Murder mystery twist may lie under this NSW home
POLICE will begin digging underneath a Blue Mountains' home on Monday in the grim hope of finding the remains of young mum-of-two Belinda Peisley, who is believed to have been murdered 20 years ago.
Ms Peisley, 19, walked out of Katoomba Hospital on the night of September 26, 1998 and was never seen again.
The Daily Telegraph understands police decided to excavate Ms Peisley's Katoomba home after reviewing the case this year and re-interviewing several witnesses.
The dig, led by the Homicide Squad, will concentrate on an area beneath a grey, weatherboard house on Trow Ave and parts of the grassy, acre block.
A NSW Police spokesman said the search was expected to last for three days and would involve the public order and riot squad along with Blue Mountains police.
The forensic excavation comes after an inquest in 2012 and 2013 when the Coroner found Ms Peisley most likely died from "the action of a third party" and referred the case to the unsolved homicide squad.
During the inquest six "persons of interest" were nominated and deputy state coroner Paul McMahon said there was suspicion at least three of those people had knowledge or involvement in her death.
He also found there had been a "failure" by NSW Police officers because her suspected death was not reported to the Coroner until eight years after her disappearance.
Belinda's father Mark Wearne told The Daily Telegraph it took seven years for the police to start the investigation into his daughter's suspected murder.
"The initial police investigation was disgusting. It was non-existent," he said.
He believed it was possible two groups of people were involved in his daughter's suspected murder but did not want to view his thoughts publicly.
"I'm of two minds of who is involved but I can see the plausibility of both," he said.
At the time of her death Ms Peisley was a heavy drug user and had been intoxicated at a party on the night of her disappearance.
Police took her to Katoomba Hospital with several injuries but she walked out before seeing a doctor at 8.50pm on September 26. It was the last time she was seen alive.
All her personal belongings - including her patchwork handbag and wallet - were found at her home.
The Coroner found that she died about the time of her disappearance but did not make a finding on the manner or cause of her death.
The inquest into her death heard that a next-door neighbour heard that she and her boyfriend at the time - Justin Kondek - had an argument at her house on the day of her disappearance.
It was Mr Kondek who reported Ms Peisley missing to police on September 28, 1998 after he said he found the front door of her home open and all the windows smashed.
It was later found that he took her Westpac bank card and withdrew $1772 over the next several weeks.
He has denied having anything to do with Ms Peisley's death and the Coroner found he was a credible witness and was unlikely to have been involved in her death.
The Coroner was less complimentary about three other "persons of interest" who knew Ms Peisley and were heavily involved in Katoomba's drug scene at the time.
A large portion of the inquest - which ran over 15 days throughout 2012 and 2013 - focused on three Katoomba locals at the time: Jeremy Douglas, Heidi Wailes and Saxon Holdforth.
"The evidence available was inconclusive," Mr McMahon found.
"The evidence did, however, raise considerable suspicion as to the possibility of such knowledge and/or involvement," he said.
During the inquest Ms Peisley's aunt Sharon Versace told the inquest her niece feared for her life.
"She believed that Jeremy Douglas was going to kill her. She said he had a gun."
The court also heard Douglas and his girlfriend Wailes often frequented Ms Peisley's home and in the week before her disappearance they broke into her home and stole a TV, microwave and a camera.
Yesterday a NSW Police spokeswoman said numerous ground searches had been conducted over the years for Ms Peisley's remains but never at the Trow Ave location. "Investigators identified numerous persons of interest and explored various lines of inquiry, which were tested during a Coronial Inquiry," a statement read.
"Detectives from the Homicide Squad continue to investigate Belinda's disappearance and suspected murder under Strike Force Belonidae."
Persons of interest
JUSTIN KONDEK - THE BOYFRIEND
A neighbour heard Kondek and Belinda arguing on the night of September 26, 1998. He told an inquest she smashed a mirror, Had blood on her hands and that she kicked him out of the house. He reported her missing to police on September 28 but later admitted He used her bank card to withdraw $1700 over the next several weeks. The Coroners found it was "unlikely" that he was involved in her death.
STEVEN KONDEK - BOYFRIEND'S DAD
Justin Kondek's father Stephen was disapproving of his son's relationship with Belinda and upset she had introduced him to drugs. A witness told an inquest she heard Kondek having a conversation about Belinda in 2007 in which he said, "Back in those days you could make someone disappear easily." He denied saying this. The Coroner found "no cogent evidence implicating" Kondek in Belinda's death.
JEREMY DOUGLAS - THE DRUG ADDICT
The then-boyfriend of Belinda's friend Heidi Wailes. The Coroner found he had a reputation of violence towards women and the inquest heard Belinda had expressed fears of him. Belinda's aunt Sharon Versace told the inquest, "She believed jeremy douglas was going to kill her. She said he had a gun." The Coroner said the evidence raised considerable suspicion about Douglas' involvement but "the evidence was inconclusive".
HEIDI WAILES - THE BEST FRIEND
Wailes went to Belinda's Katoomba home on the morning of September 27, 1998 and found it in a disturbed state but did not report it to the police. The coroner found her evidence was "most unimpressive and lacking in credibility". The inquest heard she and Douglas had broken into belinda's house a week before her suspected murder and stolen a TV, microwave and a camera.
WANDA LOYNDS - THE PUNCHER
A drug addict who admitted at the inquest to punching Belinda at a Katoomba house party on September 26, the last night she was seen alive. There was evidence Loynds had "confessed" to killing Belinda but the Coroner said considering she was a long-term user of illicit drugs, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and admitted to telling untrue stories it was "unlikely she was involved". He also found "no evidence Loynds harboured any pre-existing or continuing resentment or animosity towards Belinda".
SAXON HOLDFORTH - THE ABUSIVE WITNESS
An associate of Jeremy Douglas and Heidi Wailes. Much of the inquest into Belinda's death focused on whether the three of them had some knowledge or involvement in her death. "He had a reputation for being violent, particularly towards his girlfriend at the time, and about whom Belinda had expressed some disliking," the Coroner said. He was found to be "generally unresponsive", "abusive" when questioned, and "his performance did nothing to remove the suspicion that he had some involvement in the disappearance and/or death of Belinda."