No Caption
No Caption Bill North

7 deadly crimes that shocked the Clarence

WARNING: Some readers may find this article distressing.

SADLY Lynette Daley's death is not alone when it comes to terrible crimes committed in the Clarence Valley.

Her death at a beach near Iluka in 2011 was brought back into the media spotlight this week when ABC TV program Four Corners aired an episode entitled 'Callous Disregard' about her death and the Director of Public Prosecutions' decision not to prosecute the two men accused in the case.

Over the years many other incidents have shocked the Clarence Valley and have been difficult to erase from our memory. Some led to immediate arrests, others remain unsolved mysteries.

Here are seven that will forever be hard to forget:

  • Cangai siege at Hanging Rock Station
  • Brooms Head teen mystery murder
  • Yamba mother's body dumped in wheelie bin
  • Disappearance of Jasmine Morris
  • 'Norma' bleeds to death in Australia Day horror
  • South Grafton woman bashed, stabbed and burnt in her own home
  • Disappearance of Sharon Edwards

CANGAI SIEGE AT HANGING ROCK STATION

MARCH, 1993: Murderers Leonard Leabeater, Robert Steele and Raymond Bassett went on a nine-day rampage across Queensland and New South Wales, resulting in their taking hostages in a siege in a farmhouse at Hanging Rock Station, Cangai, near Grafton, New South Wales, and threatening to kill people indiscriminately. The trio had boasted about having killed five people in a two-state murder spree.

Whilst on the run for five days the trio murdered five people after kidnapping then 11-year-old Trevor and nine-year-old Tonia Lasserre.

During the 26-hour siege numerous shots were fired by the trio at NSW Police Tactical Operations Unit officers.

Leabeater killed himself the following day; Steele and Bassett surrendered to police, and Steele was later sentenced to five consecutive life sentences plus 12 years without parole. He hanged himself in prison on 23 December 1994. Bassett was later sentenced to two consecutive life sentences with a non-parole period of 34 years for his part in the killings.

The siege is also infamous for the actions of news reporters Mike Willesee who was heavily criticised for telephoning the gunman and speaking with the children being held hostage whilst live on air, and Mike Munro who with his news crew landed a helicopter close to the homestead despite an exclusion on such flights.

LEE STACE MURDER REMAINS UNSOLVED MYSTERY

SEPTEMBER, 1997: The question of who killed Brooms Head teenager Lee Ellen Stace remains unanswered.

Ms Stace went missing after finishing work as a checkout operator at Bi-Lo Supermarket at Yamba Fair Shopping on September 2, 1997 around 2.15pm.

It is believed the 16-year-old had hitched a ride home to Brooms Head.

She had been missing for 47 days when her body was found by a Sydney doctor on holidays at Red Cliff.

But in nearly two decades and despite long investigations and a coronial inquiry, the person or people responsible have not been brought to justice.

Even a $100,000 reward offered 12 months after Lee was murdered had not flushed out the killer.

Brooms Head 16-year-old Lee Ellen Stace was murdered in September, 1997.
Brooms Head 16-year-old Lee Ellen Stace was murdered in September, 1997. Bill North

YAMBA MOTHER'S BODY DUMPED IN WHEELIE BIN

JANUARY, 2006: 30-year-old Joshua Francis Green was charged with the murder of his mother at her unit in Ager St, Yamba on the night of Friday, 13th of January, 2006.

Police said the 51-year-old Yamba woman's body was found in a wheelie bin near her home and had been stabbed in the chest a number of times.   Green appeared before the Grafton Bail Court the following day, where he was refused bail and remanded in custody. Police told the court Green was from New Zealand, unemployed, suffered from schizophrenia, was on prescribed medication and had been living with his mother in a two-bedroom ground floor unit, one of four in the block.   The mother and son had only recently moved to the area and were not well-known. One resident said the son could always be seen sitting on the verandah with a cigarette, cup of coffee and reading the newspaper.   "I tried saying hello to him a couple of times but he never responded," he said.

DISAPPERANCE OF JASMINE MORRIS

OCTOBER, 2009: 19-year-old Jasmine Morris, also known as Jasmine Moore,  was last seen by her brother at the South Grafton Bi-Lo on October 6, 2009, and was reported missing on October 20. Her whereabouts are still unknown.

In March, 2013 a Police Mobile Command Van was set up in the Bi-Lo car park in South Grafton seeking anyone with information to help out as part of National Missing Persons' Week efforts Jasmine Morris.

Her mother, Donna Geoghagan, said there was no reason why she would have run away and in August 2013 pleaded for information after Grafton detectives reopened the case files into her disappearance.

  "For the last four years, I have been waiting for Jasmine to walk through the door. Every day she doesn't it just gets harder," Ms Geoghagan said.   "I have no idea where she has gone and there is no reason why she would have run away."

Missing Grafton girl Jasmine Morris, 20, aka Jasmine Moore, pictured here at a Sydney school she attended for a short time. She was last seen leaving her mum's house in Chapman Street, Grafton on October 8.
Missing Grafton girl Jasmine Morris, 20, aka Jasmine Moore, pictured here at a Sydney school she attended for a short time. She was last seen leaving her mum's house in Chapman Street, Grafton on October 8.

'NORMA' BLEEDS TO DEATH IN AUSTRALIA DAY HORROR

JANUARY, 2011: Lynette 'Norma' Daley bled to death on the night of Australia Day on Ten Mile Beach north of Iluka in 2011 from massive vaginal trauma inflicted by a man she was camping with, a Coroner's Inquiry found.

NSW State Coroner Michael Barnes recommended charges be laid against Adrian Attwater and Paul Maris, who were present at the time of her death, for manslaughter and manslaughter after the fact respectively.

"Mr Attwater initially admitted this activity could be characterised as 'fisting'," Mr Barnes said.

"Mr Maris continued to claim Mr Attwater had 'fisted' Norma and both men told those first on the scene ... that they had engaged in 'wild sex' the previous evening."  

Lynette Daley's body was found on January 27, 2011 at 10 Mile Beach north of Iluka. SES volunteers assist police to lift the body of a woman who died on 10 mile beach north of Iluka yesterday morning. Photo: Rodney Stevens/ The Daily Examiner
Lynette Daley's body was found on January 27, 2011 at 10 Mile Beach north of Iluka. SES volunteers assist police to lift the body of a woman who died on 10 mile beach north of Iluka yesterday morning. Photo: Rodney Stevens/ The Daily Examiner Rodney Stevens

Blood samples taken from Norma after her death indicated she was extremely intoxicated, with a blood-alcohol reading of between 0.303% and 0.35%.

In February 2016, the NSW Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions not to prosecute the two men.

On Monday, 9th of May, 2016, the ABC TV current affairs program Four Corners aired a episode entitled Callous Disregard, about Ms Daley's death and its aftermath.

The following morning a protest was held outside Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis' office in Grafton and on Wednesday, 11th of May, the DPP announced there would be an independent review into its decision not to prosecute.

MICHELLE ROBERTS BASHED, STABBED AND BURNT IN HER OWN HOME

MAY, 2012: "WE'VE got a body in here." These were the words retained fire fighter Shanon Tough heard when he was searching the burning building at 10 Margaret Cres, South Grafton, in the early hours of May 18, 2012.

The body found was that of the occupant of the house, 47-year-old Michelle Roberts, who had been brutally bashed unconscious, stabbed 24 times, then her body burned beyond recognition.  

  In June, 2015 49-year-old South Grafton man Andrew Mervyn Sumpton was convicted of the brutal bashing and stabbing murder of Michelle Roberts in her home and sentenced to 29 years in jail with a non-parole period of 20 years and six months.

Sumpton was also convicted on four counts of arson and sentenced to four and a half years jail after setting fire to the victim's body and house in an attempt to cover his tracks.

The court heard evidence the sexually motivated crime took place after a night of excessive drinking in South Grafton.

His sentence began from the day he was taken into custody on May 24, 2012. He is eligible for release on November 23, 2032.

DISAPPEARANCE OF SHARON EDWARDS

MARCH, 2014: Grafton woman Sharon Edwards was last seen enjoying a night out with friends at the Good Intent Hotel in South Grafton on Saturday, 14th of March, 2015.

Sharon Edwards - missing person Photo: Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner.
Sharon Edwards - missing person Photo: Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner. Adam Hourigan

On March 17 her estranged husband John Edwards reports his wife missing to Grafton Police after she fails to attend work as a teacher at Coutts Crossing Public School. Days later police divers scour the Clarence River at Grafton, but find nothing.

On April 20 forensic police use a cadaver dog to search three properties belonging to Mr and Mrs Edwards and seize a number of items from the Edwards' Riverdale Crt address in Grafton. Mr Edwards appears in Grafton Local Court the same day on unrelated firearms charges, including possession of a pistol, for which Mr Edwards is sentenced in Grafton Local Court to 12 months' jail, with a non-parole period of three months, on September 11 

On September 11 Mr Edwards is sentenced to  for unrelated firearms offences in Grafton Local Court.

On March 18, 2016, police name Mr Edwards as a suspect in the disappearance of Sharon Edwards during a media conference in at NSW Police headquarters in Sydney.

There is still no trace of Mrs Edwards.



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