Explosive first day at Strobel inquest
By Alex Easton
TOBIAS Suckfuell told his companions to lie to police about events leading up to the disappearance and death of his long-time girlfriend Simone Strobel at Lismore, Lismore Coroner's Court heard yesterday.
In an explosive first day, the inquest into Simone's death heard that, contrary to earlier claims by Tobias, he and Simone had been fighting in the days leading up to her disappearance and that they had argued the night she died.
Detective Sergeant Shane Diehm of Lismore police told the court that a post-mortem had been unable to pin down a cause of death because Simone's body was so badly decomposed when it was found, six days after she disappeared.
However, because of the absence of obvious injuries, he believed Simone was suffocated by someone placing something over her face or putting a plastic bag over her head.
Det Sgt Diehm told the court he believed Tobias was 'involved' in Simone's death and that Tobias' sister, Katrin, who had been travelling with the couple, had known of Simone's death and concealment.
In questioning Det Sgt Michael McFarlane of the Forensics Services Group, police prosecutor assisting Deputy State Coroner Paul McMahon, Snr Sgt Jodie Shepherd, appeared to suggest Katrin had an active role in hiding Simone's body.
Det Sgt McFarlane told the court he believed Simone's body was moved to the Bocce Club, on Uralba Street, and hidden after she was killed.
Snr Sgt Shepherd asked if it would have taken two people to move Simone's body. Det Sgt McFarlane answered one person could have moved her through the fence, but a lack of bad scratches suggested a second person had helped or that one person had moved the body but been very careful.
Det Sgt Diehm said that, in a statement to German police, Simone and Tobias' other travelling companion, Jens Martin, said Tobias had told him and Katrin to lie about the amount of alcohol the group had drunk the night of Simone's disappearance, to lie about the group having smoked cannabis and to lie about Tobias and Simone fighting the night she died.
In his statement, Mr Martin also said that Tobias had not joined in the search for Simone after she left the camp.
However, Det Sgt Diehm said police had been unable to find any evidence that any of the group had searched for Simone and that he believed all three knew more than they had so far told police.
Mr Martin was expected to testify today.