Family wants killer to reveal where he left Gail's body

UPDATE 3PM: Just as he had done throughout his three week trial, Ian Phillip Hannaford showed little emotion when the Toowoomba Supreme Court jury pronounced him guilty of murdering his former girlfriend Gail Lynch.

And, though grateful and relieved by the jury's decision, Ms Lynch's family held little hope that Hannaford would ever tell them where he had placed Ms Lynch's body.

"You see, it's the only power he's got left," Ms Lynch's sister Lyn McMillan said.

"And, the power of not telling anybody... he can reminisce where she s without anybody else knowing.

"At least we know that he can never, ever, ever do this to anybody else again. He'll be locked away for a very long time."

After the verdict was announced, Crown prosecutor Belinda Merrin read to the court victim impact statements from Ms Lynch's son Simon Hutchison and his wife Jackie and from Ms McMillan.

The family told of the heartache of losing their mother, grandmother and sister who had been so close to them all.

All had spoken by telephone with Ms Lynch on the night she was last heard from - July 3, 2012.

Speaking to media outside Toowoomba Supreme Court are Gail Lynch's son Simon Hutchison and his wife Jackie.
Speaking to media outside Toowoomba Supreme Court are Gail Lynch's son Simon Hutchison and his wife Jackie. Contributed

Her DNA was found in drops of blood located on items in the boot of Hannaford's car, on a towel inside his Rockville unit and, most chillingly, on the handle and blade of an axe Hannaford had bought on July 4, 2012, the day after Ms Lynch disappeared.

Drops of blood found at Ms Lynch's Guy St unit in Warwick was DNA matched to Hannaford and Ms Lynch.

A large red rug that had covered most of her kitchen floor had disappeared with Ms Lynch and red fibres had been found inside Hannaford's car boot.

Through their victim impact statements, the family told of how their grief was impacted further by having never had the chance to say goodbye to Ms Lynch.

"We simply don't know what happened to her," Mr and Mrs Hutchison said.

"She's still out there somewhere and is not resting in peace."

Mr Hutchison said the family had turned to a number of psychics in the search for his mother's body to no avail and every time the family drove through the Warwick or Toowoomba areas they couldn't help but look out across the country wondering if they could see something unusual that might lead them to Ms Lynch's body.

Turning their anger toward Hannaford, Mr Hutchison said: "We will never forgive you for what you put mum through or for what you continue to put us through".

The court heard Hannaford had 16 years ago been convicted of the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl he had forced himself upon.

In handing down sentence, Justice John Bond referred to a handwritten letter addressed to Ms Lynch found by police in Hannaford's home.

In that letter Hannaford had referred to Ms Lynch in derogatory terms and claimed "whatever happens to you, you deserve".

"That document in chilling fashion foreshadowed what you would eventually do," Justice Bond told Hannaford.

He said there was only one sentence that he could impose and that was life imprisonment, though Justice Bond declared the three years and three months Hannaford had spent in pre-sentence custody as time served under the sentence.

Hannaford therefore will serve another 12 years behind bars before he is eligible to apply for parole.

A petition is currently before the Queensland Parliament seeking an amendment to the Corrective Services Act 2006 to provide that persons convicted of murder and other offences cannot obtain parole without disclosing the location of the victim's body.

The family of Ms Lynch urges all Queenslanders to go to the parliament e-petitions website and sign the e-petition.

Ian Hannaford
Ian Hannaford

11AM: Despite her body never being found, a Toowoomba Supreme Court jury was satisfied Ian Phillip Hannaford had killed his former girlfriend Gail Lynch by returning a verdict of guilty today.

Ms Lynch, 55, has not been seen or heard from since leaving her Guy St, Warwick, unit on July 3, 2012.

It was the Crown case that Hannaford, 61, of the Toowoomba suburb of Rockville, had become angry with Ms Lynch after she broke off their seven-month relationship some weeks before she disappeared.

Hannaford had fallen in love with Ms Lynch and couldn't understand why she had ended the relationship.

Crown prosecutor Belinda Merrin told the court it was not necessary to know how, where or precisely when Ms Lynch died to convict Hannaford of the crime.

His DNA was found in drops of blood throughout Ms Lynch's unit and her DNA had been found on items in his Gala Ct unit including an axe which Hannaford had bought the day after Ms Lynch was last seen.

Ms Lynch's DNA was also found on items in the boot of his blue Ford Falcon sedan which the Crown claimed was captured on Warwick CitySafe cameras driving on Guy St the night Ms Lynch disappeared.

Hannaford was sentenced to life imprisonment. He has never divulged where Ms Lynch's body was placed.

6AM: The Toowoomba Supreme Court jury in the murder trial of Rockville man Ian Phillip Hannaford will return for a second day of deliberations today.

Justice John Bond asked the jury to retire to consider a verdict in the case after completing his summing up of the case about 2.45pm Monday.

The jury returned at 4.15pm for a redirection on a question of law and then retired to the jury room again.

However, when no verdict had been returned by 5pm, Justice Bond gave the jury members the option of going home and returning afresh in the morning, an option all 12 appeared keen to take.

Hannaford, 61, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Warwick woman Gail Lynch, 55, who has not been seen or heard from since July 3, 2012.

The prosecution case is that Ms Lynch is dead and that her former boyfriend of seven months Hannaford is responsible for her death.

The trial has heard police had found what they believed were drops of blood in Ms Lynch's Guy St unit which matched the DNA profile of Hannaford.

Gail Lynch
Gail Lynch

DNA matched to Ms Lynch was found inside Hannaford's Rockville unit including on an axe bought by Hannaford the day after Ms Lynch was last seen.

The defence claims the DNA evidence is not as conclusive as the Crown would have the court believe and that the presence of DNA could be explained.

Hannaford's barrister David Shepherd submitted to the jury that the DNA on the axe could have been put there when the axe was wiped down with a towel that contained Ms Lynch's DNA which was found in Hannaford's Gala Ct unit.

Mr Shepherd also submitted that if the axe had been used to dispose of a body why would his client take it home and leave it in plain view?

Crown prosecutor Belinda Merrin reminded the jury of evidence in the trial which told of Hannaford constantly telephoning Ms Lynch after their break-up in June 2012 to the point Ms Lynch became frustrated and told him to stop calling.

Yet when Hannaford was asked about the whereabouts of Ms Lynch in the days after her disappearance he said he hadn't seen her for weeks and that the phone calls to Ms Lynch's phone from him had stopped, Ms Merrin said.

Ms Merrin submitted Hannaford was angry with Ms Lynch when she broke off their relationship.

The jury will continue deliberations today.



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