Australian criminals and their Crimes. Con artists, scum bags, murderers, corrupt cops, pollies, rapists and paedophiles will find themselves in this blog. It was expanded to also cover those that ought to be charged for their idiotic disgusting behaviour. Usually high-profile people who think they are above the law
More to follow with news a senior journo Steve Barrett being allegedly involved with a blackmail plot with a member of the conspiracy Daniel Rostankovski who was allegedly aggrieved he was not getting his fair share…See down for more details
ATO deputy allegedly sought to seek a deal for son in $165 m tax fraud,,, Mr Cranston has been issued a future court attendance notice for the charge of abusing his position as a public official. He is due to appear in Sydney’s Central Local Court on June 13.
His son, Adam Cranston, 30, and his daughter, Lauren Anne Cranston, 24, have also been charged following an eight-month investigation, codenamed Operation Elbrus.
It’s alleged ATO deputyMichael Cranston accessed restricted information on an ATO audit for his son, but police do not believe he knew about his son’s alleged fraud syndicate.
Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Leanne Close said the syndicate appeared to use the money to fund a “lavish lifestyle”.
Among the items seized under proceeds of crime were 25 motor vehicles, including luxury cars and racing cars, 12 motorbikes, 18 residential properties, two aircraft, $1 million from a safe deposit box, firearms, jewellery, bottles of Grange wine and artworks.
ATO Second Commissioner Andrew Mills said two other ATO officers were also being investigated internally for a potential code of conduct breaches. It’s believed they tried to look up information on the ATO’s audit at the behest of Michael Cranston….Robbo
Police will allege the group had a lavish lifestyle and diverted taxpayer funds to buy planes, sports cars, jewellery, property, artwork and fine wines.
As part of the operation, officers have seized:
25 motor vehicles
$15 million in bank accounts
18 residential properties
$1 million in a safe deposit box
Acting AFP deputy operations commissioner Leanne Close said the ATO got involved in the investigation when alleged evidence of fraud mounted.
Adam Cranston leaves the Sydney Police Centre in Surry Hills after receiving bail AAP-Paul Miller
Adam Cranstons racing car-wedding car about to be confiscated
A light aircraft seized by police as part of their investigation. AFP
Adam Cranston has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth.
$1 million cash was seized from a safe deposit box by the AFP in yesterday’s raid.
Veteran Sydney journalist Steve Barrett allegedly blackmailed tax syndicate
By Rachel Olding
A veteran Sydney journalist allegedly blackmailed members of a $165 million tax fraud syndicate after conspirators in the group had a falling out, it can be revealed.
Explosive documents tendered in Central Local Court on Thursday state that well-known television journalist and former crime reporter Steve Barrett allegedly blackmailed two members of the syndicate during a meeting at the offices of Clamenz Lawyers on February 1st 2017
Eight people were arrested on Thursday over the alleged tax fraud syndicate including Adam and Laura Cranston, the son and daughter of Australian Taxation Office Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston.
Michael Cranston has also been issued a future court attendance notice for a charge of abusing his position as a public official.
The police documents reveal that one syndicate member, Daniel Rostankovski, turned on other conspirators and allegedly tried to extort money from them.
At the February 1 meeting, Mr Rostankovski and Mr Barrett allegedly threatened to expose the conspiracy in the media if money wasn’t handed over.
“Police allege … Rostankovski and Barrett attempted to blackmail the co-conspirators in relation to their involvement in the conspiracy,” the police documents state.
Mr Rostankovski allegedly demanded $5 million or Mr Barrett would expose the group in the media.
Mr Rostankovski felt like he had been deceived by the group as other members were receiving more money than him.
The group allegedly agreed to their demands if he didn’t go to the media, the police or the ATO. An agreement was signed that outlined such undertakings, the police documents reveal.
Mr Rostankovski, a 28-year-old from Waterloo, was granted strict bail in Central Local Court on Thursday. Mr Barrett has not been charged. He did not return Fairfax Media’s calls on Thursday.
Barrett, who previously worked for 60 Minutes, was a long-time employee as a producer in the Channel 7 newsroom but left the network in March 2016, before the alleged blackmail took place.
Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Leanne Close said the syndicate appeared to use the money to fund a “lavish lifestyle”.
Among the items seized under proceeds of crime were 25 motor vehicles, including luxury cars and racing cars, 12 motorbikes, 18 residential properties, two aircraft, $1 million from a safe deposit box, firearms, jewellery, bottles of Grange wine and artworks.
ATO Second Commissioner Andrew Mills said two other ATO officers were also being investigated internally for potential code of conduct breaches. It’s believed they tried to look up information on the ATO’s audit at the behest of Michael Cranston.
The announcement came after nearly 300 police officers on Wednesday carried out raids across Sydney, Wollongong and the Southern Highlands, arresting nine people.
Among those who appeared in court on Thursday are Mr Rostankovski, 28, from Waterloo; Jason Cornell Onley, 47, from Vaucluse; Daniel Hausman, 47, from Woollahra; Christopher James Guillan, 46, from Sutherland; Dev Menon, 33, from Wahroonga and Devyn Hammon, 24, from Balgownie.
Police will allege in court that the syndicate members ran a legitimate payroll company, Plutus Payroll, and accepted money from legitimate clients to process payroll on their behalf.
“This money was transferred to seven sub-contracted companies known as Tier 2 companies, which then made payroll payments to individual workers or clients,” the federal police said in a statement.
Tax office investigators, who helped the federal police during the investigation, estimate the amount of tax obligations not paid to the tax office to be $165 million.
Mr Mills described Michael Cranston as one of the organisation’s “long-serving senior officers” who had “quite an illustrious [career] up until this point”.
Mr Mills said he was confident the tax office’s systems had not been compromised nor breached and the accused employees were not able to obtain any information.
“The investigation has so far not revealed any evidence of actual intervention or influence on audit cases, or of money being refunded, or of tax liability being changed,” Mr Mills said.
“The information I have to date shows no compromise of the operations of our administration. Our systems, controls and procedures worked effectively and we have been able to successfully isolate and protect the investigation, working well with the Australian Federal Police over many months to build a picture of what has been happening.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull congratulated the federal police for the investigation and “taking the action that they have”.
ATO Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston allegedly sought to cut deal for son Adam Cranston
By Nick McKenzie
Deputy ATO commissioner to be charged
In connection with an alleged $165 million tax fraud syndicate, the Australian Taxation Office Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston will be charged.
Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Tax Office Michael Cranston allegedly sought to pressure colleagues to cut a deal with his son after learning he was the subject of a major tax fraud investigation, sources said.
Mr Cranston learnt of the investigation after his son, Adam Cranston, approached him and told his father that he believed his company was the subject of an ongoing inquiry.
Michael Cranston. Photo: Rob Homer
Michael Cranston allegedly subsequently approached a Tax Office assistant commissioner and raised the prospect that his son’s company was being targeted.
Michael Cranston allegedly simultaneously sought to downplay his son’s involvement in the alleged criminal scheme.
Two high-ranking Tax Office officials who spoke to Michael Cranston about the inquiry into his son have also been stood down, pending further investigation.
It is understood that Michael Cranston allegedly inquired as to whether a deal could be struck to resolve any probe.
The Tax Office sometimes resolves matters by agreeing to receive a payment from those accused of tax fraud.
Michael Cranston also allegedly sought to reach out to investigators involved in the multi-agency investigation but was unable to do so because the Australian Federal Police had warned them that such an approach might be likely.
One of nine people being arrested over a $165 million tax fraud investigation. Photo: AAP/Australian Federal Police
Adam Cranston was allegedly involved in the unlawful tax fraud scheme from the middle of 2016.
The scheme, which allowed the accused to make tens of millions of dollars in allegedly illegal profits, was started much earlier by another of the accused.
Police seized $1 million from a safe deposit box during Wednesday’s raids. Photo: Australian Federal Police
Adam Cranston allegedly displayed unexplained wealth, including a collection of prestige cars.
But Michael Cranston is suspected to have been unaware that his son was the subject of the probe until Adam approached him.
Tax tsar’s son charged over alleged scam that netted $165 million
EXCLUSIVE Nick Hansen, The Daily Telegraph
UPDATE:Michael Cranston, the deputy commissioner of the Australia Taxation office, has been charged with abusing his position as a public official.
It comes after his son Adam was charged over his role in a $165 million tax scam.
The Daily Telegraph today revealed Cranston’s son, Adam was charged over his alleged role in a fraud syndicate that police claim stole more than $165 million — one of the biggest white-collar crimes in Australia’s history.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal Australian Federal Police yesterday arrested Adam Cranston at his Bondi flat in one of 27 raids on homes and businesses across Sydney.
Cranston was charged last night with conspiracy to defraud the commonwealth and is expected to face Central Local Court today.
It’s understood eight others were arrested and facing possible charges.
The 30-year-old Cranston is the son of ATO deputy commissioner Michael Cranston, but there is no suggestion Michael Cranston had any involvement in or knowledge of the criminal syndicate.
Sources close to the investigation claim Adam was a “co-conspirator” in a group that used an elaborate tax scam to fund a celebrity lifestyle that included prime Sydney real estate, boats — and even a racing car team.
“This investigation has uncovered high-level organised activity; it is complex (and) sophisticated,” the source last night told The Daily Telegraph.
“I think it will take the police a long time to figure out exactly how much money (is involved).”
It is believed police will allege the fraud is one of the largest ever seen in Australia.
Investigators allege Sydney financial services firm SYNEP, of which Adam is co-chairman and managing director, was part of the operation.
Payroll contractor Plutus Payroll, controlled by SYNEP, was the centrepiece of the alleged hustle.
Police will claim it would allegedly funnel wage payments through a series of “second tier” companies. who then paid the ATO only a fraction of the required income tax.
The remaining withheld tax would then allegedly flow into the pockets of syndicate operators.
The scammers believed they had struck a sweet spot where each individual fraud was too small to prompt action from the ATO.
One source said it was “like saying to your schoolteacher, ‘I’ve done most of my homework, I’ll bring the rest next week’.”
The net tightened when both the AFP and ATO noticed alleged discrepancies in parallel investigations.
The sum of the frauds is understood to be more than $165 million, with the extent of Cranston’s own alleged profits expected to be revealed in court.
Investigators said their probe focused on a 12-month snapshot of the group’s alleged activities.
Sources also allege the scheme had another sinister angle.
Police will claim the syndicate would pay struggling people a regular fee so they could set up the second tier companies in their names. However, the syndicate had total control of the companies.
Plutus Payroll hit the headlines earlier this month when the ATO froze its bank accounts over unpaid tax debts, meaning its clients’ staff could not be paid.
In a statement earlier this month, Plutus apologised to its customers “continuing distress caused by our inability to process your pay since 27 April”.
“Our dispute is with the Australian Taxation Office who believe that Plutus owes the ATO money,” the statement said.
“Acting in a draconian and unfair manner, the ATO froze Plutus’ bank accounts on 27 April without prior warning or any consultation.
“We received no notice of intention to audit, no complaint and no other advance warning of noncompliance from the ATO.
“When the ATO acted, without notice, they froze our bank accounts and we became unable to pay our contractors the money owed to them.”
On May 10, the company announced the ATO had allowed the release of the money.
With more than 35 years at ATO, Michael Cranston has spearheaded many public campaigns to catch tax cheats.
“I am responsible for increasing compliance and willing participation in our tax and super system,” one of his social media accounts states.
“I recently chaired the OECD Task Force on Tax Crimes.”
The ATO last night refused to comment on the investigation.
And Michael Cranston did not respond to questions put to him through the ATO.
The ATO said it “will not comment on ongoing investigations at this time”.
“Due to privacy considerations the ATO is unable to comment on individual employees,” it said.
A CASE OF LIVE FAST AND FRY YOUNG
POLICE claim assets linked to an alleged $165 million tax fraud case include sports cars, expensive properties, boats and even a race team.
Cars were a particular passion for one of the alleged “co-conspirators” of the crime. Adam Cranston loved them so much there’s even a wedding day photo of the now 30-year-old with his wife and a slick race car.
There is no suggestion Cranston’s wife had any knowledge of or involvement in the alleged fraud.
A source said that among the property seized by police is an orange and blue Ford GT in Cranston’s possession.
Cranston started a race car team last year. And he named it after the financial services firm now at the centre of the alleged crime, SYNEP. The team competed in the Australian Prototype Series and in February celebrated a podium finish at Mount Panorama.
ATO official Michael Cranston facing charges over son’s alleged 65m fraud – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
ATO official Michael Cranston facing charges over son’s alleged $165m fraud
One of Australia’s most senior tax officials has been embroiled in a major fraud investigation following the arrest of his son, which allegedly involved $165 million being stolen from the Commonwealth.
Deputy tax commissioner Michael Cranston has been issued with a court attendance notice, while his son, Adam Cranston, was arrested in Sydney yesterday as part of an Australian Federal Police sting.
Michael Cranston will be charged with abusing his position as a public official relating to the fraud, although he is not believed to be a conspirator.
Adam Cranston will face Central Local Court in Sydney later today.
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison said the arrests served as a warning.
“This is a major government crackdown and what the events today with this major fraud bust … demonstrates is that if you are a crook and you are seeking to defraud the taxpayer, we will find you,” he said.
“We will track you down. We will make sure you are brought to justice.”
The ABC understands Michael Cranston has been employed by the ATO for more than three decades and is involved in the organisation’s private groups and high wealth segment.
Part of his biography on his LinkedIn account reads: “My personal philosophy is that the tax system belongs to all Australians and we all need to work closely together to ensure that it is administered fairly, efficiently and causes the least pain for all that participate.”
Go figure this one. A pathetic sentence that gives no adverse heat on the size of the crime. Let’s all steal from people that trust us, that legal system does nothing anyway. Check this one out and tell me your thoughts folks!… Cheers Robbo
Property manager Mark Kolodynski stole rental bonds for his TAB account
A Sydney real estate agent who embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from renters’ bonds and trust accounts to make bets on sports has been jailed for 18 months.
The door closed on Tuesday for 29-year-old Panania property manager Mark Kolodynski to appeal against an 18-month jail sentence for stealing $370,000 from trust accounts of two real estate agents.
Details released by the state government show the former property manager systemically and unlawfully withdrew money for his own purposes from trust accounts held by real estate agents Northern Strata Management Services and Bevans Wollongong for customers.
A NSW Fair Trading investigation followed a trail of money that ultimately led to Kolodynski’s personal gambling account at the TAB.
“If you choose to do the wrong thing, Fair Trading will come after you, and you will be prosecuted,” said the NSW Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean. “This result reflects the hard work of Fair Trading’s investigators.”
Kolodynski created fictitious expenses to justify his withdrawal of money from strata accounts. He also funnelled money held in rental bonds and deposits while working as a property manager.
Kolodynski was ordered to repay $100,000 each to the agencies from which he embezzled funds.
The real estate companies were forced to repay the trust accounts at their own expense.
Kolodynski pleaded guilty to stealing property as a clerk or servant and Magistrate Tim Keady sentenced him to a minimum non-parole period of 12 months on March 30.
His real estate qualifications had expired but he will be banned from holding any real estate credentials for 10 years. Friggin life might be better, how would a new young couple have any idea they are trusting their life savings into this thief’s hands??? Seriously…Robbo
Former Property Manager Mark Kolodynski has been jailed for 18-months for stealing $370,000 from trust accounts of two real estate agents. An investigation by NSW Department of Fair Trading found the trail of money led to his personal TAB account. “If you choose to do the wrong thing, Fair Trading will come after you, and you will be prosecuted,” said the NSW Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean. “This results reflects the hard work of Fair Trading’s investigators.”
Police smash cocaine ring at Sydney Fish Market in Christmas Day raid
By Rachel Olding, Latika Bourke, Rachel Browne
A former rugby league first grade player, a Bondi entrepreneur and a several fishermen are among 15 men arrested on Christmas Day in a multimillion-dollar cocaine ring bust.
Police will allege the men were imported more than a tonne of cocaine via the iconic Sydney Fish Market and other NSW ports.
Tip-off led to Sydney Fish Market drugs raids
Information from a concerned “member of the community” led to the arrest of 15 men and the seizure of 1.1 tonnes, say NSW police.
Australian Federal Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Chris Sheehan described the alleged syndicate as “robust, resilient and determined”.
He told a packed Sydney press conference that the 15 arrested men were “determined to exploit some of the most vulnerable members of the community.”
The seizure of 500kg of cocaine in Sydney, 600kg of the drug in Tahiti and 32kg of heroin in Fiji make it the largest drug bust of its kind in Australia.
NSW Police State Crime Commander Mark Jenkins said all the drugs originated in South America before being transferred across the South Pacific by ship.
Several of the men were arrested on Christmas Day as they docked a shipping vessel named Dalrymple at the Sydney Fish Markets.
It’s alleged the boat was used to ferry drugs between NSW ports and a larger ship stationed out at sea that held drugs smuggled from Chile.
Operation Okesi, comprising officers from NSW Police, Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force, started over two-and-a-half-years after police received a “thread” of information.
Since then, five alleged importations by the sophisticated syndicate have been thwarted.
It includes the seizure of 32 kilograms of heroin by authorities in Fiji in December 2014 and the seizure of 606 kilograms of cocaine by authorities in Tahiti in March.
Officers then observed the Dalrymple depart the Sydney Fish Markets on December 3 and travel to the Central Coast. The vessel was monitored by Maritime Border Command and the NSW Police’s Marine Area Command.
On Christmas night, officers watched the crew launch a small one-man dinghy which allegedly travelled to Parlsey Bay at Brooklyn on the NSW Central Coast and met with two other men.
All three were arrested and about 500 kilograms of cocaine was seized from the dinghy.
Several other men were arrested on board the Dalrymple vessel as it docked at Sydney Fish Market on Christmas night.
A police source told Fairfax Media the syndicate thought they could take advantage of the festive season by striking on Christmas Day.
Authorities valued the total amount of cocaine seized at $360 million.
Among the men arrested is former Eastern Suburbs Roosters player John Roland Boyd Tobin, who played 125 matches as lock forward in the 1980s.
Bondi entrepreneur Darren John Mohr was also arrested. He lists his occupation as the owner Martini Motors and is also the former owner of the Bondi Rescue HQ cafe.
His Instagram profile shows a love of Harley Davidson motorbikes, Rolls Royce cars and being shirtless.
Police also arrested Reuben John Dawe, who lists his occupation as a maritime worker and commercial fisherman Joseph Pirrello, 63.
Other man arrested in the sting include Simon Peter Spero, 56, Graham Toa Toa, 42, Stuart Ayrton, 54, Jonathan Cooper, 29, Richard Lipton, 37, Frank D’Agostino, 54, and Benjamin Sara, 31.
They were all refused bail in Parramatta Bail Court on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Two other men, extradited from Tasmania and Queensland, will appear in Parramatta Bail Court on Thursday as well as two men arrested in the Nowra area.
Footage released by police show multiple men being arrested in the dark from on-board the Dalrymple fishing vessel.
One of the men shown with his hands tied behind his back is wearing only a pair of boxer shorts covered in cartoon pictures of crocodiles.
“This operation has been running for more than two-and-a-half years and culminated over the Christmas period,” a police statement reads.
The men were aged between 29 and 63 years old. Police are due to address the media at 11am on Thursday.
“I direct Mr Obeid be taken down [into the cells],” Justice Beech-Jones says.
After loosening his tie and handing his watch to his lawyers, Obeid was led from the dock in court five in the historic Darlinghurst Supreme Court by corrective services officers.
Justice Beech-Jones says Obeid’s lawyers have not established “exceptional circumstances” exist to warrant a grant of bail pending his appeal against conviction and sentence.
“I do not accept Mr Obeid’s appeal rises any higher than being reasonably arguable,” he says of the merits of the foreshadowed appeal.
Eddie Obeid to be stripped of parliamentary pension as Baird government reacts to his sentencing
Former Labor minister Eddie Obeid is set to be stripped of his annual $120,000 parliamentary pension following his sentencing for wilful misconduct in public office.
On Thursday, Obeid was sentenced to a maximum 5 years in jail with a non parole period of three years.
Eddie Obeid jailed for five years
Former NSW Labor Minister Eddie Obeid has been jailed for a maximum of five years for misconduct in public office, with a non-parole period of three years.
Shortly afterwards, Premier Mike Baird announced MPs convicted of a serious offence during their time in office will lose their parliamentary pension, even if they quit before charges are laid.
The announcement means Obeid is set to be stripped of his lifetime annual pension worth more than $120,000 a year.
Presently MPs convicted of a serious offence – punishable by at least five years imprisonment – can keep their pensions if they are not charged while in office.
“The crimes of Eddie Obeid and his cronies are the most serious instance of official corruption we have seen in our lifetimes,” Mr Baird said.
“Regardless of political affiliation, any MP who commits a serious offence while in office should face the consequences, and should not be shielded simply because they resign before being charged.
“We will work cooperatively with the Opposition and cross-bench MPs over the summer recess to bring forward amendments that repair this glaring anomaly, and we will make sure they capture Obeid and any others who find themselves in his situation.”
The change will require an amendment to legislation to be put to parliament early next year.
The Baird government has also indicated it will claw back the estimated $280,000 legal assistance he was given for this particular ICAC inquiry.
The Herald‘s state political editor Sean Nicholls has the exclusive: the Baird government will strip Obeid of his annual $120,000 parliamentary pension following his jail sentence for misconduct in public office.
Former Labor premier Kristina Keneally is out of the blocks early to offer her views on Obeid’s jail sentence. She’s not mincing her words.
It ain’t over
Usually when a person is sent to prison, they are taken away from the courtroom almost immediately by corrective services.
Not so in the Obeid case. His lawyer, Guy Reynolds, SC, is in full flight about the alleged miscarriage of justice suffered by his client. He wants bail.
An impassive Obeid remains in the dock as Reynolds and Justice Beech-Jones engage in a robust discussion about the latter’s summing up to the jury.
An appeal is already in the offing but for the time being Obeid is going to jail for a maximum of five years, with no possibility of release for three years.
What next? Glad you asked. Obeid and his entrepreneurial middle son, Moses, have been charged over a separate deal exposed at ICAC, relating to the very fortuitous creation of a coal mining tenement over their rural property in the Bylong Valley near Mudgee.
The deal netted the Obeid family $30 million, ICAC heard.The men will face a three-week committal hearing starting on May 29 to test the strength of the prosecution’s case and determine if they should stand trial.
Obeid’s barrister, Guy Reynolds, SC, has leapt to his feet and, as foreshadowed, is already flagging an appeal.
He says there has been a “miscarriage of justice” and they will need to trot off to the Court of Criminal Appeal.
“The prospects of Mr Obeid succeeding … on appeal are extremely high,” Reynolds says.
“Given the nature of the offending and notwithstanding Mr Obeid’s personal circumstances, I am satisfied that, having considered all possible alternatives, no penalty other than imprisonment is appropriate,” he says.
“Mr Obeid, will you please stand up.”
Justice Beech-Jones has sentenced Obeid to a maximum of 5 years in jail, with a three-year non parole period.
‘Not an opinion poll’
This is it. “Conclusion,” Justice Beech-Jones says clearly.
He says sentencing is not conducted via “opinion polls”.
“If Mr Obeid had not willfully abused his position as a parliamentarian, then his life and career would be a testament to the values of hard work, family and public service. Instead, his time in public life has produced a very different legacy.”
And we are inching closer. Justice Beech-Jones says a jail sentence should not be reduced because it would consume “most of an offender’s remaining life expectancy”.
The court hears Obeid suffers from a litany of medical conditions. He had a stroke earlier this year, has had type two diabetes “for years”, has high blood pressure and colonic polyps.
He also tripped on a coffee table earlier this year and was taken to hospital.
However, the conditions are “stable and controlled”, according to medical evidence.
But expert evidence tendered by Obeid’s legal team says it is “unlikely that … Obeid would receive appropriate medical treatment in custody if he was incarcerated”.
Justice Beech-Jones says he accepts Obeid would receive “a superior level of care in the community” but he is satisfied “he would receive an adequate level of care” in jail.
Edward Moses Obeid was born in a village in northern Lebanon in 1943, and after moving to Australia as a child, worked as a cab driver and at local Arabic-language newspaper El Telegraph.
Within a few years he was running that newspaper, and was recruited by Labor powerbroker Graham Richardson to join the party in 1972.
ABC investigative journalist Marion Wilkinson’s book The Fixer describes how Obeid was soon providing invaluable advice to Richardson on how to politically organise ethnic communities.
It was Mr Richardson who gave Obeid the necessary backing to see him elected to the NSW Upper House in 1991, and he rose through the ranks to become the minister for fisheries and mineral resources from 1999 to 2003.
But it was his creation and control of the so-called Terrigals sub-faction of the Labor Right that would go on to dominate NSW Labor for the better part of two decades.
One king to rule them all
The sub-faction was formed, with Obeid its undisputed king, at a now infamous meeting at his beach house in Terrigal in 1992.
It went on to use its numbers relentlessly to fundraise, control pre-selections, guide policy and elevate chosen MPs to the frontbench.
At the height of its powers, the Terrigals sub-faction was instrumental in installing and removing a series of premiers — namely Morris Iemma, Nathan Rees and Kristina Keneally.
Mr Iemma has said his premiership became “untenable” because he could not convince the Terrigals to approve his preferred ministerial reshuffle.
Mr Rees was rolled after standing up to the sub-faction by sacking Ian Macdonald and Joe Tripodi from the ministry.
Just before he was knifed, Mr Rees famously said: “should I not be Premier by the end of the day, let there be no doubt in the community’s mind, no doubt, that any challenger will be a puppet of Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi.”
How the empire unravelled
But Obeid’s influence was broader than the parliamentary caucus.
His diary entries from 2007 to 2009, tendered to Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) hearings, show a revolving door of developers, union bosses and business figures queuing up to seek appointments with him.
With a string of business and property interests in both Australia and Lebanon, Obeid was already wealthy when he entered Parliament and he continued to build both his financial and political empires while an MP.
And it was the mixing of his political and business ties which eventually led to him being convicted on June 28 this year of misconduct in a public office.
The Crown said Obeid knew Mr Dunn from when he had been fisheries minister, and argued that he misused his position as an Upper House MP to “dupe” Mr Dunn into believing he was acting on behalf of constituents.
The court found he was in fact trying to stop a competitive tender process for the leases to financially benefit his own family.
Prosecution not to be scoffed at
The prosecution stemmed from a corrupt conduct finding by the ICAC.
In his findings in the ICAC inquiry into the Circular Quay leases, assistant commissioner Anthony Whealy described the former MP’s actions as demonstrating “the moral vacuum at the core of his political being”.
When the ICAC first handed down its finding, Obeid scoffed that he believed there was “less than a one per cent chance” that he would be prosecuted as a result.
Even when charged, he still said he had “no concerns whatsoever” and was “very confident” he would not be convicted because he was innocent.
Nine people have been charged following the bloody execution of crime figure Pasquale Barbaro, after a series of police raids in Sydney.
Tuesday’s co-ordinated sting unfolded just after midday when heavily armed officers raided more than a dozen properties including four at Sydney’s Olympic Park.
A total of 13 search warrants were executed and nine men aged from 18-29 were charged.
“All those charged with substantive murder were charged in relation to Pasquale Barbaro,” Assistant Commissioner Mark Jenkins told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.
Barbaro, 35, was shot dead on an Earlwood footpath two weeks ago.
Four of the nine men are facing murder charges and will appear in Sydney courts on Wednesday.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione launched Strike Force Osprey less than two weeks ago after a spate of bloody executions of notorious crime figures on Sydney’s streets.
“There is no end game. We will continue to target these individuals through methodical investigations and disruption strategies. There will be ongoing arrests. We will be protecting the State of NSW. We will be not tolerating any individual who has a total disregard for the community of this state and its laws,” Acting Deputy Commissioner Frank Mennilli said on Wednesday.
The other five men are facing criminal group charges and have court dates for December and January.
Officers from Strike Force Osprey worked with officers from Strike Force Raptor, which was set up in November last year investigating the activities of the Burwood Chapter of the Rebels Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.
Both forces were involved in Tuesday’s raids.
During the raid more than 40 mobile phones, 11 cars, a safe, cash, stolen NSW Police ID was seized and will now be examined by specialist forensic accountants from the Fraud and Cybercrime Squad.
Police from Strike Force Raptor also seized 20 long arms, 23 hand guns, 15 prohibited weapons, including ballistic vests and masks, silencers, a stun gun, and a homemade pipe gun; ammunition, methylamphetamine, and ecstasy, police said on Wednesday.
With eight shooting deaths over the past 17 months in Sydney, police have vowed to stamp out gangland warfare.
Just weeks before Mafia figure Barbaro was shot in Earlwood as he was getting into his Mercedes on November 14, hitman Hamad Assaad, 29, was shot in Georges Hall on October 25.
In April, gangland kingpin and convicted killer Walid Ahmad, 40, was killed in a spray of bullets on the rooftop car park of Bankstown Central shopping centre.
His murder is believed to be in retaliation for the fatal shooting of Safwan Charbaji outside a Condell Park panel beater several weeks earlier.
The month before that Michael Davey was shot dead in a driveway in a drive-by shooting in Kingswood. Believed to be a member of the Rebels motorcycle gang, Davey had escaped injury during a shooting at a shopping centre the previous year.
Police hunt for gangland killer
Police forensics teams establish a crime scene after Pasquale Barbar (inset) was killed. Picture: Bill Hearne.
Police from the NSW Public Order and Riot squad arrive at the scene this morning. Picture: AAP
The crime scene in Earlwood. Picture: Bill Hearne.
“The dead Barbaro from Sydney overnight… was literally born into the Calabrian mafia.
“It’s a trait that’s passed on from father to son,” he said.
Mr Moor said the Calabrian mafia is more active than people might realise in Australia.
“If anyone smoked a joint in the 60s, 70s, 80s — and lets face it a lot of people did — they were lining the pockets of the Calabrian mafia,” he said.
“They gradually got into the heroin trade… then they expanded to ecstasy.
“They basically recognised what the next big thing was in the drug market.”
Police found the man, 35-year-old Pasquale Barbaro, on an Earlwood footpath after being alerted to a shooting at about 9.40pm on Monday.
And a grey Audi Q7 found burned out in Sydney’s inner west could be the getaway car used in the execution-style shooting of a man linked to Sydney’s criminal underworld, say police.
Execution of standover man filmed
Meanwhile, the front door execution in 2013 of standover man Joe Antoun, a known associate of underworld figure George Alex, was captured on CCTV and played for a Sydney courtroom today – hours after Pasquale Barbaro was gunned down outside Alex’s home.
Mr Antoun was gunned down on the doorstep of his Strathfield home in Sydney’s inner west on December 16, 2013, in a contract killing allegedly arranged by Brothers 4 Life boss Farhad Quami and his brother Mumtaz.
Farhad, 34, and Mumtaz Quami, 31, have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Antoun, who worked as a debt collector.
In their trial, CCTV footage was played showing a hooded figure waiting for several minutes before pulling out a handgun and firing several times.
The Daily Telegraph reported Crown Prosecutor Ken McKay SC told their NSW Supreme Court trial before a judge alone Antoun was at home with his wife when a camera showed a man at their front door.
“(Mr Antoun’s wife) went to a window and looked out and saw a person and called out to that person, asking who it was. The person she heard say, ‘It’s Adam. I’ve got a package for Joe’,” Mr McKay said.
“At about this time, Joseph Antoun opened the front door. There was a wire security door which was still closed. As he opened the door, Mr Antoun was shot a number of times and died in his house, it seems very quickly after being.”
The court heard, according to The Daily Telegraph, that before Antoun’s death his former business partner Elias “Les” Elias had agreed to purchase Mimtaz Qaumi’s Erina Kebab House for $190,000.
Mr Elias is in the Philippines, according to a police witness, and declined to provide a statement for the trial.
The confronting CCTV footage was shown hours after Barbaro’s execution this morning outside Mr Alex’s Earlwood home.
CCTV of Joe Antoun shot at his Strathfield home
NSW Police believe it could be linked to the killing of Mr Barbaro. “That vehicle has been towed for forensic examination,” Superintendent David Johnson told reporters.
Supt Johsonn said the victim, who had been visiting someone in the street, had been “shot a number of times”.
Police are now appealing for witnesses to come forward so homicide investigators can piece together a chain of events that includes the Audi. Supt Johnson acknowledges some of the victim’s associates might not be keen to contact police.
“Given the sort of nefarious activities these people are engaged in, clearly it is in their best interests to come forward and speak to police,” he added. “These people [the shooters] are dangerous people.”
Early investigations suggest it was a targeted attack and Larkhall Street was cordoned off today as forensic teams examined the area.
Barbaro’s grandfather and cousin were both killed in gangland hits and there had been unconfirmed rumours Pasquale Barbaro was an informant for the NSW Crime Commission.
Pasquale Barbaro’s grandfather Peter Pasquale Barbaro and his cousin Pat Barbaro
Gabriela Pintos lives at the end of street and said she heard gunshots late at night.
“We heard the gunshots … another maybe four gunshots and a couple of minutes later there was someone screaming,” she told AAP.
Another resident told AAP he heard as a many as seven really loud bangs in two bursts and saw a car speed away.
“You knew straight away what it was … I looked out the front and saw a car speed off,” the man, who wanted to be identified as John, said. Witnesses also reported seeing a car with three or four men wearing hoodies parked nearby ahead of the shooting.
He ‘may have broken the mafia code’
Barbaro may have been gunned down in Sydney because he was talking to the authorities, according to a journalist who’s written a book on the Barbaro family.
Journalist Keith Moor says the latest Pasquale Barbaro to die might have been killed for the same reason his grandfather was – he may have been “telling tales outside of school and breaking the code”.
“There could be other motives but that is a line of inquiry the homicide squad in Sydney will be pursuing,” the author of Busted told ABC TV.
Moor believes Monday night’s shooting could be difficult to solve because traditionally the Calabrian mafia are reluctant to talk to authorities. “I’m presuming that none of the Barbaro family will be willing to help police,” he said.
“They’ll probably do their own investigation into what happened.” The journalist said the problem for police trying to crack down on the Barbaros was that, as soon as one was knocked down, another seemed to pop up. “That’s been going on for generations,” he said.
Mr Assaad was a key suspect in the execution of standover man Walid Ahmad at a Bankstown shopping centre in April.
Infamous underworld figure Jason Moran and Past Barbaro were gunned down in Essendon in 2003.
That killing was thought to be in retaliation for the shooting homicide of Safwan Charbaji outside a nearby panel beater two weeks earlier. Pasquale Barbaro’s grandfather Peter Pasquale Barbaro was gunned down in Brisbane in 1990 while his cousin Pat Barbaro was shot dead in acar park in Melbourne in 2003.
The Pasquale Barbaro sentenced in 2012 jail over the world’s biggest ecstasy bust.
Michael Atkins tells police where he buried Matthew Leveson’s body
JANET FIFE-YEOMANS, The Daily Telegraph
12 minutes ago
A MAN acquitted of murdering his young lover has told police where he buried the body.
Detectives have spent two days at the Royal National Park south of Sydney with electrician Michael Atkins as he has finally broken his silence on what happened to the body of Matt Leveson, 20, and has taken police to his possible grave sites.
Police have also requested help from the rescue squad to provide a drone to help search the rugged bushland.
The inquest into Matt’s disappearance in 2007, after he left a Sydney nightclub with Mr Atkins, has been adjourned today pending the shock development.
Matt’s family, Mark and Faye Leveson, were with their other two sons at Glebe Coroners Court today as they waited for the news they had hoped for — where their son’s body is so they can bring him home to bury him.
Mr Atkins was acquitted in 2009 by a jury of the murder and manslaughter of Matt, with whom he lived at Cronulla.
He was compelled to give evidence at the inquest but given immunity from prosecution if he told the truth at the inquest into what happened to Matt — but on Friday he admitted to having lied to the court about his police interview.
SEPTEMBER 23, 2007
Matthew Leveson was last seen leaving ARQ nightclub at Surry Hills about 2am
SEPTEMBER 25, 2007
Matthew Leveson, aged 20, reported missing by concerned relatives after he failed to arrive at work and could not be contacted.
SEPTEMBER 27, 2007
Matthew Leveson’s car found by police at Waratah Oval in Sutherland.
Michael Atkins acquitted by a jury of Mr Leveson’s murder and manslaughter
A $100,000 reward was announced for information leading to the discovery of Matthew Leveson’s body.
Police have launched a search in the Royal National Park, south of Sydney, in connection with an ongoing investigation into missing man Matthew Leveson.
It is understood that police used Mr Atkins confession to having lied as leverage to get him to confess to where Matt’s body is.
He had told police when he was interviewed after Matt’s disappearance, he claimed to have been asleep in the couple’s flat and woke up to find Matt missing but he was confronted with CCTV footage of him buying a mattock and duct tape at Taren Point Bunnings.
The receipt for the purchase with Mr Atkins fingerprint on it was found in Matt’s car which was discovered at Waratah Oval five days after he disappeared.
Mr Atkins had first told the inquest last week that he had told police the truth in the interview.
Then on Friday he admitted that he had lied to them because he was “scared” of them — and therefore lied to the inquest.
Matthew Leveson: Michael Atkins loses appeal, must give evidence at inquest into lover’s death
Michael Atkins, who was acquitted of murdering his lover Matthew Leveson, must give evidence at a coronial inquest into the younger man’s death in 2007, a NSW appeal judge has said.
Mr Atkins was the last person to see Mr Leveson alive,outside the Sydney nightclub Arq in September 2007.
Mr Leveson’s body has never been found.
Mr Atkins was later acquitted of murder and manslaughter.
He exercised his right to silence during his trial in 2009 and is expected to give evidence about the matter for the first time.
Deputy State Coroner Elaine Truscott ordered Mr Atkins to address the inquest, and he appealed against the order in the Supreme Court.
In dismissing his case, Justice Lucy McCallum said:
“The right to silence is, of course, important. But so is the coroner’s jurisdiction.”
Under an order given by the coroner, Mr Atkins’ evidence cannot be used against him in a criminal trial.
‘We just want to bring Matt home’
Mr Leveson’s mother, Faye Leveson, cried outside the Supreme Court and begged Atkins’ family to encourage him to reveal anything he knew.
“It’s our world, it’s our family” she said.
“How do you tell your other two boys, how do you tell them you can’t give them their brother back? It’s just not fair.”
Ms Leveson said she hoped the inquest would help the family locate her son’s remains.
“We just want to bring Matt home. That’s all we want,” she said.
Mr Atkins will give evidence at the coronial inquest at Glebe Coroner’s Court on October 31.
First posted 12 Oct 2016, 11:36am
Matt Leveson inquest: Witness tells of threesomes with Michael Atkins, the man acquitted of missing man’s murder
Janet Fife-Yeomans, The Daily Telegraph
December 15, 2015 6:23am
HIS arms around his young partner, this is Michael Atkins and Matt Leveson on their last night together.
It was taken at Darlinghurst’s Arq nightclub in September 2007 and just hours later Matt, 22, would be missing and Mr Atkins, 52, would later be charged and acquitted of his murder.
Their friend, given the pseudonym John Burns, has told the inquest into Matt’s death how he took this photograph at Arq either late on September 23 or early on September 24, 2007.
It has been tendered to the inquest at Glebe Coroners Court today.
Mr Burns told the inquest of his sexual threesomes with the couple.
He said he only had sex with his friend Matt Leveson, 20, and Matt’s partner Michael Atkins, 52, because he wanted to get closer to Mr Leveson.
Mr Burns is believed to be the last person to have spoken to Matt, albeit by text message, before he went “missing” after leaving Darlinghurst’s Arq Nightclub with Mr Atkins in the early hours of Sunday September 23, 2007.
Mr Atkins, who the inquest has heard lied to police about being at home later that Sunday when he was caught on CCTV buying a mattock and duct tape from Bunnings, was charged with Matt’s murder but acquitted by a jury in 2009.
Mr Leveson’s body has never been found.
Mr Atkins, now living in Brisbane, did not give evidence at his trial but he has been subpoenaed to give evidence at the inquest. He is sitting in a Sydney courtroom packed with Matt’s family and friends listening to the evidence of Mr Burns.
Mr Burns told the inquest that Mr Atkins used to “hit on” the young men at Arq by giving them free drugs — ecstasy and GHB.
He said the three men had sex together twice and after that, he noticed a difference in the relationship between Matt and Mr Atkins who had been living together in Mr Atkins’ Cronulla unit.
He said Matt did not appear to want to be around Mr Atkins as much and there was an “obvious distance” between them.
On the evening of September 22, 2007, he met up with Matt and Mr Atkins at Arq where Matt was his usual energetic, happy self, bouncing around to the music, he said.
The inquest has heard that Mr Atkins told police that he had take Matt home because he was sleepy but Mr Burns said Matt had told him he did not want to leave the nightclub.
In one of a series of text messages, Matt told Mr Burns that Mr Atkins was “taking me home and won’t let me stay!”
In another text, Matt said: “He needs to f***ing get over himself.”
Mr Burns told the inquest that Matt had earlier told him that Mr Atkins was very controlling and he had not been able to go out on his own since their relationship began.
THE jury in the Gable Tostee trial has asked whether language should be “considered as force” while deliberating the fate of the accused murderer.
The jury’s fourth note to Justice John Byrne was revealed this afternoon.
After Justice Byrne read out the note before the jury, he replied: “The short answer to the question is no”.
“Let me provide some elaboration so that you can be confident that I have addressed the concern that apparently prompts the question,” he said.
“The prosecution does not suggest that it can exclude any of the four defences raised for your consideration that concerned the use the force by the accused in reliance of what he said, as distinct from what he did, in the three particularised episodes.
“That is, the potential availability of the defences is concerned with the physical force used by the the accused in the three acts particularised not with any menace that might have been presented by the words the accused used that accompanied the use of force by him.”
The jury has retired again to deliberate.
EARLIER: The jury in the murder trial of Gable Tostee are entering their third day of deliberations after previously stating they were struggling to reach a unanimous verdict.
Tostee has arrived at the Brisbane Supreme Court this morning.
OVERNIGHT: JURORS in accused balcony killer Gable Tostee’s murder trial have been ordered to continue deliberating despite telling the judge yesterday they were unable to reach a verdict.
Justice John Byrne said discharging a jury was a last resort and told them to keep trying.
His direction came after they handed him a note saying they were struggling to reach a decision on Tostee’s innocence or guilt over the death of Warriena Wright, who plunged to her death from his Surfers Paradise high-rise balcony in August 2014.
It was the third note jurors had written to the judge since retiring about 12.30pm Monday.
The other notes related to questions they wanted clarified, including whether to take into account Ms Wright’s intoxication and state of mind before she climbed over his balcony and fell.
“I have a note indicating that so far you have not been able to reach a verdict,” Justice Byrne told the jury about 3.10pm yesterday.
“Let me say this, you are entitled to take as long as you wish to reach your verdict.
“I have the power to discharge you from giving a verdict, but I should only exercise it if I am satisfied that there is no likelihood of genuine agreement being reached after further deliberations.
“Experience has shown that juries can often agree if given enough time to consider and to discuss the issues.”
The jury spent an extra hour late yesterday trying to reach a verdict before asking the judge to send them home for the night.
They had earlier asked the judge to clarify several issues, including Tostee’s age, a long silver item he appeared to be holding as he exited a lift after Ms Wright fell as well as the role of her intoxication and state of mind.
In response to another question, Justice Byrne told the jury they must find Tostee not guilty of murder or manslaughter unless they were persuaded beyond reasonable doubt that he used more force than reasonably necessary to remove Ms Wright.
Justice Byrne said putting Ms Wright on to the balcony constituted removing her from the property under a homeowner’s right to eject a disorderly person.
He also repeated his advice on what the jury must find to prove manslaughter and murder.
THE jury that will determine whether Gable Tostee killed his Tinder date Warriena Wright in August 2014 has retired to consider its verdict.
The judge presiding over the trial delivered his final directions to jurors this morning, before sending them out to consider their verdict shortly after 12.30pm.
Addressing jurors on a range of arguments that arose at trial, Justice John Byrne urged them not to consider Tostee’s conduct after Warriena Wright fatally plunged from his balcony as any indicator of guilt.
CCTV footage of Gable Tostee on the night she fell from his Gold Coast apartment.Source:News Corp Australia
He was then also seen wandering aimlessly around Surfers Paradise for an hour and a half, stopping at one point to buy and eat pizza.
In his final address to the jury today, Justice Byrne said Tostee’s behaviour after Ms Wright died was irrelevant to their deliberations.
“It would be wrong for you to use any of the evidence of what he did as advancing the prosecution case for murder or manslaughter and I direct you not to,” he said.
Ms Wright plunged to her death from Tostee’s 14th floor Gold Coast apartment after Tostee locked her on his balcony.
She was attempting to climb to the balcony below when she fell.
Crown prosecutor Glen Cash argued the 26-year-old was fleeing in “abject terror” after Tostee strangled her inside his apartment. The alleged strangling happened after Ms Wright threw rocks at Tostee.
Gable Tostee leaves the Supreme Court in Brisbane. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt Source: AAP
Defence barrister Saul Holt argued Tostee put an “increasingly erratic” Ms Wright onto the balcony, in a bid to de-escalate a violent situation that had erupted between the pair.
Tostee has pleaded not guilty to both murder and the alternative lesser charge of manslaughter.
Justice Byrne addressed the six men and six women of the jury on a range of issues, including whether or not Tostee intended to cause Ms Wright grievous bodily harm, which caused her to undertake the act that led to he death.
“The burden rests with the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused,” he said.
“If you are left with a reasonable doubt, your duty is to acquit.”
He also reminded jurors their task was an intellectual one, not an emotional one.
“You should dismiss all sympathy and prejudice, no such emotion has any place in your position,” he said.
The timeline of the night Gable Tostee’s Tinder date fell 14 storeys to her death reveals the first phone call he made was not to triple-zero, but to a lawyer.
CCTV captures Tostee meeting Wright
Footage has surfaced of Gable Tostee meeting Warriena Wright for the first time only hours before the young woman plunged 14 floors to her death. Vision courtesy Nine Network.
CCTV footage played at Mr Tostee’s murder trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court shows he left the high-rise apartment via the basement car park just after Warriena Wright died in the early hours of August 8, 2014.
In their initial chat, Tostee told Ms Wright on the app, “You look delicious. I want to do dirty things to you.”
He also asked her whether she was a “freak in the sheets”.
“Let’s get drunk together, I’m a pornstar after a few drinks!” Tostee said.
Ms Wright was in Australia for a two-week holiday to attend a friend’s wedding.
It’s not alleged Tostee threw or pushed her, but that he intimidated her so greatly she felt the only way she could escape was to climb down from the balcony after he had locked her out.
In an audio recording Tostee made on his mobile phone, which captured the moment Ms Wright died, he is heard telling his father he put her on the balcony because she was “beating him up”.
Forensic medical officer Nelle Van Buuren told the court Tostee had abrasions on his cheek, nose, shoulder and knee when he was examined on the afternoon of August 8 but was not able to say what caused them or how old they were.
What is thought to be Tostee’s blood was also found on a small, white decorative rock he claims Ms Wright threw at him, the court heard.
DNA expert Emma Caunt said a man’s DNA was found under Ms Wright’s fingernails but could not identify whose it was.
Neighbours have testified at the trial to hearing a woman’s terrified screams as well as a man and a woman arguing, before Ms Wright fell from the 14th floor and ricocheted off balconies below.
The prosecution case is expected to close on Thursday after a Gold Coast pathologist gives evidence.
Timeline of Warriena Wright’s final night
Based on CCTV and audio recording exerts tendered in murder trial
Thursday, August 7, 2014
8:46pm – Gable Tostee and Warriena Wright meet for their Tinder date on Cavill Ave, Gold Coast.
8:50pm – Mr Tostee buys a six-pack of beer from BWS.
8.53pm – They get into lift at his block of units. Last time Ms Wright is seen alive.
Friday, August 8, 2014
Mr Tostee starts recording audio on his mobile phone at 1.05am
2.14am – Mr Tostee: “You have to leave.” Ms Wright: “It’s all good.” Tostee: “You’re f—ing insane.”
2.15am – Mr Tostee: “You’re lucky I haven’t chucked you off my balcony, you goddamn little psycho b—-.”
2.17am – Mr Tostee: “I’m gonna let you go, I’m gonna walk you out of this apartment just the way you are. You’re not going to collect any belongings, you’re just going to walk out. I’m gonna slam the door on you. If you try to pull anything I’ll knock you out, I’ll knock you the f— out.”
Heavy breathing then crashing sound
2.20am – Mr Tostee: “You just don’t understand. Let go! You think if you hit me I’ll just fall down like in the movies?”
Ms Wright: (screaming) “No, no, no, no, no. Just let me go home.”
Mr Tostee: “I would but you have been a bad girl.”
Ms Wright: (screaming) “I want to go home, I want to go home.”
Distant scream followed by loud heavy breathing
2.22am – Mr Tostee: “Shit.” (call goes to voicemail) “Where the f— are my keys?”
2.23am – Gets out of lift on ground floor, paces around, goes back in.
2.25am – Gets out of lift in basement, leaves building via car park.
3.07am – Mr Tostee continues walking around Gold Coast entertainment precinct.
3.11am – Orders and eats pizza from Cavill Ave shop.
Mr Tostee calls father
Mr Tostee: “Hello dad, might have a bit of a situation … I locked her out on the balcony and I think she might have jumped. I’ve been walking around and there’s million cops around my building … I swear to god I didn’t push her. I just chucked her out on the balcony because she was beating me up … why does s— happen to me, I didn’t do anything wrong.”
3.44am – Mr Tostee picked up by father Gray Tostee in car.
Mr Tostee: “Oh my god, I hope she’s not dead.”
Gable Tostee trial: Supreme Court jury retires to consider verdict in murder case
Justice Byrne this morning told the jury the burden of proving the crime rested solely with the crown, and the defence had to prove nothing, let alone Tostee’s innocence.
“You may only draw an inference of guilt if it so overcomes any other possible inference as to leave no reasonable doubt in your minds,” he said.
“If you are left with a reasonable doubt about guilt your duty is to acquit, that is to find the accused not guilty.
“If you are not left with any such doubt, your duty is to convict, that is find him guilty.
“You should dismiss all feelings of sympathy or prejudice.”
He urged the jury to treat “context evidence”, such as CCTV of Tostee leaving his apartment via his basement or wandering the streets alone afterwards, with caution.
“It would be wrong for you to use any of the evidence of what the accused did over this period as advancing the prosecution case on murder or manslaughter.
Crown, defence offer closing addresses
The crown and defence delivered their closing addresses to the jury on Friday, both sides describing an audio recording of the night retrieved from Tostee’s mobile phone as the critical piece of evidence in the case.
Prosecutor Glen Cash QC argued while Ms Wright had probably unlawfully assaulted Tostee just prior to being locked out, his response was disproportionate and unlawful.
He said Tostee’s intimidating conduct left Ms Wright feeling like she had no means of escape other than scaling the balcony.
Mr Cash said the “panic and desperation” in Ms Wright’s voice moments before she fell “[spoke] more powerfully than [he] ever could about the cause of her death”.
But the defence argued the crown case was “nonsensical”, and Ms Wright, who had been erratic and “out of control” during the evening, had essentially decided to “climb to certain death”.
Barrister Saul Holt QC said Tostee had ordered Ms Wright to leave his apartment via the front door, but she hit him with the metal part of a telescope, after which he grabbed her and put her behind the “nearest lockable door”.
He said Ms Wright climbed over the balcony railing just seconds after, something that was neither rational nor reasonably foreseeable.
Mr Holt told the jury it was irrelevant whether they thought it was “weird” or morally questionable for Tostee to record the date, “but thank goodness he did
Court released original Tinder exchanges today. here is how they hooked up
Tostee and Wright’s Tinder exchanges
Tinder messages sent between Gable Tostee and Warriena Wright between August 1-7.
Note: Warriena uses the name “Cletus” in some online profiles.
Tostee: Hey you sexy slack jawed yokel
Warriena: Lol Hey. Had a few people (think) that’s my real name…
Tostee: Is it? Gable and Cletus sitting in a tree…
Warriena: Sounds good lol
Tostee: You look delicious. I want to do dirty things to you
Warriena: That usually work?
Tostee: Haha, not trying to make anything “work”, I’m just saying. Got a problem with that? :p
Warriena: Lol fair enough. I was just asking :p
Tostee: So you’re down with that then? Can you be a freak in the sheets Cletes? (sic)
Warriena: Lol probably not. Depends.
Tostee: What does it depend on?
Warriena: What I’ve had to drink! Lol.
Tostee: Let’s get drunk together, I’m a pornstar after a few drinks!
Warriena: Hah that’s great…
Warriena: U in gold coast?
Tostee: Yup you?
Warriena: Yeah. Just exploring surfers
Tostee: Lol I live in surfers. How long you down for?
Warriena: Till Monday
Tostee: Let’s get together then 🙂 what’s your number by the way?
Warriena: (provides phone number)
Quotes and description from recording of Tostee and Ms Wright:
1:06am Ms Wright: “I know you want to kill me because you told me so.”
1:08am Tostee says he does not think there is anything after death. Tostee: “Throw me off the balcony and that is it. This is it, boom.”
1:19am Music still playing in the background and soft sounds of groaning in background.
1:21am Ms Wright: “You do have to do shit to me.”
1:23am Tostee: “Ow.”
1:29am Tostee: “I don’t like getting beaten up.”
1:36am Tostee: “There is a tonne of your stuff here. Hey I didn’t say you have to leave, I said that you have to stop beating me up.” Heated conversation.
1:36am Ms Wright: “…I will f***ing destroy your jaw. It is not f***ing funny.”
1:38am Tostee: “I should have never given you so much to drink. I thought that we were going to have fun?”
1:39am Tostee: “I don’t deserve this shit, OK. I am a nice f***ing guy.
1:39am Tostee: “Do you even remember what you were doing to me half an hour ago? You were beating me up for no reason.” Ms Wright: “Exactly.” Tostee: “You thought it was funny or something. Why were you beating me up? Ms Wright: “I am gone, I will be out of your hair see you later. I am going.” Ms Wright produces a phone, stating: “See you later.” Tostee: “You are such a drama queen.”
1:41am Tostee asks if they can “sit down and discuss this”. Ms Wright says she is a freak. Tostee says he is going to have bruises, asks Ms Wright to stay the night. Tostee says he is the most tolerant person she would meet, “but you are just a bit violent”. Tostee offers to cook something, asking Ms Wright if she wants something to eat.
1:48am Ms Wright: “Don’t be a dick, don’t be a dick.”
Tostee: “I’m not being a dick.”
Ms Wright asks if she can go over to the window and have a look.
Tostee: “Don’t jump off or anything.”
Ms Wright: “No.”
2:10am Sounds of a struggle and ruffling sound of recording device. Ms Wright: “That really hurt my vagina.” More struggling and male laughter. Ms Wright: “You sound like a faggot.”
2:12am Tostee: “All right I give up, what do you want?” Loud bang. Tostee: “Ow.”
2:14am Tostee: “You are not my kind of girl. That is enough. You have worn out your welcome. You have to leave.” Ms Wright: “OK, it’s all good.” Tostee: “You have to leave.”
2:15am Tostee: “I thought you were kidding and I have taken enough. This is f***ing bullshit. You are lucky I haven’t chucked you off my balcony you goddamn psycho little bitch.”
2:17am Tostee: “You’re a goddamn psycho. I am going to let you go. I am going to walk you out of this apartment just the way you are. You are not going to collect any of your belongings you are just going to walk out and I am going to slam the door on you do you understand. If you try and pull anything. I’ll knock you out. I’ll knock you the f*** out. Do you understand? Do you understand? Do you understand?”
Tostee: “Come on Get up. Get up.”
Ms Wright: “I am so sorry.
Tostee: “I don’t care … you don’t understand do you? You don’t understand anything at all, do you? You don’t understand, do you?” Sounds of a struggle. Tostee: “Let go. You think that you hit me and I was going to fall down like in the movies. Let go of it. Let go. Let Go. Let go.”
2:19am Sounds consistent with door unlocking and then female states “No”. Possible sound of glass door being hit.
2:20am Tostee: “Who the f*** do you think you are? Hey?”
Ms Wright: “No, no, no … No! No, no. No.”
Tostee: “You tried to kill me huh? Well why did you try and hit me with that. Huh? Shut your filthy mouth.”
Ms Wright: “No. No. No No. No (screaming).”
Tostee: “It is all on recording you know. It is all being recorded.”
Ms Wright: “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Just let me go home.”
Tostee: “I would but you have been a bad girl.”
Ms Wright: “Just let me go home. Just let me go home. Just let me go home. Just let me go home.”
2:21am Faint screaming detected. Tostee heard breathing very heavily. He makes a call on his mobile phone. Tostee: “Shit.”
2:22am Tostee: “Where the f*** are my keys?”
The Gold Coast man is accused of killing Warriena Tagpuno Wright, who he met on the dating app Tinder while she was visiting Australia.
Ms Wright was on a two-week vacation to attend a friend’s wedding and met Tostee, a carpet layer, at the end of her trip.
The 26-year-old was found dead at the base of the high-rise Avalon Apartments unit in Surfers Paradise in the early hours of August 8, 2014.
She had fallen from the 14th floor balcony of Tostee’s unit.
Tostee was arrested at his parents’ house and charged with murder the following week.
He has pleaded not guilty and will be represented by high-profile barrister Saul Holt QC.
The Brisbane Supreme Court is expected to be packed on Monday morning when the trial starts before Justice John Byrne.
It is expected to take seven to eight days.
Warriena Wright’s final tragic hours
Gold Coast Bulletin
THIS is the alleged recording of Gable Tostee and Warriena Wright’s final hours together in his Surfers Paradise apartment.
WARNING: Content may distress.
THE NIGHT TOGETHER
12.56.30am: Music heard. It is James Blunt’s Nights Like These.
12.57am: Male: “Don’t go baby, please.”
12.58am: Drinks poured.
1.02am: Male asks female to come here and chill and have a drink. Repeats to chill, have a drink. Male says that everything on him is good looking. Female: “I am psycho drunk and not to test her.”
1.03.30am: Male: “Shut up or I will make you come again. Female: “Shut up or I will beat you up. You look like Sam.”
1.05.30am: Male: “Do you want to come to my work tomorrow?” Female: “Do you want to come to my family tomorrow?”
Male: “You can help me lay carpet. You can help me tell my mum I am not a loser …”
1.07am: Female: “I know you want to kill me because you told me so.” Reference to dying from smoking.
1.08am: Further conversation about galaxies and travel to Alice Springs. Conversation about religion and gods.
1.09am: Male says that he “doesn’t think there is anything after death”. “Throw me off the balcony and that is it. This is it, boom.”
1.12am: Male: “Don’t touch them. You love them rocks.” Female: “Are you a god?” Male replies that yes he is. He is Zeus. He tells her to relax.
1.13am: Female says she is talking about gods. Male says there are no gods. She again calls him Zeus.
1.14am: Female says she is going to go vampire on his ass. Conversation about Reza. Male: “Stay right there.”
1.15am: Female: “You are dead and I hate you.”
1.16am: Conversation about her dead dog.
Male: “Don’t hurt me, I am defenceless.”
1.19.30am: After minutes of laughing and hitting in the background, male is heard to say “Ow”.
1.20.30am: Music still playing in the background amid soft sounds of groaning.
1.26.30am: Male: “I should walk you home.”
1.27am: Male: “Stop that.” Female: “Oh my god you are like a Christian.” Further inaudible conversations.
1.28.30am: Female: “Don’t be a (expletive) to me.” … Inaudible conversation … Male: “I don’t want to like have to muscle you.”
1.31am: Male: “Just be nice.” Inaudible conversation. Conversation is calm.
1.33.30: Male: “Come here.” Female: “Have a good night.” Male: “Do you want me to walk you back home.” Moves closer to the recording device. Sounds of ruffling and female is heard to say “have a good night” and male states “no (inaudible) I’ll take care of you in the morning.”
1.35.30am: Music stops.
1.36am: Female: “Where is my sister’s (expletive). Where is all my (expletive) data? Where is my iPhone?” Male: “Do you want me to ring it?” Female: “Yes, I would love you to (expletive) ring it.”
1.36.30am: Male: “There is a ton of your stuff here. Hey I didn’t say you have to leave. I said that you have to stop beating me up.” Heated conversation.
1.37am: Female: “Are you going to (expletive) untie me because I will (expletive) destroy your jaw. It is not (expletive) funny.”
Female: “Get it for me. Male: “No, you get it.” Female: “I am going to call the police.”
1.37.30am: Repeats she is going to call the police.
1.38am: Male: “Cmon Cletus.”
1.38.30am: Female: “I am going to call the police.” Male: “What are you looking for? Where is my money. How are you going to call the police without your phone?”
Female: “You stole my (expletive) phone.” Male: “I should have never given you so much to drink. I thought that we were going to have fun?”
1.39am: Male: “I don’t deserve this (expletive), OK. I am a nice (expletive) guy.” Sound of a beep (phone).
1.39.30am: Male: “Your phone must be out of battery” … “it must be out on the balcony.”
Male: “Please calm down please. You have had too much to drink. I had (expletive) loads of money.” Female states that she “(expletive) rules in New Zealand but she gets taken advantage of. It is not (expletive) funny”.
1.40am: Male: “Do you even remember what you were doing to me half an hour ago?
“You were beating me up for no reason.” Female: “Exactly.” Male: “You thought it was funny or something. Why were you beating me up?” Female: “I am gone. I will be out of your hair, see you later. I am going.” Then produces the phone. Female: “See you later.” Male: “You are such a drama queen.”
1.40.10am: Call to deceased, six seconds.
1.41am: Male asks if we can sit down and discuss this. Female says she is a freak. Male says that he is going to get bruises. He asks the female to stay the night and says he is the most tolerant person he would meet, adding “but you are just a bit violent.” Male offers to cook something. Male again asks if she wants something to eat.
1.45am: Male asks how long the female is living on the Gold Coast. Female: “Geez, god didn’t want me here for long, he has kicked me out already.”
1.45.30am: Female says that “Myjambu did not say anything.” Male asks if it is a Maori god. Calm conversation.
1.46:30: Conversation about Procifany and Greek gods and mythology.
1.48am: Female asks if she can go over to the window and have a look. Male: “Don’t jump off or anything.” Female: “No.” Further inaudible conversation.
1.49am: Male says people with white coats are going to come in and the states that she would jump off the balcony. He says he is totally flattered that his vodka has had this effect on her.
1.49.30am: Male: “Just come here, I just want to cuddle you. Male states I just want to snuggle you. Door shuts and possible toilet seat going down. Possibility that female is in the toilet.
1.51.am: Male whispers into the recording device, “God help me, (expletive).”
1.52.30am: Female calls male a social demon.
1.53am: Male asks if she got the photos he sent her. “Our balcony photos. You are so much more drunker than me. I need to catch up.”
1.53.30am: Ruffling sounds. Drink poured. Male: “That is like vodka on the rocks. That is yours.
1.56.30am: Female: “That is horrible. I am going to leave that there.”
1.57am: Male states that his mum is in Adelaide because his pa died. Died of cancer. Conversation about male finding out about his pop dying.
1.57.30am: Doesn’t think he has been so sad before.
2.02.30am: Female: “UK men are funnier and have bigger (expletive).” Male: “Not bigger than mine.” Conversation continues. Male asks if his is the “biggest”.
2.03.30am: Male: “Hey hey hey, no violence.” Then laughs and says “What are you doing Cletus?” and “enjoy that”. Female: “Cheers.”
2.05.30am: Male tells “Cletus to chill out”. He says “it is not cool here and he will fix that (expletive)”.
Possible pouring, drinking. Male asks to promise that she does not beat him up. Asks her to sleep next to him.
2.09am: Male states that if she “was going to go all kung fu on me then I will kick your (expletive)”. Calm conversation.
2.11am: Sound of a struggle and ruffling sound of recording device. Female: “That really hurt my vagina.” More struggling and male laughing, to which female replies: “You sound like a (expletive)”.
2.12am: Male states she is insane. Sounds of background clicking. Male: “They are not real they are only fake.”
2.12.30am: Male: “Who is Sam.” Says “ow” again, before “I’ll bow down to Sam. I will do what you want. I will be your sex slave (possibly having rocks thrown)”.
2.14am: “That is enough.” Female: “No seriously, I have to have a (expletive).”
Male: You are not my kind of girl. That is enough. You have worn out your welcome. You have to leave. Female says OK, it is all good. Female out of breath. Male states ‘you have to leave’. Female replies ‘OK. It’s all good’. I thought you were a nice girl.
2.14.30am: Male says — Yeah it is you are (expletive) insane.
CHOKING SOUNDS AND THE FATAL PLUNGE
2.15am: Male states I think you are kidding but you are not. Go on right now. Male states — I do need a sample of DNA.
2.15.30am: Male states — I thought you were kidding and I have taken enough. This is (expletive) (expletive). Male states — you are lucky I haven’t chucked you off my balcony you god damn psycho little (expletive). Male states — who the (expletive) do you think you … I am. Yeah do your Muay Thai now.
2.16am: What. What — got something to say- say it. Female breathing heavily. Female states (unintelligible) sexist. Male relies yeah right. I am the one who is injured. You don’t have a god damn scratch on you.
2.16.30am: Male states I thought that you were just playing around but I am (expletive) sick of this (expletive). You’re a god damn psycho. I am going to let you go. I am going to walk you out of this apartment just the way you are. You are not going to collect any of your belongings you are just going to walk out and I am going to slam the door on you, do you understand? If you try and pull anything. I’ll knock you out, I’ll knock you the (expletive) out. Do you understand? Do you understand? Do you understand?
2.17.30am: Cmon, get up. Get up. Female states — I am so sorry. Male states I don’t care. Struggling — male — you don’t understand do ya. You don’t understand anything at all do you. Struggle. Male states ‘let go’. You think that you hit me and I was going to fall down like in the movies. More laboured breathing sounds. Male states let go of it. Let go. Let go. More choking sounds.
2.18am: First choking sounds.
2.18.30am: Still laboured breathing sounds. Breathing slows. Male: “Let it go.”
2.19.30am: Sound of something dropping (metallic)
2.20am: Sound consistent with door unlocking. Female: “No.” Possible sound of glass door being hit.
2.20.30am: Male: “Who the (expletive) do you think you are? Hey?” Female: “No, no, no.”
Male: “You tried to kill me huh?” Male: “Well, why did you try and hit me with that. Huh? Shut your filthy mouth.”
Female: “No, no, no, no, no. (Screaming).”
Male: “It is all on recording you know. It is all being recorded. Female: “Just let me go home.” Male: “I would but you have been a bad girl.” Sound of door sliding shut.
2.21am: “Just let me go home. Just let me go home.” Last words of “just let me go home”. Male heavy breathing. Faint scream detected.
2.21.30am: Very heavy breathing from male.
In documents filed ahead of Gable Tostee’s Supreme Court bail application on Monday, police claim Warriena Wright struggled for breath and was taunted in the seconds before her death.
2.21.50am: Male makes call to lawyer Mick Purcell. Call made from handset. “(Expletive).” Call not connected.
2.22am: Male: “Where the (expletive) are my keys?”
2.23am: “Expletive, expletive, expletive.”
2.23.30am: “Oh my god.” Sound of getting dressed, pulling jeans up.
2.26am: Sound of sirens in the background.
2.26.30am: Sound of lift button.
2.28.30am: Walking noises. Footsteps.
2.39.30am: Walking stops.
2.24.13am: Call to deceased.
2.42am: Walking starts again.
2.47am: Call to Purcell.
2.49am: Screen shot taken of phone with images of deceased. Call to deceased.
3.10.30am: Male: “Um a piece of supreme please.”
3.11.30am: Paper rustling. (Eating pizza).
THE PHONE CALL
3.23am: Makes phone call. “Hello dad. I might have a bit of a situation. See um I met up with a girl for a date tonight and she started getting really aggressive. It was all right at first and like we, you know, had sex in bed and she kept drinking. We were both drinking and I think that she thought that it was like a joke or something and she kept like beating me up and whatever. It was cos she was really drunk and whatever and I like forced her out on the balcony and I think that she might have jumped off.”
Dad: “Oh no.”
3.23.30am: Male: “Like I have been walking around and there are a million cops around my building. I’m (expletive). I don’t know what to do.”
Dad: “Where are you? At your unit?”
Male: “I didn’t cause this, like I didn’t push her. There are a million cops in the area.”
Dad: “I’ll come and get you OK?”
Male: “It is really (expletive) up. I am like at Dominos. Dad, like this is not my fault.”
3.25am: Call continues … “I don’t know, like I tackled her on my floor inside the building and I never forced her over the balcony.”
Dad: I am sure you wouldn’t, mate.”
Male: I don’t know what the (expletive) happened, it is crazy. I swear to god I didn’t push her, I just chucked her out on the balcony and locked the door because she was beating me up.”
Dad: “I’ll come over now OK?”
3.29am: Call continues. Male: Hang on a sec. What the (expletive). What the (expletive) is this … you know how I said there was something in my pocket. Well it is her phone in my pocket.”
Dad: “Is it her phone?”
Male: “It is her phone, yeah … Dad like what happened was we were drinking and we got into bed together then and after that she just kept drinking and she just kept like I don’t know she was just like beating me up. She thought it was funny or something and I was just like tackled her in the middle of my apartment and I said that it wasn’t funny anymore and blah blah blah.
“Then when I let her go the last thing I remember was she was on the balcony and I don’t know if she jumped or what, I don’t know. It wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t my god damn fault.”
3.46.30am: Call made and connected. “Hey dad, are you nearby. I am seriously freezing.
Dad: “Not far away at all. Male: “Can you stay on the line?” Dad: Yep.”
3.47.30am: Sound of car door opening and seatbelt being placed on.
3.48am: Dad: “We need to ring (lawyer) Bill Potts. Male: “I didn’t do anything. Dad: “I understand. Um the only thing we can do is ring Bill Potts up now. You can’t do anything else but that but you need to do it straight away really. Can you find his number?”
3.48am: Male: “I wish that I had cameras in my unit. I have audio. I tried calling her phone.” Dad: “Don’t call her phone.”
3.49am: Call is made to phone and goes to message bank. Dad: “What are you doing, why did you do that?” Male: “I don’t know.”
3.50am: Call to deceased.
3.51am: “Why does this (expletive) always happen to me. I didn’t ask for this. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, I just invited the girl over. The more she drank …”
Dad: “Was she jealous or something?”
Male: “Me and her had sex and it was like the more that she drank she just got violent for some reason. Dad: “Did she want a more serious relationship or something?” Male: “No, she was like I know Muay Thai blah blah blah and I’ll beat you up for fun rah rah rah and I was like tolerating it for a bit and went ‘yeah stop that’. Last thing that I remember was that I tried holding her down and she ran out on to my balcony. I hope I just imagined it.”
3.51.30am: Call to deceased.
3.52am: I might have locked her out on my balcony cos there is like a lock. I can’t remember what I did but I absolutely did not throw her off my balcony. I would never do anything like that.”
3.52.30am: Dad: “We need to ring up Potts.” Male: “I don’t ask for this (expletive). Why does this (expletive) happen to me?”
Six selfies tendered to the Brisbane Supreme Court on Tuesday showed a smiling Warriena Wright and a shirtless Gable Tostee inside his Gold Coast apartment and gave no hint of the tragic events that were about to unfold in the early hours of August 8, 2014.
They were the last pictures taken of Ms Wright before she plunged to her death from Tostee’s 14th floor balcony.
The 30-year-old carpet layer has pleaded not guilty to Ms Wright’s murder.
Gable Tostee and Warriena Wright.Source:Supplied
Police seized the photos from a camera owned by Tostee that was located inside his apartment.
A witness told the court he witnessed the horror of Ms Wright’s death plunge after being alerted by her scream for help.
From his balcony on the 12th floor, Nick Casey looked up to see Ms Wright hanging over Tostee’s balcony, and tried to yell to her to climb back over.
“I heard her say, ‘I want to go home’, I heard her say, ‘help’ and at that point I said to her, ‘go back inside’ and it wasn’t long after that she fell,” he said.
“She fell straight past where I was standing on the balcony and ricocheted off a few balconies below us and kept going to the ground.”
The images were tendered after the jury in Tostee’s murder trial heard audio recordings the accused made which revealed Ms Wright’s terrified screams.
Tostee can be heard breathing heavily after Ms Wright disappears from his Gold Coast balcony.
He can also be heard attempting to make a phone call that goes unanswered.
He then apparently leaves the apartment building and calls his father, Gray, to come and pick him up.
“Hello Dad, I might have a bit of a situation,” he says.
After explaining what happened, he goes on, “She kept beating me up and whatever and, um, I locked her out on the balcony and I think she might have jumped off.
“There’s a million cops around my building, I’m f***ed.
“I don’t know what to do.
“I didn’t cause this, I didn’t push her or anything.
AN EXPLOSIVE audio recording played in court that captured Warriena Wright’s final hours in Gable Tostee’s Gold Coast apartment has revealed the New Zealander was drunk, at times incomprehensible and repeatedly violent to the man charged with her murder.
“I’ve met some weird people on Tinder,” the 30-year-old murder accused is heard to say, as the drunk Ms Wright apparently swings in and out of violent episodes towards him.
The first part of the secret recording Tostee made of the 26-year-old New Zealander was played to the jury in his murder trial on Monday afternoon.
Ms Wright plunged 14 floors to her death off Tostee’s apartment on August 8, 2014.
The Crown has argued Ms Wright was fleeing for her life when she tried to climb down offTostee’s balcony to the level below and lost her grip. Images of a police re-enactment of Ms Wright’s legs dangling off the balcony were tendered to the court yesterday.
Tostee has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.
A police re-enactment of the scene below Tostee’s apartment as Ms Wright tries to climb down.Source:Supplied
In the expletive-laden tape, which runs for more than three hours, Tostee is heard to repeatedly try to calm Ms Wright down as she becomes aggressive and lashes out at him.
At one point, she accuses him of stealing her phone.
“Where’s my f***ing s***? My f***ing data,” she says.
Asked what it looks like, she yells, “it looks like a f***ing iPhone”.
Ms Wright insists on leaving, but Tostee tries to stop her.
“I didn’t say you have to leave, I just said stop beating me up,” he said.
She asks him again where her things are.
“I will f***ing destroy your jaw. It’s not f***ing funny,” she says.
“Look that’s your stuff right there,” he replies.
“Get it for me. Get it for me. Get it for me,” she yells.
“I’m calling the police, get it for me. Get it for me now.
“I’m going to call the police and they are going to come here. I’m going to call the police … You stole my f***ing phone.”
“I didn’t,” he protests.
“I should never have given you so much to drink.
“I don’t deserve this s***, I’m a nice f***ing guy.”
Child safety service not told Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster father was ‘person of interest’ for months
Yahoo7 News on September 28, 2016, 5:53 am
Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster father and accused killer Rick Thorburn was permitted to run a daycare business for five months after the schoolgirl’s death despite being a person of interest in the investigation, it has been revealed.
Queensland’s Department of Child Safety and Education were not notified that Thorburn was a person of interest in the case until April 2016, and the 56-year-old held a blue card until then, The Courier Mail reports.
Tiahleigh, 12, disappeared on October 30 when Thorburn claimed he dropped her off at school and she failed to come home.
Her body was discovered five days later, washed up on the bank of the Pimpama River.
Police told News Corp last week that Thorburn was a person of interest “from day one”, however the child safety authority was not notified until April, Minister for Child Safety Shannon Fentiman confirmed.
The department was told the Logan man was also facing allegations relating to an 11-year-old girl and four-year-old girl, the Courier Mail reported.
“In April, police notified my department and the Department of Education and Training of alleged criminal activity. This was the first time that concerns were raised about the Thorburns,” Ms Fentiman said last week.
Thorburn was charged over Tiahleigh’s murder and taken into custody on September 20, six weeks before the one-year anniversary of her disappearance.
His son and Tiahleigh’s foster brother Trent Thorburn is also in custody accused of having an incestual relationship with the girl in their Chambers Flat home.
The 19-year-old dancer has reportedly been bashed twice by fellow inmates since being held in the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre.
The Queensland Government ordered a review into the foster care system and blue card services the day after the arrests.
Update September 23, 2016
IT WAS a house of misery where Tiahleigh Palmer spent 10 months of her life before her murder.
The schoolgirl was placed with former truck driver and muscle-car enthusiast Rick Thorburn and his family in the house on an isolated stretch of road at Chambers Flat, a rural pocket of strawberry farms and horse paddocks in the Logan area south of Brisbane.
The seemingly idyllic 2ha property where Tiahleigh made her new home with the Thorburn family is modern, with two bathrooms, a swimming pool, rolling green lawns and horses in the yard.
But inside the four-bedroom brick house just eight minutes from where Tiahleigh was last seen attending her high school, the young girl was allegedly preyed on by her foster brother Trent Thorburn.
The house in Chambers Flat in a rural area where Tiahleigh Palmer spent her last months in 2015.Source: Supplied
An occasional truant, Tiahleigh was well-liked at school.Source :News Corp Australia
Tiahleigh Palmer attended school minutes from the Thorburn’s property.Source:News Corp Australia
Tiahleigh came to live with the Thorburns, Rick and Julene and their sons Trent and Josh in the isolated family farmhouse south of Brisbane before she was murdered.Source: Supplied
The 19-year-old, who lived with his brother Josh, 20, and mother Julene has been charged with incest while Rick Thorburn, 56, has been charged with Tiahleigh’s murder.
Not all was well with the Thorburn family. Following a serious back injury which forced him to give up his job as a truckie, Rick Thorburn had tried a number of jobs to feed his family.
A car enthusiast, he had sold vehicle and engine parts from the property.
He was also a devotee of American culture and came up with the idea to sell US food from a truck he drove to festivals and other events in the Logan area.
A month after Tiahleigh moved into the Thorburn’s home, Rick Thorburn took his food van — which he named Nothing Healthy Here — and travelled around with his sons Trent and Josh selling hot dogs, hot jam doughnuts, churros and pancakes from the van.
This is the house in Flesser Rd at Chambers Flat where Tiahleigh lived with her foster parents.Source:News Corp Australia
The swimming pool at the house rented by the Thorburns.Source: Supplied
Rick Thorburn, at his Chambers Flat home before his arrest. Picture: Liam KidstonSource:News Corp Australia
“We saw the quality of food at other places and decided we could do it bigger and better. We try to keep it unique and we have food you can’t get anywhere else,” he told the Jimboomba Times.
Mr Thorburn said he looked forward to being able to provide guests with a good old-fashioned feed.
“We do sell one healthy thing – water,” he joked in September last year.
Mr Thorburn made the comments almost eight weeks before Tiahleigh Palmer vanished.
While she lived with the Thorburns, Tiahleigh had been attending Marsden State High School, where Chaplain Ian Pratt said she was a free spirit who passionately threw herself into a range of creative pursuits.
The seventh grader was also described as “not always perfect” and an occasional truant from classes, but there was no suggestion of the alleged abuse that was unfolding at her new foster home.
Tiahleigh, 12, lived on the property which is among farms and horse paddocks south of Brisbane.Source: Supplied
Rick Thorburn had lost his trucking job after a back injury and was selling American fare from a food truck. Picture: Liam KidstonSource:News Corp Australia
Tiahleigh Palmer allegedly kept a terrible secret while living at the Thorburn home and attending the local school.Source: Supplied
The Thorburns property looked idyllic, but police allege Tiahleigh was being abused while she lived there.Source: Supplied
Tiahleigh had been placed with the Thorburns after spending a happy three years with a foster mother in Gympie, just over 200km north of the Chambers Flat house where she spent her final months.
The schoolgirl lived with Julie Pemberton in the Logan area for years until December 2014, when Ms Pemberton decided to stop acting as a foster carer.
Tiahleigh had been removed from the care of her biological mother, Cyndi Palmer, who was
in and out of police custody with drug problems between 2011 and 2013.
During that time Tiahleigh had experienced some of the lows of the Queensland foster care system, in which she sometimes stayed with carers for as little as 24 hours before being moved to another home.
Despite living in foster care, Tiahleigh remained close to her mother.
The 12-year-old lived with the Thorburns at this house between January and October last year before she was murdered and her body dumped.Source :Supplied
Police divers found Tiahleigh’s shoe but not her uniform after fishermen discovered her body floating in the Pimpama River. Picture: QPSSource: Supplied
Rick Thorburn, above before his arrest, at the gate of the property his family shared with Tiahleigh Palmer. Picture: Channel 9Source: Supplied
At the time Ms Pemberton gave up her role as a foster carer and Tiahleigh was placed with the Thorburns, Cyndi Palmer had been trying to regain custody of her daughter.
Following Tiahleigh’s murder, Ms Pemberton said that Cyndi Palmer had “got it together” and that she “might have made a few mistakes but she is lovely and absolutely adores her daughter”.
Cyndi Palmer has posted on Facebook that she had endured an “evil” 2011, but had turned her life around but had “learned from it and … well prepared and educated for making 2012 the start of everything I want it to be for my family and I”.
But Tiahleigh’s return to her mother’s care never happened.
After almost a year with the Thorburns and allegedly involved in an incestuous relationship with her foster brother, Tiahleigh was dropped off at Marsden High School at 8.10am on October 30 by Rick Thorburn.
Witnesses say she entered the school briefly, but then left.
Six days later, fishermen found Tiahleigh’s badly decomposed body floating in the Pimpama River, 30km south of where she was last seen.
Police divers found one of Tiahleigh’s shoes, but her school uniform and pink backpack were missing.
Queensland Police have also charged Tiahleigh’s foster mother Julene Thorburn and her son Josh with perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Rick Thorburn is in hospital in an induced coma after an alleged attempt at self harm following his arrest.
Tiahleigh Palmer’s 19-year-old foster-brother told a cousin he’d had sex with the 12-year-old and was worried she was pregnant, a court has heard.
In successfully keeping Trent Jordan Thorburn behind bars, prosecutors argued he had deliberately misled and lied to police throughout the 11-month investigation into the alleged murder of the Logan schoolgirl.
Foster brother admitted sex
The foster-brother of Tiahleigh Palmer is refused bail, charged with incest and lying to police. 7 News Queensland
Police prosecutor Sergeant Ellen French alleged a Facebook Messenger conversation between Mr Thorburn and his cousin two days before Tia went missing showed him disclosing that he’d had sex with her.
“He says he had sex with the victim on the prior Monday and he had only done so because she had threatened to kill his dog,” Sergeant French said, of a conversation that was allegedly handed over to police.
“The defendant said he was concerned about her being pregnant…” she told the court.
“The defendant further outlines the victim had spoken to his mother about it.”
Mr Thorburn’s defence lawyer John Ide argued he should have been granted bail on charges including incest considering his age, lack of criminal history and potential time behind bars awaiting trial.
“He’s a young man with no criminal history whatsoever,” he said.
“In my submission it couldn’t be said he’s an unacceptable risk of any of the things that’s asserted by the prosecution.”
Sergeant French told the court Mr Thorburn had denied any involvement or sexual conduct with Tia on five separate occasions and colluded with his family to mislead police.
“Eventually the defendant has admitted to the authorities that he had lied on multiple occasions in order to conceal the sexual intercourse between himself and Tiahleigh,” she said.
A friend of Tia’s told police the young girl had approached her about a month before her alleged murder, saying “Trent tried to touch me”, Sergeant Ellen alleged.
“She further said that the victim claimed to have disclosed this to her foster-mother,” she said.
Mr Thorburn has been charged with incest, perverting the course of justice and two counts of perjury relating to Crime and Corruption Commission hearings in July and September this year.
Prosecutors argued he was “highly likely” to interfere with witnesses and “would attempt in every way shape and form to evade and avoid every risk” of imprisonment.
Magistrate Pamela Dowse kept Mr Thorburn behind bars, saying he was “not a candidate for bail at this point in time” but another application could be made in the future.
Outside court, Mr Ide said he would consider applying to the Supreme Court for bail.
Police allege Mr Thorburn’s father, Richard Thorburn, killed Tia in an attempt to cover up his son’s alleged crime.
The alleged killer was remanded in custody after his matter was heard on Wednesday morning as he remained in an induced coma in hospital after collapsing in the watchhouse on Tuesday.
The man accused of murdering Queensland schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer and dumping her body in a Gold Coast river is in an induced coma and won’t appear in court before a crowd of her mother’s supporters.
But the father remained in the intensive care unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital on Wednesday, after collapsing in the watchhouse on Tuesday afternoon.
Defence solicitor Kelly Thompson, from Robertson O’Gorman solicitors, told the court she’d spoken with doctors at the hospital.
“He’s currently in an induced coma and there’s no indication as to when he might be brought out of that at this stage,” she said.
A crowd of people expecting the appearance packed Beenleigh courtroom, leaving standing room only for a host of people due to appear on other matters, with supporters flanking Tia’s biological mum, Cindy Palmer.
Among them were Tia’s former foster father Wayne Pemberton and his son Cameron, who paid tribute to the “good girl”.
Wayne said the “feisty” 12-year-old lived with them for two and a half years and described his “total shock” at hearing the man who cared for Tia after him had been accused of her murder.
“You don’t expect that from a carer,” he said.
“That’s not what you’re here to do.
“To hear that and for everyone in the family to (allegedly) be involved it’s just unthinkable.”
Ms Palmer declined to comment as she made her way into the courthouse in suburban Beenleigh, just off the highway roughly halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Wayne, who remembered Tia’s love of waterskiing and other watersports, said it couldn’t be said Ms Palmer was happy but she was glad of an outcome.
Trent Jordan Thorburn, 19, has been charged with incest, perjury, and attempting to pervert the course of justice. He’s due to appear in court on Wednesday.
He was set to apply for bail after midday in a hearing his lawyer indicated would take about 45 minutes.
Richard Thorburn’s hearing went ahead without him and was adjourned for a committal mention on December 21.
He won’t be required to appear, meaning Ms Palmer again won’t have a chance to come face to face with her daughter’s alleged killer.
Mr Thorburn told police he dropped his foster daughter off at school about 8.10am that morning but police will allege that was a lie.
They’ll allege he instead murdered the 12-year-old at the family home in the Logan suburb of Chambers Flat on the night of October 29, before dumping her body in the river that night or the next.
The killing was sparked by a discovery made that night, which led Mr Thorburn to kill the girl in an attempt to cover up a crime Trent had committed against Tia, police will allege.
The younger brother was charged with incest, among other alleged crimes.
A missing person alert for Tia wasn’t put out until November 5, hours before her badly decomposed body was found on the banks of the Pimpama River.
The delay drew criticism, sparked wide-ranging changes to authorities’ responses to missing children in care and further condemnation from Wayne Pemberton on Wednesday as “very frustrating”.
“It’s not a good thing to have to wait around for someone to put an alert out but it finally got done,” Cameron said.
“It should have got done quicker. It shouldn’t have taken so long.”
Another supporter, who didn’t know the family, said she was “disillusioned” with the government’s handling of children in care.
Being charged with murder, Mr Thorburn must apply for bail to a higher court if he wants to be released.
The younger son, Trent, 19, described himself as a dancer, metal fabrication apprentice, and classic car builder.
Police believe the teenager sexually abused Tiahleigh. He was denied bail on charges for incest, perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice in court this afternoon.
In court, the prosecutor argued he “took advantage of (Tiahleigh) as her big brother and as a result her young life has been taken”.
The foster brother was concerned he had impregnated the child, the court heard. Police are expected to allege the boy’s father killed Tia to cover for his son.
THE foster family at the centre of allegations into the death of Tiahleigh Palmer buried the Brisbane schoolgirl in a heartfelt ceremony attended by more than 600 people last November.
Back then, Rick Thorburn, 56, Tia’s foster father and accused killer, appeared to hold back tears as he solemnly carried her child-sized coffin, acting as a pallbearer.
He blended in to the crowd of purple, Tia’s favourite colour, which mourners had chosen to wear to pay tribute to the young girl. The colour also became a symbol of commitment to the desperate search for answers over what had happened to her.
His shirt read “in love memory of Tiahleigh R.I.P.” At the service, he comforted her grieving mother.
The truck driver turned food van proprietor and his wife had taken in Tia as a foster child while her biological mother, Cyndi Palmer, worked to get her life on track after struggling as a teen mum and spending time in the prison system.
She lived with the couple and their two adult sons in their Chambers Flat home where Thorburn’s wife Julene, 54, also ran a home daycare service.
The eldest of the two boys, Josh, 20, was qualified to work as an assistant in the home business and had been unemployed in recent years while recovering from injury.
The younger son, Trent, 19, described himself as a dancer, metal fabrication apprentice, and classic car builder.
Police believe the teenager sexually abused Tiahleigh. He was denied bail on charges for incest, perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice in court this afternoon.
In court, the prosecutor argued he “took advantage of (Tiahleigh) as her big brother and as a result her young life has been taken”.
The foster brother was concerned he had impregnated the child, the court heard. Police are expected to allege the boy’s father killed Tia to cover for his son.
A facebook photograph of Rick Thorburn and family Josh, Julene and Trent. Rick and Trent have been charged in relation to the murder of Tiahleigh Palmer.Source:Facebook
A Crime Stoppers tip led police to swoop on the family on Tuesday, arresting Rick, Julene, Josh, and Trent at various addresses in the Logan area.
Following police interviews Rick was yesterday formally charged with Tia’s murder. Trent, the youngest of Tia’s foster brothers, has been charged with incest.
Julene and Josh have been charged with one count each of perjury and perverting the course of justice.
All four family members are awaiting court, Trent’s today and Julene’s and Josh’s next month, though father Rick’s has now been delayed. The murder-accused was expected to face a bedside hearing at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital, but is in an induced coma following a suspected self-harm attempt while in custody.
Trent Thorburn was Tiahleigh’s foster brother.Source:No Source
Trent Thorburn, 19, has been charged with incest, perverting the course of justice and perjury in relation to the death of Tiahleigh Palmer.Source:No Source
Tia’s foster father and relatives have long been persons of interest throughout the 11-month investigation of the schoolgirl’s disappearance and murder, senior police sources told the Brisbane paper.
Less than a month after Tia’s death, the foster father published a post on Facebook saying the family had accommodation for one or two people in their “happy home environment on acreage”.
He described the residence as a clean and safe home.
The case has prompted the Queensland government to review the approval process for foster carers and working with children checks.
Acting Premier Curtis Pitt says both will be examined by extending a review already under way, with a report expected back early next year. “We will be very, very careful to ensure that the young people who are in our foster system as well as, of course, the broader child protection system are given all the protections,” he said.
Announcing details of the review, Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman confirmed the foster parents continued to run a child care business from their home after Tia’s death.
Tiahleigh’s mother, Cyndi Palmer at Beenleigh court on Wednesday where Rick Thorburn was due to appear. Picture: Liam KidstonSource:News Corp Australia
Tia went missing at the end of October last year. Her foster father was reportedly the last person to see her alive, dropping her off near Marsden State High school just after 8am on October 20.
Despite calls for action from her biological family, Tia wasn’t reported missing for six days. The delay was explained away at the time as taking care with concerns around identifying a child in care.
The same morning an alert was distributed by police appealing for help finding the girl, a trio of fishermen discovered her semi-naked decaying body on the banks of the Gold Coast’s Pimpama River.
The water and dirt had washed away any signs of what had happened to Tia, and police had few clues to work with while going about investigating how she had died.
Investigators were worried they may never solve the case.
Tia’s biological mother and grandmother were outspoken in appealing for witnesses and calls to Crime Stoppers from members of the public who may have seen or heard anything that could assist with finding out what happened to their little girl.
But her foster family was silent.
Foster father Rick Thorburn has been charged with murder. He is in an induced coma in a Brisbane hospital. Picture: Jack TranSource:News Corp Australia
Again speaking out, Tia’s grandmother Sue Palmer last night revealed her shock and anguish over the Thorburn family’s charges.
She said the news had “knocked the wind right out of my sails”.
“When it happens to your own it just is like a twisted knife in your heart,” she told A Current Affair on Tuesday.
“I’m just absolutely addled with thoughts of how she died, and that’s something that I really want to know.”
Ms Palmer criticised the Thorburn family’s behaviour following Tia’s death, which was made all the more alarming following yesterday’s allegations.
“They took pride of place at the funeral which I didn’t think they deserved and people treated them as though they were parents of long standing which they weren’t,” she said.
“It’s really really scary. It’s awful trying to raise little girls and boys nowadays. You can’t fix kids once you’ve wrecked them. You can’t fix Tiahleigh.”
Ms Palmer said she gained no relief from the arrests and charges, bringing her and the rest of Tia’s family closer to finding answers.
“To be really truthful it’s not a relief at all, it’s not even closure, it’s pain on pain,” she said.
Rick Thorburn remains in an induced coma and is due to face court on charges of murder and interfering with a corpse in December. His son Trent will face Beenleigh Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday charged with incest, perjury and perverting the course of justice. He is expected to apply for bail.
Thorburn’s wife Julene and other son Josh have both been charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice, and have been bailed to return to court on October 10.
a charge of incest has also been laid against one of the young males arrested.
Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster father Rick Thorburn has been charged with murder over the 12-year-old’s death, hours after he and his wife were arrested by homicide detectives south of Brisbane, police say.
Thorburn arrived at Logan police station in handcuffs just before 11:30am.
His wife Julene Thorburn arrived at the police station separately a short time later.
Less than two hours later, Detective Inspector Damien Hansen emerged from the police station to tell the media Thorburn would be charged with murder at the Beenleigh Police Station watch house.
“He will be appearing in court tomorrow,” Inspector Hansen said.
Earlier today, homicide detectives arrested four people in connection with the murder investigation.
“A woman aged 54, as well as three men aged 19, 20 and 56 were taken into custody by officers attached to Operation North Mizzen — a joint Homicide and Logan District investigation,” a police statement said.
“All four are known to each other and were located at various addresses in Logan.”
The ABC understands the two younger men also arrested are related to the Thorburns.
The arrests came shortly after police confirmed Tiahleigh’s foster father was the former owner of a car seized by police last week.
The 12-year-old’s body was found on the banks of the Pimpama River last November, almost a week after she vanished.