12 horrific killings that shocked the Burnett
WARNING: Distressing content, and aboriginal readers are warned that the following article contains the names of deceased persons.
FROM bar room brawls and strangulations, to stabbings and shotgun wounds, these are some of the deaths that have shocked the Burnett.
Terrible tragedy near Nanango
THE Commissioner of Police has received a telegram from the inspector at Maryborough, under Saturday's date (Saturday, August 23, 1902), stating:
"The Nanango police wire that John Jorgensen of Wooroolin, reported today that Albert May, a selector of Wooroolin, 35 miles from Nanango, about 4 o'clock this morning (August 23, 1902), came to his brother Julius May, saying, 'My wife has murdered the four children and shot herself; come down quick.' Albert May then went home and Julius May, with a neighbour named Oscar Garde, followed. When near the house they heard a shot and on going inside, found Albert May lying on a stretcher, shot through the mouth, while the wife and three children were dead, and the baby gasping. Julius May and Oscar Garde left, sending Jorgensen for police. Constable Ryan has gone to take charge of the bodies. Acting Sergeant Nugent, James Powers, J.P., Dr. Morice, and a tracker are leaving to investigate the case, which seems to have been suicide and murder. Will advise result."
The Commissioner for Police has received a further telegram from the Inspector of Police at Maryborough with reference to the tragedy at Wooroolin, stating that inquiry goes to show that May murdered his four children with a hammer, shot his wife, and afterwards shot himself.
Yesterday's (Monday, August 25, 1902) Maryborough Chronicle states that the victims of the tragedy are not known to the police, and probably arrived in the Nanango district from the south.
The same authority states that Police Court proceedings were to have taken place yesterday in connection with stolen money, and the wife of Albert May was to give evidence.
Source: National Library of Australia
Kingaroy murder case: Accused Hoffman acquitted
Brisbane, November 2, 1916: At the criminal sittings of the Supreme Court today, Adolf Hoffman, of Kingaroy, was charged with unlawfully killing Archibald Blue, editor of the Kingaroy Herald.
The Crown Prosecutor in opening the case, stated that the affair was the outcome of a paragraph in the Herald, hinting that the accused had been distributing anti-conscriptionist literature.
Blue and the accused met, and blows were exchanged, resulting in Blue's death.
The Chief Justice suggested that the charge should be murder, and not manslaughter.
The charge was accordingly altered to murder.
Adolf Hoffman was charged with murder but later acquitted.
Source: National Library of Australia
WILLIAM and Edith Moffat were in their dressing gowns and slippers when they answered a fateful knock at the door of their home in the early hours of the morning on September 22, 1977.
It is not known who was standing at their door that night, or why, but what happened next would shock Maryborough to its core and puzzle detectives for years to come.
The middle-aged couple were led back to their bedroom in their Jupiter St home where pillows were placed on the floor and nylon cord was used to tie their hands behind their backs.
It is believed Mr Moffat was forced to tie the cord around his wife's hands as detectives later found a similar knot on a temporary clothesline outside the home.
Two bullets were fired and both husband and wife died instantly at the foot of their bed in an execution-style killing.
The Moffats' deaths remain one of the state's greatest unsolved crimes, with the Queensland Police Service offering a $250,000 reward to anyone with information that helps solve the mystery.
The motive behind the murder of couple continues to baffle investigators to this day.
In the weeks following their deaths, hundreds of people were interviewed and most of Maryborough's .22 firearms were seized and tested.
Mr Moffat, 51, was a bank manager, property valuer, Scout enthusiast, church secretary and member of Lions.
He had been a close friend of then-premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen while working as a bank manager in Biggenden and Kingaroy, handling the politician's bank account.
There were few clues after the murder of the childless couple - two bullets fired from a .22 calibre revolver or rifle, two lengths of thin pink cord and a white Valiant AP5 seen outside the Moffat's home about 5.30am on the day of the murders.
The two bullets found embedded in their skulls were from different manufacturers, but police believed there was only one shooter.
It is believed a professional hitman may have been behind the killings.
Now, after four decades without answers, the police are reopening the case and asking anyone who knows what happened that night to come forward and finally see justice served for the couple, who had been married 27 years.
James Bond jailed for manslaughter
A MAN has been jailed for nine years over the violent death of a man who was attacked randomly on a Brisbane street.
Safik Mohammed, 59, was killed while walking near his Inala home on January 4, 2006, the Supreme Court in Brisbane was told today (July 31, 2009).
Prosecutor Michael Byrne said Mr Mohammed died after being attacked by James Samuel Bond, 39, of Cherbourg, and Aaron Leslie Clancy, then 19, of Inala, about 10pm.
Mr Byrne told the court Bond was extremely drunk when he met the teenager, who asked him if he wanted to help "roll" someone for money.
Mr Byrne said Bond grabbed and held Mr Mohammed while Clancy attacked him.
His cause of death was later found to be strangulation.
The pair then dragged Mr Mohammed's body into nearby bushes, where it was found early the next morning by walkers.
Bond was sentenced on to nine years' jail for the attack after pleading guilty to manslaughter and robbery with violence in company.
Clancy was sentenced in 2008 to 12 years' jail for the same charges, as well as a string of other unrelated violent offences.
Source: Christine Flatley, The Australian
A YOUNG mother allegedly snapped and went on a stabbing spree, killing her young son and her sister, in a night of violence which has shocked Cherbourg.
Miranda Miller, 23, appeared to be stunned as she sat silently in Kingaroy Magistrate's Court late on July 6, 2007, where she was charged with two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.
The two dead were Miller's six-year-old son Damien and her sister Jasmine Bond, 24.
Police said three other children aged from two to eight were also injured but were treated at Cherbourg Hospital and released.
One of the children, a three-year-old girl called Miranda, was flown by the Careflight helicopter to Brisbane's Mater Children's Hospital on July 5, 2007. She was reported to be in a serious but stable condition that night.
Miller, who was led into court in prison-issue brown clothes with a white towel over her head, was remanded in custody for a committal mention in October.
In another twist to the tragedy, it emerged that the killings had occurred at the same house where popular Cherbourg teacher Michael Blackman died after being assaulted at a party two years earlier.
A TEACHER who lived to help his Aboriginal community, who was killed in Cherboug last month, will be farewelled in Nambour today (May 13, 2005).
Michael Blackman, 40, was killed at his home in Cherbourg on April 23.
Michael was well known throughout the Coast community as he was a prefect at Nambour State School and began his teaching career in Tewantin. But it was more his willingness to always lend a hand that set him apart.
"He was always wanting to get involved, especially with the Aboriginal community," his brother, Richard said.
"Ever since he finished studying it was always his plan to go into the bush and do teaching there.
"The more remote a place was, the longer he stayed and he has always done a lot for the Aboriginal community.
"I guess as he is of Aboriginal/Torres Strait descent, he wanted to give something back," he said.
Michael's death has sent shock waves through the community as he died after allegedly being fatally bashed at his home in Cherbourg.
He was teaching at the local school in the Aboriginal community at the time.
"No one can believe it happened to him," Richard said.
A 45-year-old man has been charged with murder and has been remanded in custody.
NRL agent Paul Bruce Sutton left the Brisbane Supreme Court a free man on Friday (May 1, 2015) after charges he killed former jockey Shaun Miles in a Kingaroy pub were withdrawn.
Three days into Mr Sutton's manslaughter trial Crown prosecutor Belinda Merrin said there had been "fundamental changes" in evidence and Mr Sutton's claims he had acted in self-defence could not be negated.
The court heard that on May 23, 2013 Mr Miles and Mr Sutton were drinking at the Kingaroy Club Hotel in separate groups when Mr Miles believed he heard Mr Sutton make a disparaging comment about Kingaroy women that he took offence to.
After a brief argument they later saw each other in the pub's beer garden where Mr Miles called Mr Sutton a "scumbag" and took a swing at him.
Witness Christopher Lincoln, who had been standing next to Mr Miles when the fight started, said Mr Sutton had told Mr Miles he did not want to fight.
After Mr Miles tried to punch Mr Sutton, the NRL agent grabbed the former jockey and threw him to the ground.
Mr Miles hit his head on concrete and died hours later as he walked home.
The prosecution had originally claimed Mr Sutton's actions were reckless and he could have foreseen throwing Mr Miles could have killed the smaller man.
But after the court heard from a number of eye-witnesses, Ms Merrin withdrew the charge.
"The Crown now cannot negate self-defence," she said.
Justice Martin Burns said after the early evidence, dropping the charge seemed "a most appropriate course".
Court reveals identity of man responsible for the death of publican
THE youth who killed 'Mr Murgon' in 1993 was finally named in Kingaroy District Court on March 4, 2014.
Frederick Aubrey was 16-years-old when he was convicted of manslaughter for the death of Murgon Shire councillor and publican Dermot Tiernan.
The juvenile's identity was protected at the time of Mr Tiernan's death.
But Aubrey's criminal history was revealed during sentencting for his latest violent crime this week.
On March 20, 1993, Mr Tiernan tried to break up a wild brawl outside his pub in Murgon.
Aubrey punched Mr Tiernan once in the head and he fell to the groung, hitting his head on the road.
He died two days later of a cerebral haemorrhage.
That punch sealed the fate of both men.
For Aubrey, his life turned towards alcohol abuse and trouble with the law.
Aubrey's legal defence team, Don Mackenzie and Babu Singh, told the court the death of Mr Tiernan had led to a life of violence for their client.
"Since that time he has worn the handle of the man who killed the Murgon publican," Mr Mackenzie said.
"It seems every year he's been back before these courts with some sort of violence since the late 1990s."
Prosecutor Ron Swannick called him a "violent recidivist" with 12 entries for violence in his criminal history.
"A human having killed someone, it would be expected that he would take steps (to avoice) violence," Mr Swannick said.
"Quite the contrary. He appears no to have done so."
Source: South Burnett Times archives
A MAN in a wheelchair fatally stabbed his drinking buddy in an argument over beer money, a court has been told.
Michael Leslie Burrell, 50, was jailed for 10 years after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Norman Goetze, 49, in October 2007.
The pair had been drinking heavily at Burrell's home at Blackbutt, when the fight broke out, prosecutor Belinda Merrin told the Supreme Court in Brisbane.
Burrell, who had used a wheelchair since crashing his car while driving drunk in 1995, pulled out a knife and stabbed his friend once in the left side of the chest, the court was told.
Ms Merrin said the knife severed one of Mr Goetze's main arteries, causing massive blood loss and a heart attack that eventually resulted in his death.
She said Burrell had stabbed his mate because he'd been angry that Mr Goetze had not given him money for beer.
Witnesses had earlier heard Burrell complaining about Mr Goetze, and making threats he was going to "stick him" for not paying his share, the court was told.
Justice Roslyn Atkinson sentenced Burrell to 10 years in jail.
The sentence carries with it an automatic serious violent offender (SVO) declaration, meaning Burrell must serve 80 per cent of his sentence before he can be released.
Justice Atkinson said the SVO was "entirely appropriate" given Burrell's behaviour, and his lengthy criminal history of other violent offences.
The wheelchair-bound prisoner was in palliative care in Princess Alexandra Hospital's secure ward for one day before he died from an apparent respiratory and cardiac arrest on September 18, 2016.
He was found in his cell covered in faecal vomit.
At the time of his death, Burrell had been suffering from liver cancer for several years and hepatitis C for more than a decade.
THE heartbroken family of Renee Todd are devastated after a jury found her killer not guilty of murder.
They've also urged other women suffering violence to go to police.
Glen Brian Duggan, 39, was jailed in the Supreme Court at Brisbane on May 22, 2015, for nine years after a jury found him not guilty of Ms Todd's murder and guilty instead of the lesser charge of manslaughter following a four-day trial.
Ms Todd had just turned 26 when she was strangled to death by Duggan while they were drinking at her unit on Gladys St at Kingaroy in the early hours of April 10, 2013.
Duggan woke his housemate and told him "I've just murdered someone" but the jury accepted he acted without thinking or intent.
Duggan went to share some drinks with Ms Todd, who lived in the unit next door, sometime after 10pm on April 9.
He told police in an interview the conversation between them was "jovial" until he "lost the plot".
"Well, she just started laughing and being silly, then she lay on the floor so I just put my hands around her throat," he told police.
Duggan returned to his house, woke up his housemate, and confessed to him.
He was drunk at the time and tests revealed Ms Todd was heavily intoxicated, too.
An autopsy found there were no physical signs of strangulation but that aspiration of the stomach contents into the lungs may have caused Ms Todd's death.
Duggan allegedly told police in an interview after Ms Todd's death that he did it because Ms Todd threatened to slit his throat some 18-months earlier via text message when he ended their relationship.
"No one threatens me and gets away with it. It might be a year away, but I'll catch you. No one threatens me and threatens my life," he told police.
Justice Ann Lyons said Ms Todd was young and had her whole life ahead of her.
She ordered Duggan be eligible for parole after five years served and took into account 772 days of pre-sentence custody.
Ms Todd went to Tannum Sands High School before she worked at Rio Tinto, Comalco and obtained an advanced boiler ticket.
She obtained her turbine qualifications while working at the Tarong Power Station at Kingaroy.
A CHANGE of heart led to William Arthur Feeney admitting to killing his former housemate, Bruce Mark Flynn.
On October 15, 2018, prosecutor Dzenita Balic said Mr Flynn received a $28,200 payout before his death.
Ms Balic told Brisbane Supreme Court Mr Flynn was brutally bashed.
"He was in fact severely beaten to death."
"Most likely an object was used to beat him from the left side of his back ... the injuries he suffered were significant," Ms Balic said.
Ms Balic said Mr Feeney had nowhere to live when he first approached Mr Flynn.
Mr Flynn had stables out the back where Mr Feeney stayed, the prosecutor said.
She said Mr Flynn's girlfriend then moved out of the house and Mr Feeney moved in.
The prosecutor said Mr Flynn got a $28,200 benefits payout in May 2015.
The Crown alleged Mr Feeney started arguing with Mr Flynn about the money.
Ms Balic said Mr Feeney found himself with money "for the first time in years" and was able to pay off a loan.
The court heard Mr Feeney phoned 000 and said he'd found a "bashed" Mr Flynn on a couch.
"He was limp as all s--- and white as a ghost," Feeney told police shortly after Mr Flynn was found dead on September 11, 2015.
On the afternoon of October 22, 2018, more than three years after Mr Flynn was found dead in Nanango, Feeney pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
The Crown accepted that plea, immediately ending the South Burnett 57-year-old's murder trial.
TWO men drove 1000km to ambush a Mundubbera father, stabbing him with swords and leaving him to bleed to death in a bid to silence sexual assault allegations, a court has heard.
Mark Stephen Crump, 38, and Trevor Spencer, 73, were convicted in the Brisbane Supreme Court on November 28, 2019 of the murder of Gary Ryan, 43, on August 23, 2016.
Mr Ryan's ex-wife Marilyn Anne Ryan, 39, and family friend Jessica Lee Roebuck, 22, have pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
The court heard the men meticulously planned their attack weeks in advance, bought weapons and then drove north from Orange in NSW to reconnoitre the victim's home at Mundubbera, near Bundaberg.
A day later they returned, calling Mr Ryan from his home to an outdoor toilet where they waited out of sight from his family inside the house.
"The pair of you ambushed him. You repeatedly stabbed him in the most callous and brutal manner," Justice Burns said.
"You wounded him almost 60 times and then left him dying on the ground to be found by his mother and daughter."
With time served both women were eligible for parole immediately.
Crump and Spencer were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, with Justice Martin Burns saying parole authorities would need to think long and hard before ever considering them for release.