino was found guilty of Mr Thompson’s murder last year after a separate trial and is serving a life sentence behind bars.

Dyball pleaded not guilty to the murder.

His lawyers argued there was no evidence directly linking him to the death.

Dyball fought with the Kurdish YPG militia against IS in Syria in 2015 before returning to Australia.

Dyball’s sentencing will be handed down tomorrow.

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SA man charged with murdering teenage son and his partner

A man from South Australia’s south east has been charged with the murder of his 19-year-old son and his son’s 19-year-old female partner.

Police said the young Adelaide couple had been visiting the 46-year-old’s rural property at Mount McIntyre, north-west of Mount Gambier.

According to police, it appeared the couple were shot before officers were called to the property just before midnight last night.

The father was arrested without incident.

Detective Inspector Campbell Hill said the killings were a tragedy.

“The impacts of this will not only be felt by the particular families involved and the associates and relatives, but also the south-eastern community,” he said.

Others were at the property at the time

Inspector Hill said police were in the process of identifying next of kin, family and friends and building a picture of why the couple, who lived in metropolitan Adelaide, were at the property yesterday.

He said other people were at the property at the time of the killings, but police were not seeking anyone other than the charged man in relation to the deaths.

“We’ve certainly spoken to other people that were present at the address and the investigation is working its way through that process,” he said.

He said further details would be released at a later date.

Beef farmer Ralph Aliberti, who lives on a neighbouring property, described the incident as shocking and strange.

“Nothing like that happens around here,” he said.

The father is expected to face court tomorrow.

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Geoffrey Adams acquitted of murdering his wife, Colleen Adams, in 1973

A man who killed his wife on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula in 1973 has been acquitted of murder by a Supreme Court jury.

Geoffrey Gordon Adams, 72, confessed to killing his wife Colleen Adams in September 2018 — ending the 45-year-old mystery of her disappearance.

It is the oldest cold case to be solved in South Australian history.

Adams pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied he murdered her, before facing a seven-day trial.

The jury took four hours to reach its verdict.

Outside court, Ms Adams’ sister Heather Johncock said the family found justice in the fact their loved one had been discovered after 45 years.

But she said it was “disappointing” that Adams was not convicted of murder.

“Well, I knew it could go either way — we just have to accept that. And at least he didn’t get off,” she said.

Colleen Adams’ disappearance is the oldest cold cases to be solved in South Australian history.(Supplied)

She said she had a feeling from the beginning that her brother-in-law may have been responsible for her sister’s sudden disappearance.

“She was a very loving mother, she loved her children and doted on them very much.”

Ms Johncock also urged families waiting for answers in other cold cases to never give up hope.

“Never give up and hopefully one day they’ll be resolved — but never, ever give up,” she said.

Confession led to cold case breakthrough

For 45 years, Adams told police and the media that his 24-year-old wife walked out on him and his two toddler daughters.

She remained missing until September 2018, when Adams confessed to fatally striking her with a metal object and burying her in the backyard of their matrimonial home at Maitland, on the state’s Yorke Peninsula.

Maitland yard
Police uncovered the remains of Colleen Adams on the same day her husband admitted killing her.(ABC News: Simon Christie)

Police unearthed her remains on the same day of Adams’ confession.

Adams said his wife was “continuously having a go at me over nothing”, in a recorded police interview played to the jury throughout his trial.

On Wednesday, Prosecutor Jim Pearce QC told the jury Adams spent almost half-a-century “peddling a story” to police and the media.

“It was a version that took 45 years to rear its head,” he said.

“He spent 45 years creating a false narrative of a mentally unstable woman who abandoned her children.”

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Man charged with murdering Canberra Comanchero leader faces court as police conduct search for further evidence

A man accused of killing a Canberra bikie boss in front of hundreds of people at a popular nightspot last month has faced court charged with his murder.

Frederick Tuifua, 26, is accused of stabbing Canberra Comanchero commander Pitsoni Ulavalu in the neck during a brawl at Kokomo’s bar in the early hours of July 19.

The 48-year-old stumbled outside before he collapsed and died on the road. The brawl was captured on CCTV and recorded on mobile phones.

Mr Tuifua appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court via video link this morning facing a murder charge.

He did not apply for bail or enter a plea.

Osaiasi Kupu, 23, and Matthew Kupu, 22, also faced the Magistrates Court over their alleged role in the brawl inside the bar.

Both men have been charged with affray and neither applied for bail.

The trio were arrested on Tuesday night after they escorted a fourth man, who had multiple gunshot wounds, to the emergency department.

All three men are due to face court again later this month.

Police search underway in Braddon and Turner

Pitasoni Ulavalu wearing sunglasses and a leather jacket.
Pitasoni Ulavalu was the Comanchero Canberra commander.(Supplied: Facebook)

As the trio faced court, police and State Emergency Services workers were conducting a large-scale search in Haig Park.

In a statement, ACT Policing said searches in the suburbs of Braddon and Turner would continue “over the next few days”, in a bid to find additional evidence in relation to Mr Ulavalu’s murder.

“The investigation into the murder of Pitasoni Ulavalu remains ongoing and … detectives anticipate making further arrests,” an ACT Policing spokeswoman said.

ACT police’s criminal investigations boss Detective Superintendent Scott Moller said yesterday that the three men facing court had links to the Comanchero outlaw motorcycle gang.

“We’ve been looking at a group of men for some time and the opportunity at the hospital presented itself and he was arrested,” he said.

Chief Police Officer Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan said police were “also investigating” the incident that had led to the fourth man sustaining gunshot wounds.

“We don’t know much about the actual shooting,” Deputy Commissioner Gaughan said on Wednesday.

“He was brought in by three male persons … wanted for the affray at Kokomo’s a couple of weeks ago.”

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Father, stepmother accused of murdering toddler Willow Dunn charged with additional child cruelty offences

The father and stepmother of a four-year-old girl, who was found dead inside her Brisbane home, are facing fresh child cruelty charges more than a month after being accused of her murder.

Emergency services discovered the body of Willow Dunn at her home in Cannon Hill in May.

Police have alleged the toddler, who had Down Syndrome, died about two days before she was found.

A post-mortem examination concluded Willow was experiencing “serious malnourishment” and other health issues “that indicated sustained mistreatment”.

Willow’s father, Mark James Dunn and her stepmother, Shannon Leigh White, were charged with the child’s alleged murder shortly after her death and have been remanded in custody since.

Mr Dunn and Ms White, both 43, were each charged with an additional count of child cruelty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.

Ms White was also charged with possessing dangerous drugs.

The pair are yet to enter a plea to the freshly laid charges.

Both cases are expected to return to court in October.

Willow’s death is one of two cases of alleged child neglect that are being independently investigated by the Queensland Family and Child Commission.

A report of the commission’s findings is expected to be handed to Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath later this year.

Ms D’Ath will then decide whether to release it to the public.

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Canberra man charged with murdering Warren Hordpenko after fight at Kingston Hotel

A 35-year-old man has been charged with murder, following the death of another man at a pub in Canberra on Sunday.

Warren Hordpenko, 44, died on Sunday night after a fight at the Kingston Hotel.

Police believe Mr Hordpenko, who was from Dalmeny on the NSW South Coast but worked in the ACT, did not know the man who attacked him.

CCTV footage shows a man in a stripy jumper and cap holding a beer outside.
Warren Hordpenko, from Dalmeny in NSW, died after an altercation at the Kingston Hotel.(Supplied: ACT Policing)

“There is no previous relationship that we’re aware of between the two men,” Detective Inspector Matt Reynolds said this morning.

But he said there had been a meeting between the two men earlier that evening at the Kingston Hotel.

“As a result of that incident, the 35-year-old male later returned to the Kingston Hotel where the incident took place,” Detective Reynolds said.

“There has been an autopsy and we have preliminary findings as to the cause of death, however those are still being investigated forensically.”

A uniformed male police officer sits in front of AFP signage.
Detective Inspector Matt Reynolds spoke to the media this morning.(ABC News: Matt Roberts)

Police officers were called to the hotel on Sunday about 9:15pm after reports of a disturbance.

Once there, they found ACT Ambulance Service paramedics already treating the injured man. He passed away at the scene a short time later.

Detective Reynolds said police had already taken statements from many patrons who were in the pub at the time, as well as hotel staff.

He also thanked the public for their help, after ACT Policing released a CCTV image of Mr Hordpenko on Thursday.

“The incident occurred in the pool room [of the Kingston Hotel]. There is no coverage of CCTV in that particular place, however the hotel has numerous other CCTV cameras,” he said.

“Police went through all of the CCTV of the Kingston Hotel and identified the offender.

“We are very appreciative of the public’s help in this matter.”

The 35-year-old man was arrested on Thursday and charged with murder. He is expected to face the ACT Magistrates Court later today.

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