Edward James Kelly of Broadwater known around town as Ned Kelly.
Edward James Kelly of Broadwater known around town as Ned Kelly.

Eight murders and mysteries around the North Coast

THE arrest of a woman in Evans Head over the murder of a baby 15 years ago has shocked the North Coast community.

As the tragedy unfolds The Star takes a look back at some of the North Coast’s most horrific crimes which will never be forgotten.

1. Nursing Home murders

Marie Darragh and Isabella Spencer’s bodies were found at Ballina’s St Andrews Nursing home in May 2014.

In July of the same year former nurse Megan Haines was charged with both murders.

Police have alleged Ms Haines administered the fatal dose of insulin because the two victims had complained about her.

Ms Haines’ case is still before the courts.

Marie Darragh and her daughter Charli Darragh at St Andrews nursing home in Ballina. Supplied picture.
Marie Darragh and her daughter Charli Darragh at St Andrews nursing home in Ballina. Supplied picture.

2. Whian Whian body found

The mutilated body of Lismore woman Lois Roberts was found in Whian Whian State Forest by bushwalkers in January 1999.

She was last seen trying to hitch a ride to Lismore from outside of the Nimbin police station.

No one has ever been charged with her murder.

Historic. Lois Roberts was found murdered at Whian Whian National Park. She was last seen in Nimbin 1998.
Historic. Lois Roberts was found murdered at Whian Whian National Park. She was last seen in Nimbin 1998.

3. German backpacker murder

One of Lismore’s most notorious cases is the murder of German backpacker Simone Strobel, whose body was found near the Lismore Continental Club in February 2005.

Despite an inquest into her death and a strong belief by police that her boyfriend Tobias Suckfuell was responsible for her death, it still remains unsolved.

Simone’s parents recently appealed through German media for any information on what happened to their daughter.

HISTORIC German backpacker Simone Strobel was found murdered in Lismore in 2005.  Photo Contributed
HISTORIC German backpacker Simone Strobel was found murdered in Lismore in 2005. Photo Contributed Contributed

4. Bryant in Bonny Hills

While the body of Harmony Bryant was found, the circumstances leading to her eventual death remain unclear.

Deputy State Coroner Malcolm MacPherson said in his inquest finding this month there was little doubt Ms Bryant, originally from Kyogle, met with foul play.

She was found alive but with severe burns next to her smouldering car at Bonny Hills, south of Port Macquarie, in 2003.

Historic. Kyogle woman Harmony Bryant met with foul play at Bonny Hills in 2003. supplied
Historic. Kyogle woman Harmony Bryant met with foul play at Bonny Hills in 2003. supplied

5. Lismore Heights open finding

A Lismore Heights woman, Lucy McDonald, went missing from her home in April 2002.

A coronial inquest into her disappearance in 2008 delivered an open finding, but her family are convinced she met with foul play.

Historic Lismore Heights woman Lucy McDonald has been missing since April 2002. Photo supplied
Historic Lismore Heights woman Lucy McDonald has been missing since April 2002. Photo supplied

6. Broadwater’s headless mystery

Broadwater resident Ned Kelly’s body was found in his home, but missing his head in 2012.

It sparked a police search that stretched all the way to the Northern Territory.

Kelly’s neighbour Jonathon Stenburg was charged with his murder having shot and then decapitated him.

To date the head has never been found.

7. Drug business goes bad

In 2010 Kevin Purtill was accused of murdering John “Jack” Garda at his Lennox Head home on February 8 when a drug deal went wrong.

With the help of his brother Warren, Purtill loaded the body into a ute and drove to a location 3km south of Broadwater where they buried Garda in a shallow grave.

Shallow grave where the body of John 'Jack' Garda was found. photo Jay Cronan/The Northern Star
Shallow grave where the body of John 'Jack' Garda was found. photo Jay Cronan/The Northern Star Jay Cronan

8. A case of patricide?

Michael Martin Jr has been accused of murdering his father Michael Martin Sr at Murwillumbah after allegedly taking out three life insurance policies for $2.5 million on him.

Martin Jr along with Jessica Fallon have been charged over the murder of 46-year-old Michael Martin Snr at his Quarry Rd, South Murwillumbah, unit on June 13, 2014.

The case is still in the courts.

46 year old Murwillumbah resident Michael Martin was killed on Friday the 13th.
46 year old Murwillumbah resident Michael Martin was killed on Friday the 13th. Blainey Woodham


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