We take a look into some of the murders and manslaughters that have rocked Ipswich over the past 50 years.
We take a look into some of the murders and manslaughters that have rocked Ipswich over the past 50 years.

Killings that shocked us, and put police to the test

Here in Ipswich we can count ourselves fortunate to live in one of the more peaceful parts of the country, where the most serious crimes are generally few and far between.

But go back through history and you will realise that this region has unfortunately been the setting for some the most disturbing acts of violence perpetrated on human beings.

The cases you are about to read about are just a sample of some of the murders, manslaughters and as yet unprosecuted crimes that have shocked Ipswich over the past 50 years or so.

Some of these crimes have left detectives and citizens alike asking questions decades after the fact.

Some of them, it appears, contain elements that may never be fully understood.

 

1. THE tumultuous tale of Dulcie Birt

 

One of many Queensland Times front pages during investigations into the disappearance of Dulcie Birt.
One of many Queensland Times front pages during investigations into the disappearance of Dulcie Birt.

 

It is quite possible that we will never know where Dulcie Birt's body ended up, even though her former partner, Alwyn John Gwilliams, admitted to her manslaughter in 2013, some four years after she went missing from her Riverview home on October 21, 2009.

 

Dulcie Birt
Dulcie Birt

 

Gwilliams was jailed for 10 years for the crime and declared a serious violent offender, but over the course of his various interviews with police, and the 2014 coronial inquest into the death, he never provided the information required to put the mystery to rest.

What made Dulcie Birt's case extraordinary was the lengths police went to in an effort to locate her body. This included partially draining the old lakes formed in mining voids in the Riverview bushland area, where detectives suspected Gwilliams had dumped her.

 

Navy officers assist investigators by attending Green Lakes with specialised equipment in an effort to locate missing woman Dulcie Birt's body or find forensic evidence that may assist the investigation into her murder.
Navy officers assist investigators by attending Green Lakes with specialised equipment in an effort to locate missing woman Dulcie Birt's body or find forensic evidence that may assist the investigation into her murder.

 

Unfortunately, those efforts proved fruitless.

So after all this time, what do we know of Dulcie's fate?

According to Coroner John Lock, in his findings at the inquest, Dulcie died as a direct result of the actions of Gwilliams in the form of an "undetermined assault", and that he may have initially dumped her body in the Riverview bushland, before moving it at some later point.

 

2. The horror behind Deidre Kennedy's death, and the story of the stolen ashes

 

Deidre Kennedy who was kidnapped and murdered in sickening circumstances in Ipswich in 1973 at the age of just 17 months.
Deidre Kennedy who was kidnapped and murdered in sickening circumstances in Ipswich in 1973 at the age of just 17 months.

 

Deidre was kidnapped from her cot in her parents' Ipswich home in April 1973.

She was only 17 months old at the time.

Her body was later found on the roof of a toilet block in Limestone Park, Ipswich, after she'd been horrifically beaten and sexually assaulted in one of the most obscene crimes ever seen in Queensland.

Raymond John Carroll was twice convicted of the murder but both the convictions were later overturned by the Court of Appeal.

Debate over the case resulted in discussion of double jeopardy law reform that might have allowed Carroll to be tried again for the alleged abduction, rape, and strangling death of Deidre.

 

Laidley resident Faye Kennedy's house was broken into and the ashes of her daughter Deidre were among the items stolen. Photo: Sarah Harvey
Laidley resident Faye Kennedy's house was broken into and the ashes of her daughter Deidre were among the items stolen. Photo: Sarah Harvey

 

Mystery still surrounds exactly what happened to Deidre that day, and her mother Faye's suffering was exacerbated in October, 2010, when thieves broke into her Laidley home and stole Deidre's ashes.

 

3. Leanne Holland's death, a conviction overturned, and a truth left untold

 

Graham Stafford and Leanne Holland
Graham Stafford and Leanne Holland

 

Leanne was only 12 when her battered and tortured body was found in bushland beside Redbank Plains Rd in September 1991, four days after she went missing.

She had extensive head injuries and her skirt was pulled above her waist.

 

Murder police gather at the Redbank Plains Road site where Leanne Holland's body was found in 1991 Photo Sunshine Coast Daily Archives
Murder police gather at the Redbank Plains Road site where Leanne Holland's body was found in 1991 Photo Sunshine Coast Daily Archives

 

Police charged Graham Stafford, the boyfriend of Leanne's older sister, with murder and he was convicted the following year.

It is a murder story that still captivates locals, especially given the fact that Stafford had his conviction overturned after serving 14 years in jail.

Mr Stafford has always strenuously denied killing Leanne.

His murder conviction was quashed in 2009 and a retrial was ordered, but the Director of Public Prosecutions ruled in March 2010 that it would not proceed.

 

Police continue their investigation into the murder of Goodna schoolgirl Leanne Holland at a house on Alice Street, Goodna. Photo: David Nielsen
Police continue their investigation into the murder of Goodna schoolgirl Leanne Holland at a house on Alice Street, Goodna. Photo: David Nielsen

 

In May 2010, the investigation was reopened and a cold case review was put in place, starting with a forensic examination of the house Leanne lived in.

She lived in Alice St, Goodna, with her father Terry, sister Melissa and Mr Stafford, who was Melissa's boyfriend at the time.

In 2012, the DPP said it would not retry the matter, and the case was closed.

This prompted protest from those close to the case, including former detective Ralph Knust, who remained convinced the truth could be revealed.

"I'm appalled that the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney-General, or whoever it is that's behind the decision, will not take this back to court," he said.

"I think it's time. The public deserve to know the truth of the whole story."

 

4. Not all murders are what they first seem

 

Queensland Times coverage of the murder of Vicki Hunter.
Queensland Times coverage of the murder of Vicki Hunter.

The death of Vicki Hunter at her Sonter St, Raceview home in 2010 was initially attributed to the work of a mystery home invader sporting a "tribal tattoo on his lower left leg".

The man who would ultimately be convicted of his wife's murder, Ian Hunter, even joined his son Jason in an impassioned plea to help police find a mysterious killer who it turns out didn't exist.

The story of the invader was later confirmed to be a concoction of Ian Hunter, in the panic that unfolded after he'd fatally bludgeoned his wife of 37 years, on May 6, 2010.

The motive? Vicki's life insurance policy. The murder trial heard the couple had racked up severe debts due to Mr Hunter's gambling problems.

Mr Hunter was found guilty of murder at trial and sentenced to life in prison.

He later unsuccessfully appealed the conviction.

 

5. Double killing shocks tiny community

So terrible were the details of the deaths of Michael Desmond Manson and Carl Upson, one judge said he feared for the safety of prisoners after he sentenced Jamie Rex Teichmann.

Teichmann was initially sentenced to life in jail for a "brutal attack" on Mr Manson, 48, late on December 8, 2010, or the early hours of the next day.

The murder conviction was later overturned and replaced with a manslaughter conviction.

Mr Upson was fatally shot at his home several days after Teichmann killed Mr Manson.

For that crime, he was also sentenced to life behind bars.

A later appeal by Teichmann against his sentence for the murder of Mr Upson was dismissed.

 

6. Amanda Quirk's horrific final hours

 

The Queensland Times front page following a breakthrough in investigations into the death of Amanda Quirk.
The Queensland Times front page following a breakthrough in investigations into the death of Amanda Quirk.

 

Amanda Quirk's disappearance from her rented Dudleigh Street, Booval home in 2010 sparked a two-state police investigation.

The 32-year-old's body was found on April 8 near Drake, 70km west of the northern NSW town of Casino, after police interviewed one of the suspects in what was to become a murder case.

It was believed Ms Quirk, a single pensioner, was killed at her home late on March 31 before being driven across the border and dumped.

Her body was found down a small gully only metres from the side of a quiet stretch of the Bruxner Highway, just out of Drake.

Ms Quirk's distraught father Larry Quirk said his family was struggling to understand why someone would harm his daughter.

"She lived in that house by herself and she used to take in people who had nowhere to go - people who had just got out of prison or who were on drugs - she would give a hand to people who were down and out," Mr Quirk said.

Christopher James Swan was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in jail.

Rachel Narelle Smith was found guilty of being an accessory to murder and was jailed for seven years, with parole eligibility after serving three years.

 

7. Michelle Reynolds' senseless death at hands of violent partner

 

The Queensland Times front page coverage of the murder of Rosewood mum Michelle Reynolds.
The Queensland Times front page coverage of the murder of Rosewood mum Michelle Reynolds.

 

Michelle Reynolds was stabbed to death in her bed after her violent partner snapped when she refused to kiss him goodbye.

Wayne Ashley O'Sullivan, 50, confessed to waking early one April morning in 2016, retrieving a knife from his tackle box and returning to the bedroom he shared with the 46-year-old mother of six and stabbing her multiple times in the chest and neck.

Ipswich detectives later found the murder weapon dumped in long grass off Karrabin-Rosewood Rd - about 1km from the John St house in which Ms Reynolds was killed.

O'Sullivan was jailed for life but will be eligible for parole in 2036.

 

8. Provocation defence used in gruesome manslaughter

 

Queensland Times front page story on the gruesome death of Linjin Ciu.
Queensland Times front page story on the gruesome death of Linjin Ciu.

 

Jiagen Pan claimed he was provoked into killing his ex-wife Linjin Ciu at her Ipswich home in 2009.

Jiagen Pan, who butchered Linjin Ciu into seven pieces and tried to entomb the pieces in a wall, was found not guilty of murder in July, 2011.

He was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter after arguing he was provoked by the victim, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

 

Linjin Ciu
Linjin Ciu

 

Pan claimed he was provoked into murder after his ex-wife said he never "satisfied me as a man".

Laws to prevent provocation being used a defence in murder cases came into effect in March 2011, after Pan was originally charged.

Pan, a noodle chef who was divorced from Ms Cui in March 2009, admitted he chopped her body into seven pieces and tried to entomb the parts in a homemade cavity he built in a hallway cupboard at his Woodridge home.

 

9. Industrial estate ambush leads to callous crime

 

The scene of a fatal stabbing on Cobalt Street in Carole Park. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times
The scene of a fatal stabbing on Cobalt Street in Carole Park. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

 

Kieran Pye was only 23 when he was set upon during a robbery at Carole Park in April 2015.

Mr Pye, his girlfriend Renae Grove and his mate Peter Bell were attacked in the early hours of Thursday April 2, after being lured to a secluded location for a drug deal.

Tupu Sauaga, Wayne Lemaga, Paul Benecke and Casandra Lavelle were waiting.

Sauaga, 26, quickly pulled Mr Pye from the car.

 

Kieren Pye
Kieren Pye

 

The 23-year-old was stabbed multiple times, including in the back.

Casandra Renee Lavelle later pleaded guilty to manslaughter for her role in the incident, which involved running over Mr Pye's body as he lay on the road.

She was jailed for nine years.

Paul Benecke and Tupu Sauaga were also convicted of manslaughter over the incident.

Benecke, 44, was jailed and given a parole eligibility date of October, 2018.

Sauaga was sentenced to 13 years' jail.

Wayne Lemaga was found not guilty of murder and not guilty of manslaughter.

 

10. Body parts found in the fridge

 

David Thornton's property in Goodna searched by police and SES following the discovery of his body buried in a freezer in the back yard. Picture: Cordell Richardson
David Thornton's property in Goodna searched by police and SES following the discovery of his body buried in a freezer in the back yard. Picture: Cordell Richardson

 

Details around the alleged murder of David Thornton, a former maths and science teacher, remain unknown, with the accused man still before the courts.

 

David Thornton
David Thornton

 

Mr Thornton's remains were found inside a buried freezer at his home in Parker St, Goodna on April 1 last year.

 

Bobby Andrew Weaver enters the Ipswich watch house after being arrested for the alleged murder of former high school teacher David Thornton, 58. Picture: Cordell Richardson.
Bobby Andrew Weaver enters the Ipswich watch house after being arrested for the alleged murder of former high school teacher David Thornton, 58. Picture: Cordell Richardson.

 

Bobby Andrew Weaver, of Peak Crossing, was later extradited from NSW and charged with murder.

It is expected the case will be heard later this year.