Sue Neill-Fraser innocent, 13+yrs in TAS jail. WRONG! Needs INDEPENDENT Judicial Inquiry.
Sue Neill-Fraser innocent, 13+yrs in TAS jail. WRONG! Needs INDEPENDENT Judicial Inquiry.
Sue Neill-Fraser has suffered injustice beyond imagination, spending 13+ years in jail, convicted of murdering her partner Bob Chappell. Sue is innocent. She has lost 2 appeals in TAS, and was not granted right to Appeal to the High Court. Despite the confession of an eye witness who saw who did kill Bob, the real murderers are not being investigated. Sue is now out on strict monitored parole for a further 10 years.
A large volume DNA sample on the deck of the Four Winds yacht (the crime scene) belonged to homeless girl, Meaghan Vass, 15 at the time. Ten years later, Meaghan bravely confessed on 60 minutes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHkoS80Ln0w that she was there on the yacht, she saw Bob repeatedly bashed by her former boyfriend, saw lots of blood, and admitted she vomited – accounting for the large pool of DNA. Meaghan said she has thought about Sue every day for 11 years. (Meaghan became an unreliable witness at the appeal in March 2021 – after confirming she was on the yacht, under the pressure of cross examination, she capitulated).
Bob’s body was never found. It was an entirely circumstantial case: no witnesses, no motive, no weapon, no forensics against Sue, loads of missed suspects including local criminals at the location that night, never investigated. Sue was found guilty despite the 26cm x 21cm luminol positive patch where the large volume DNA sample was taken... DNA that proved Meaghan was on the yacht. Other DNA on the yacht remains unidentified. There were others at the crime scene. Yet all of this is ignored by Tasmanian authorities.
The Tasmania Police investigation was deeply flawed, devoid of sound crime scene principles and procedures, and thorough crime scene analysis. The forensics were problematic, a key item has been lost. Witnesses were mistaken. Some lied, others were never located. Much has been uncovered and is reported in Colin McLaren’s book Southern Justice (https://www.booktopia.com.au/southern-justice-colin-mclaren/prod9780733641756.html and in CH7’s Undercurrent TV series (https://7plus.com.au/undercurrent-real-murder-investigation). And the popular 2022 podcast Who Killed Bob? (https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/who-killed-bob/id1597205860
Sue was in shock, reacting to the news of Bob missing and the boat sinking. She was confused, inconsistent and her ‘lies’ and ‘cold demeanour’ were unsympathetically considered confirmation of her guilt.
Police tunnel vision began early. A witness with a violent background who had previously threatened Sue and Bob, came forward within a day, hoping to broker a deal for his own pending criminal charges. All he needed to do was say that Sue planned to kill Bob. From that point forward police built their case. Sue never had the benefit of an open-minded investigation.
Highly qualified detectives across Australia are shocked at the inept investigation by police. Eminent legal experts and KCs are alarmed by the case and calling for an Independent Inquiry. CLA (Civil Liberties Australia) have called for a Royal Commission.
Australians should be alarmed:
1. LARGE VOLUME PUDDLE OF DNA AT THE CRIME SCENE – on the deck of the yacht. It was ignored by police, Sue was in jail 7 months awaiting trial when suddenly the DNA was identified as Meaghan Vass, a street kid who ran with thieves who broke into yachts, and who lied about her whereabouts that night. At that point Sue should have been released from jail and a new investigation commenced. Why was Meaghan never investigated properly, or her associates? Why did the court allow the DNA to be considered a secondary transfer? (walked in from a policeman’s boot) This transfer is impossible, given the size of the DNA puddle and the yacht being moored in deep water in the Derwent River.
2. Obvious suspects, there at the time, were ignored, including two criminals, one with a small yacht anchored right next to the Four Winds. A resident overlooking the bay saw a weather beaten man, 50ish, reddish hair - in a zodiac dinghy the night of the murder, near to the Four Winds. Remarkably, police turned this detailed rugged male description to match the description of Sue!
3. Police claim Sue was on the water that night in a dinghy. She was not. A witness said he thought he saw an outline of a woman in a dinghy around midnight. But a man came forward stating he was on the water that night, ina dinghy, at that time, and witnesses verified this. The man has long flowing hair and slender build. Police ignored this, sticking to their flawed and uncorroborated ‘fact’ against Sue.
4. A GREY dinghy was seen at the crime scene on the afternoon of Australia Day, by 4 people, one who described a grey lee cloth on it, not followed up by police. (Sue had a new bright white dinghy with blue stripes and no lee cloth.)
5. Why did the DPP tell the jury a falsehood - that Sue cleaned up the crime with latex gloves? Three gloves were found – one with a police officer’s DNA, another with Bob’s son’s DNA – Tim Chappell, and the third with mixed unidentified DNA, found on the saloon floor.
6. The Forensic Log presented at trial had key exhibits skipped/deleted. Where are the exhibits like the blue towel found near the Vass DNA, and vomit rags that were supposed to be sent to toxicology? Why were these items, and a hair on the bloody steps, never tested?
7. Two key exhibits were offered at trial: Sue’s dinghy found abandoned at the water’s edge and her red jacket found abandoned on the fence of a nearby home. Yet there were no blood results to Sue or Bob or anyone in her dinghy. And no forensics, blood or any evidence on her jacket. How could she kill Bob (which would cause massive traces of blood) without ANY transfer of evidence to the key exhibits against her? And why did police not admit the red jacket had been LOST for 3 days in a police carpark before being sent to forensics? Who is the other woman arrested that night, whose hair was identified in 2017 as being on the contaminated jacket?
8. Sue was not involved in the disappearance of another man, who was 35 years later found to have suicided, so why did the DPP mention it at trial?
9. The DPP invented murder weapons – a wrench and screwdriver - then placed them in the hands of Sue, at trial. No such weapons existed. The DPP misled the Jury, despite no body, by saying:
"She's walking backwards and forwards and delivers blow - a blow or blows, or maybe stabs him with a screwdriver, I don't know, he doesn't look round, and so the body doesn't have any marks of what you'd expect if someone had come down there, a stranger, intent on doing him harm, the body I suggest would have marks consistent only with being delivered by someone who he knew to be there, who he knew and expected to be behind him."
10. Sue could not have winched the body as described in court. She has a bad lower back injury and was reported as lacking strength to use the winch. The police reconstruction of the winching was flawed and there is much evidence to show Bob was taken out of a forward hatch, not the entrance police put forward.
11. A witness who reported seeing the yacht and Bob, alive at 5pm, was looking at the wrong yacht, wrong (yellow) dinghy, and wrong man.
12. A witness thought she saw Bob and Sue arguing on the foreshore – turns out to be the day before and Bob's sister. Not Sue.
13. A supposed cut on Sue’s thumb ‘emerged’ weeks later but was never photographed or investigated despite supposed police concern day 1 of the investigation.
14. Police told the court that there were no thefts from yachts, or break and enters leading up to the night of Bob’s killing. Yet there were thieves breaking into boats along the Derwent. This was not disclosed.
15. The violent background of the star witness Phillip Triffett who came forward with a story about Sue’s 'plots to kill' Bob, and her brother, was never told to the court, nor were the threats by him and animosity towards Sue and Bob.
16 To this day there are undisclosed documents and details about Meaghan Vass, the break in report for the Four Winds, other information about young people who has broken into boats and the undisclosed relationships of police officers to Meaghan Vass and her family.
*** There is more to be alarmed about ***
This wrongful incarceration needs an Independent Judicial Inquiry or Royal Commission, and a proper search for the truth about what happened to Bob Chappell on Australia Day 2009. We must unearth what went wrong in the police investigation and the highly questionable conviction. It is not enough to say 'the court' will deal with this travesty through an appeal process. It is a slow, painful adversarial process, one that has repeatedly failed Sue.
Compassion and Tasmanian government leaders must intervene. This is not a political issue, and it is time for Tasmanian leaders to see it as a bi-partisan issue. Sue must be given back her life! She lost her partner, her home, her reputation, her livelihood. She missed caring for her dying mother. Now wheelchair bound, Sue is in need of sharing her remaining years with her daughters and 4 grandchildren. The Tasmanian leaders must recognize the grave errors made in this extraordinary case and ensure justice for Sue and for Bob.
The longer this shocking injustice goes on, the more outrageous it is. And the more the global community will become aware of the judicial horror that sits in Tasmania.
Make right the biggest wrong in Australian criminal history, this century. Enough is enough.